When hail causes damage to a commercial property’s roof, it can result in a wealth of problems for business owners. While there may be obvious signs of damage on the exterior of the property, interior damage can also be present if the hail was dense enough to puncture the roof. One of the most important steps business owners will need to take to mitigate the financial burden of the destruction is to file an insurance claim for commercial hail damage.
Filing a Commercial Insurance Claim for Roof Hail Damage in Texas
Because Texas can see many instances of severe weather in a single year, roof systems often suffer a great deal of damage. Even if insurance covers the repairs, navigating the claims process can be stressful and complicated, often requiring multiple follow-ups with adjusters, contractors, and other third parties.
While most insurance providers require timely notice of damage, it can take days or even weeks to fully determine the severity of the loss. Though some policies allow for extensions when reporting claims, doing it sooner rather than later can be more beneficial. Timely claims reporting helps policyholders because it removes the potential for the insurance company to deny a claim for not being filed closer to the date of the event. Despite your timely and valid claims submission, insurers may still argue the hail damage was due to normal wear and tear. Additionally, even if the insurer agrees to cover the damage, they can use late reporting as a reason to pay for a portion of the costs rather than the full amount.
Before filing a claim for hail damage, the following must be taken into consideration:
- Timing: It can take weeks for a commercial property owner to discover the full impact of roof hail damage. In some instances, business owners may only discover it after the water has entered the building and caused interior damage. Because of this, property owners must be diligent in finding and reporting the damage to avoid creating additional claims obstacles.
- Adjacent properties: In the event of a severe hailstorm, multiple properties in the area may suffer similar damage. The volume of claims carriers must process can leave claimants waiting for long periods before the damage can be reviewed, much less repaired. Inspectors, adjusters, roofers, and other necessary contractors may be overrun with demands, which can delay repairs and add to the cost of a claim.
- High claim volume: Hailstorms are a very big reality in Texas, which can see hundreds of hail events in a single year. The high volume of property damage caused by hail can increase the odds of claims being denied as insurers can only afford to pay out a certain amount in claims before it impacts their profits. So they will look for reasons to deny claims.
Keeping that in mind, the following steps should be taken to begin the claims process:
- Assess and document the damage: Immediately after a hailstorm, commercial property owners should have a reputable roofing contractor help inspect roofs for damage. Even if a roof appears fine, there can still be internal damage or damage that is not obviously visible that a roofer will know how to diagnose. If a roof has any standing water, if there are stained ceilings and walls in the interior of a building, or if there are obvious dents in a roof, it is likely to have suffered hail damage. These and any other points of concern should be documented with photos and video evidence that can be provided to the insurer as proof of damage.
- Contact the insurance provider: Business owners should contact their insurance provider immediately after the damage has been assessed and documented. The insurance company will then refer the property owner to a claims adjuster, who will further investigate the damage and review all supporting documentation.
If an insurer approves a claim for roof hail damage, commercial property owners can then begin repairs. Unfortunately, however, this does not always happen and claims can be denied or grossly underpaid. While insurers deny or underpay claims regardless of the circumstances,a roof that is not regularly maintained may provide insurers a reason to deny the claim. To prevent this, property owners should conduct regular roofing inspections, keep the area clear of debris, and remove potential hazards like tree branches that could damage the roof before a hailstorm occurs.
Hail Damage Coverage Attorneys
Dealing with the aftermath of a hailstorm can be incredibly stressful. While business owners may be eager to get back to work after a storm, they may be faced with the time-consuming task of repairing a roof. Although policyholders may find comfort in having a commercial insurance policy that covers hail damage, insurance companies will do all they can to avoid paying out valid claims.
At Raizner Law, we understand just how frustrating these situations can be. Our team of commercial property coverage attorneys know the various ways insurers attempt to thwart the claims process for their own financial gain. If your property suffered hail damage and you need assistance with a claim that has been delayed, underpaid, or denied, we can help. Contact our office today to learn more.