Colorado IS Hail Alley
Colorado is one of the most beautiful places on earth to live. We have everything here but the ocean, and while our weather is very comfortable most of the time, we also happen to live in one of the most hail-dense locations on earth. In fact, Colorado’s Front Range is said to be located “in the heart of Hail Alley”. That means that if you live anywhere along the Front Range from Pueblo to Ft. Collins, you are in the zone that has more large hail incidents than ANYWHERE in North America.
The statistics are impressive and show just how prevalent and expensive these storms are here in Colorado. In 2019, we had almost 300 storms that dropped hailstones one inch in diameter or larger. In Hail Alley, there are an average of three or four “catastrophic” hailstorms each year which means that after each storm, there is at least $25 million in insured damage. Over the last decade, there has been more than $5 billion in insured damage…just in Colorado! In fact, in 2017 alone, one storm that dropped baseball sized hail caused $2.3 billion in damage, and in 2018 Colorado had the most hailstorms in the country.
When it comes to the damage caused by hail, by far and away it’s our homes that take the brunt of the abuse. According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, “Personal Property Homeowners” and “Personal Automobile” are the top-2 policies that are associated with hail damage claims. That said, Personal Property Homeowners is used over 62% more often than is Personal Automobile.
Aren’t Insurance Companies Supposed to Be There to Help?
The short answer is, Yes. Following a hailstorm that has caused damage to your property (home, auto, etc.), your insurance company has a duty to cover your damages up to the limit of the policy you purchased. For example, if your homeowner’s policy covers up to $1,000,000 and you have $60,000 in damage to your roof due to hail damage, the insurance should pay the entire bill with the exception of any deductible that you would be responsible for. The same goes for your car…if hail damages your car, your insurance carrier has a duty to cover the damage up to the value of the car or the stated limit of the policy…again, with the exception of any deductible you might have.
Unfortunately, there are times when insurance carriers don’t follow the proper protocols when settling hail damage claims. Following a claim by an insured (you), the insurance carrier has a duty to have the damage evaluated, to fill out all forms and necessary paperwork that allows you to receive a full payment to be made for the repairs, and to get you a check in a timely manner. Of course, you as the consumer have the right to use an independent agent (roofing company, body shop, etc.) to give additional estimates for repairs so that those can be used as part of the formula for determining the final amount to be paid by the insurance carrier.
What Should I Look Out for If My Property Receives Hail Damage?
One of the primary mistakes insurance companies make in processing hail damage claims is not communicating effectively with the policy holder. In fact, there are times when the person making a claim for damaged property receives no estimate of damage at all but suddenly a check shows up in the mail with an amount that is arbitrary and most certainly lower than what it will take to cover all of the damage.
If you receive a check from your carrier as “payment in full” for your hail damage, and there’s been little to no communication between you and the carrier…and there hasn’t been a damage estimate that you’ve been a part of getting, beware!
There are times that even when a hail damage claim has been accepted as legitimate, that the insurance carrier delays payment. This is problematic in multiple ways, but in the purest sense, it’s not fair that you as a consumer cannot have your home, auto or other property repaired due to the unintentional or intentional oversight by an insurance company. Imagine the potential damage that can occur to a roof that is not fixed because the insurance check is delayed and you as the homeowner can’t afford to pay the tens of thousands of dollars out of your pocket to get it repaired. This can lead to internal water damage, access for rodents and other animals, and result in increased energy bills due to decreased efficiency.
Another unfortunate tactic taken by some carriers is a full denial of payment for property damage that takes place due to a hailstorm. In these situations, it’s critical that you have someone who can read and interpret your policy, and who can communicate directly with the carrier to let them know that they have the responsibility to pay for damages covered by their policy.
If you’ve experienced property damage due to a hailstorm, use the following checklist to be sure you are getting treated fairly by your insurance company.
- Have you reported the incident to your insurance carrier, i.e. “filed a claim”?
- Has the insurance carrier sent out a person to assess the damage and assign a dollar amount to replace or repair your property?
- Have you had at least one other independent third party evaluate the damage and provide an estimate so that it can be compared to that of the insurance company?
- If the claim has been filed and the estimate given, has the insurance company been timely in sending you the check so you can have the repairs done?
- If the amount the insurance company is offering you seems less than what is required to repair the damage to your property, have you contacted an attorney to evaluate what is going on?
- If the claim has been denied for ANY reason, have you contacted an attorney to review your situation?
Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny valid claims, and the process of actually receiving the money you need to fix your property can be very complicated and frustrating.
Hail Damage Lawyers Who Will Fight for You.
Ramos Law will fight for you.
If your insurance carrier has denied your claim, is delaying the processing of your check, or has offered less money than you believe you are owed, you should speak with a licensed attorney to explore your options.
Call us at 303-667-9475 today for a free, no-obligation case review.