When a hailstorm happens, it can very quickly result in property damage. Even with the proper precautions taken, hail damage to a business can be incredibly frustrating. With this in mind, it’s important to determine just how much it can cost to fix hail damage and what can be done to mitigate those costs.
Calculating The Cost of Hail Damage
Even though hail is often a momentary side effect of a larger storm system, hailstones can cause massive devastation in just a matter of minutes. In fact, according to a CBS News article, hail can cause as much as $22 billion per year in damage to homes, businesses, cars, crops, and more. But what makes this particular type of damage so costly? Ultimately, it comes down to many different factors. For instance, certain areas of the U.S. are more prone to severe weather, with storms forming in the Great Plains, tornadoes in Tornado Alley, and hurricanes along the coast. Now, as more urban and suburban areas continue to grow, so does the potential for a hailstorm to strike a major city.
The businesses of commercial property owners, in particular, may be more likely to suffer hail damage based on the following factors:
Property Location: Areas that have defined hail seasons are at an increased risk for property damage since these storms happen more frequently there than in other areas. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), from 2016 to 2018 Texas led the nation in hail losses with 811,381 claims. Coastal areas are also susceptible to a hailstorm damage, especially those with a high risk of hurricane activity like Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
Property Age: Each year allows hail damage to weaken roofs, gutters, and flashing over time, making it easier for water to enter a property. A slow leak can damage underlying roofing layers, framing, and drywall without obvious damage to the roof’s exterior components. This ultimately reduces the lifespan of the roof, which is the building component most susceptible to hail damage.
Property Design: The design of a commercial property can impact the structure’s ability to cope with hailstones and other inclement weather. High winds, combined with golf-ball-sized hailstones can dent and pry up sheeting on flat roofs. However, if the property is designed like a car dealership with floor-to-ceiling windows, a hailstorm may force the business to replace several broken panels of expensive custom-made glass.
Property Maintenance: Having regular maintenance inspections of commercial properties is important for a few different reasons. Inspections can help identify potential safety hazards, but they can also provide proof that the building is in good working order in the event a hail damage claim needs to be filed. If the roof already has previous existing damage, it can be more costly to repair than if it had no prior damage before a hailstorm.
Industry: Outdoor businesses, such as farms and ranches, are at particular risk of loss as hail can damage plants and crops and impact an entire season’s harvest. In addition, businesses with multiple locations will need protection for each of their satellite operations and large-scale manufacturers may be underpaid if water damages machinery or expensive equipment.
Assess the Hail Damage
Once all these factors have been determined for a commercial property, the next step in calculating the cost of hail damage repair is diagnosing the problem. In most instances, hail damage will affect the roof more than any other element of a building, along with associated components like HVAC systems, gutters, and downspouts. Even if the roof damage is obvious, hiring a roofer to accurately diagnose the hail damage is ideal in order to determine the severity of the damage.
Once a roofer inspects the damage, they can advise which areas need repair. Hail damage restoration often includes replacing damaged sections instead of patching them. This is because an already hail-damaged portion of a roof is weakened and may not effectively hold up against another storm. The process and cost of replacing different roof elements after a hailstorm will depend on the type of roofing materials utilized on the property.
Document all Losses
When hail damage occurs at a commercial property, the business owner should document all losses both outside and inside the property. Taking photos or videos of the damage, along with an itemized list of each instance of damage, can help to show insurers the overall extent of the damage.
Determine the Repair Costs
As mentioned above, several different factors contribute to the cost of fixing hail damage. The cost of repairs will depend mostly upon the severity of the damage, the size of the roof, and the materials used. If the property’s roof suffered severe damage to the point of requiring a complete replacement, it can cost business owners tens of thousands of dollars. However, if minimal damage is present that could take a day or two to repair, the price can be as low as a thousand dollars or less. Business owners should keep in mind that these are just the baseline costs for materials, labor, and roof flashing. There could be additional expenses associated with needing to tear off the existing roof, as well as other factors.
Review the Commercial Property Insurance Policy
Regardless of the extent and severity of the hail damage, commercial property owners must take the time to thoroughly review their commercial property insurance policies. While insurance may cover some wind and hail damage claims, it ultimately depends on the location of the property. In some parts of the nation, coverage for hail and windstorm damage is standard, however, coastal areas are often excluded and those property owners will need to purchase a separate policy. Reviewing your current insurance policies with trusted legal counsel can help you determine if any coverage gaps exist and the extent of coverage available in the event of damage.
Commercial Property Coverage Attorneys
Hail damage can devastate the operation of commercial properties, such as office buildings, shopping malls, industrial facilities, churches, and apartment complexes. The longer an insurance company disputes your business’s legitimate hail damage claim, the more damage can occur to your property and your company’s relationships with its clients and customers. If your insurance carrier has denied, delayed, or disputed your hail damage insurance claim, an experienced commercial property coverage attorney at Raizner Law can help. Contact our office today to discuss your claim.