Category: Blog

31 Days, 31 Ways: TWIA’s Claims Process Gets a Makeover

Throughout the month of August, The Texas Tribune will feature 31 ways Texans’ lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature — including the dramatically reduced budget — take effect. Check out our story calendar here

Day 17: A flow chart to visualize the new — and complicated — process policyholders with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association will undergo to claim compensation or dispute coverage if a major storm hits the Texas coast.

Wylie classes canceled after hail storm

WYLIE — A billion-dollar spring in North Texas got even more expensive on Monday as the region once again was in the bullseye for damaging hail.

Icy globes the size of baseballs… even softballs… pelted cars, homes and anything else in their path.

Wylie, about 10 miles east of Plano, was hit hard by the hail storm. The school district in that city canceled Tuesday classes at all 19 campuses.

District spokesman Ian Halperin told News 8 on Monday that crews are finding broken glass, water damage and evidence of damage to rooftop air conditioning units.

We spoke with the district’s superintendent David Vinson Tuesday morning and took a look at some of the damage. He says the schools must be first and foremost safe.

Wylie schools closed because of hail damage

Vinson said they will look and see what can be fixed and cleaned up on the outside of the schools, with windows being the main concern. Many were shattered in the storm.

Crews will also look at mechanical issues like the schools’ air conditioning and electrical systems.

“It’s gonna be a long day,” Vinson said

Halperin said the “safest course of action” was to close the schools so that exhaustive inspections can be made during daylight and any needed repairs can begin.

Countless cars were damaged by the falling ice, and many homeowners reported broken windows and even hail stones penetrating rooftops.

“The back window was just completely shattered through. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” said Sara Correa, who had her eight-month-old girl Addison in the backseat when the hail started falling.

“She’s getting pelted with hail and glass, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” husband Adrian Correa said.

Addison suffered some scrapes, but was mostly startled. The family took her to the emergency room just in case.

The family was able to move the car into a parking lot with several other damaged vehicles.

Other cars were stranded on the road. Drivers were left to sit in their cars and wait out the hailstorm, which lasted several minutes. One mom said it was the scariest moment of her life.

Tanner Kasper was in his truck when the sky opened up. “I just grabbed my jacket and threw it over my head,” he said, using it as a shield against flying glass.Parts of Montague County near the Oklahoma border were also hard hit by Monday’s storms.

Hail damaged at least a dozen homes in the small community of Sunset, between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls, tearing through siding and breaking windows.

Repairs underway after hailstorm

Vehicles along Highway 287 were also hammered. Police reported that the hail caused at least six accidents, including one that resulted in injuries.

SOFTBALL SIZE HAIL PUMMELS WYLIE

By Joe Reavis

Staff Writer

news@wylienews.com

Softball size hail pummels WylieWylie residents and property owners arose Tuesday morning to survey the damage of a hail storm that pounded town with stones up to softball size.

The storm hit about 6:15 p.m. Monday, leaving broken windows and leaking roofs in its wake.

“We made over 200 responses. There were some minor injuries and just a lot of damage,” Wylie Fire Rescue Chief Brent Parker said. “We had agencies from all across the metroplex helping us make those calls.”

Parker reported that the Public Safety Building sustained “tremendous” damage. Police Det. Nuria Arroyo said that ceilings collapsed throughout the building and that the department will move part of its operations to City Hall until repairs can be made.

Wylie Independent School District cancelled classes for Tuesday as damage was assessed and temporary repairs were made.

Oncor Electric crews were in town early Tuesday restoring power to several areas and Texas Department of Transportation workers were repairing some signal light functions.

The hail that hit Wylie punctured shingles, roof decking and ceilings. Wooden fences were splintered throughout town.

“Hail was coming through the roof and into the living areas,” Anthony Alvizo, 1016 Foxwood, said. “You wouldn’t believe how loud it was.”

Hailstones that pummeled a wide area of Wylie were traveling in excess of 106 miles per hour. The National Severe Storms Laboratory calculates that a stone 3.15 inches in diameter weighs 1.54 pounds and reaches a velocity of 106 mph. Hail that hit Wylie was bigger and was moving faster.

Alvizo reported that 18 solar energy panels on the roof of his house were destroyed, and said that his next door neighbor lost 71 solar panels. On the bright side, the homeowner said the solar panels saved the master bedroom below. Upstairs rooms of the house were all damaged.

“Water was all over the place,” Alvizo said. “It was running down the walls.

In some neighborhoods Tuesday, it was difficult to drive down streets because of congestion created by repair crew trucks. Roofing crews and home repair contractors descended on Wylie at first light.

New Wylie residents Justin and Jacqueline Grayczyk got an early taste of Texas weather after moving here about four months ago from Chicago, Ill.

“We did not expect this to be Texas weather,” Jacqueline said. “Chicago is looking a lot better, but I still love it here.”

The couple was at Home Depot, as were hundreds of other people, Wednesday morning to load up on plywood, lumber and other needed repair materials. Four windows of their house were knocked out and they counted 30 holes in the roof.

North Texas Roofing Contractors Association warns property owners to beware of scams in the wake of the devastating storm. For information on how to select a roofing contractor, go to www.ntrca.com.

Severe storms bring softball-size hail to North Texas; Wylie ISD schools will be closed Tuesday

Once again, North Texas was pounded by damaging hail as spring storms rumbled across the region early Monday evening.

Grayson Singleton, 14, is watched by his brother Benjamin singleton, 13, as he vacuums broken glass from the hail-shattered window of his father's car in Wylie, Texas Monday, April 11, 2016. (John Zak/The Dallas Morning News)Quarter-sized to softball-sized hail was reported as the storm moved southeast from Montague County and into Collin and Rockwall counties, said meteorologist Lamont Bain with the National Weather Service.

The weather service classifies softball-sized hail as 4.5 inches.

Grayson Singleton, 14, is watched by his brother Benjamin singleton, 13, as he vacuums broken glass from the hail-shattered window of his father’s car in Wylie, Texas Monday, April 11, 2016. (John Zak/The Dallas Morning News)
Grayson Singleton, 14, is watched by his brother Benjamin singleton, 13, as he vacuums broken glass from the hail-shattered window of his father’s car in Wylie on Monday. (John Zak/The Dallas Morning News)
Wylie damage

Storm damage at a home on Teakwood Drive in Wylie.  (Cheryl R. Poldrugach/Twitter)Wylie was among the hardest-hit areas Monday with reports of 4.25-inch hail, the weather service reported.

Tuesday classes have been canceled for all Wylie ISD schools.

“Due to the significant storm damage [the district] will not be able to provide a safe learning environment for all students,” the district said in a Facebook post.

The number of storm damage calls to Wylie 911 overwhelmed the system, and the Wylie office of emergency management tweeted: “Please call only if there is a life-threatening emergency. Please b patient.”

Wylie residents Elizabeth Cummings, 45, and her husband were at their home on Teakwood Drive when tennis ball-sized hail flew through their front windows.

Storm damage at a home on Teakwood Drive in Wylie. (Cheryl R. Poldrugach/Twitter)
Storm damage at a home on Teakwood Drive in Wylie. (Courtesy/Cheryl R. Poldrugach)
“It sounded like someone threw baseball bats through the windows,” Cummings said. “Everything started busting and cracking.”

All the windows on the front of their two-story brick home were destroyed, she said.

Cummings said her home had been damaged by storms last month, and an insurance adjuster had inspected the roof for damage last week. She said he had lined up Matt Poldrugach from Regency Roofing and Construction to make the minor repairs.

But when Monday’s hail stopped, Cummings knew she would need more than minor repairs. She said she was in tears as she called Poldrugach for help.

The roofer and his wife, Cheryl, grabbed a case of water, a box of nails and all the roofing supplies they had at their home in north Carrollton and rushed to help in Wylie.

Cheryl Poldrugach said the 15-person roofing crew planned to stay until all the windows at the Cummings’ and their neighbors’ homes had been covered with tarps.

Beyond a few cuts from stray pieces of glass, no one was injured at her home, Cummings said. But glass is littered throughout the house and buried in some furniture.

“There’s nowhere you can walk without shoes,” Cummings said.

The family pitched a 10-person tent in their living room, where they planned to sleep Monday night. Though one bedroom was left untouched by the storm, the Cummingses said they wanted to to be close for the night.

The purple logos are reports of hail across the northern portion of Dallas-Fort Worth. (National Weather Service)
The purple logos are reports of hail across the northern portion of Dallas-Fort Worth. (National Weather Service)
Damage reports

The purple logos are reports of hail across the northern portion of Dallas-Fort Worth. (National Weather Service)Warnings were issued in southern Collin, northeastern Dallas, Rockwall, northern Kaufman and southern Hunt counties. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph were recorded, and Bain said there was a lot of wind-driven hail that caused hail to go horizontally into windows.

On social media, North Texans shared images of damage from the intense wind in areas including Richardson and Frisco.

Though no tornadoes have been reported, the storms prompted sirens to go off, and residents in some areas, including near Lake Tawakoni, were urged to take shelter.

There were reports of 3- and 4-inch hail in Rockwall, and baseball-sized hail in Denton, Collin, Montague and Wise counties.

The Wise County sheriff’s office reported several hail-related injuries along U.S. Highway 287 and County Road 2798. The sheriff’s office said tennis ball-sized hail hit vehicles, and two people were transported to local hospitals for injuries, KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported.

A destroyed trampouline is seen in Wylie, Texas after a storm produced hail, some as big as baseballs, in the area late Monday afternoon, April 11, 2016. (John Zak/The Dallas Morning News)
A destroyed trampoline is seen in Wylie after a storm produced hail, some as big as baseballs, in the area late Monday afternoon. The trampoline was in the backyard of the home at left and flew over the house and landed in the lot next door. (John Zak/The Dallas Morning News)
At 4:37 p.m., the National Weather Service reported, golf ball-sized hail blew out windows near Sunset in Montague County, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Delays, outages

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was experiencing departure delays of 15 to 30 minutes as of 8:50 p.m. because of the storms, according to FlightAware.

Oncor reported dozens of power outages across the region that affected more than 10,000 people.

Forecast

Wet weather could return Tuesday evening. The clouds will start to dissipate Wednesday, and the end of the week should be sunny and warm, with highs in the 70s through Friday.
Lows for the week are expected in the mid-50s.

Stormy spring

Back-to-back hail storms pounded North Texas in March, piling up a total of $1.1 billion in estimated losses in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Last month, nine tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office in its 46-county region, which includes Dallas, Collin and Rockwall counties. The March average is three.

Staff writers Claire Cardona and Hannah Wise contributed to this report.

Hail in Plano at West Spring Creek Parkway and Chase Oaks Boulevard. (Courtesy/ Sriram Srinivasan)

Source: http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/

Hail

 

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properties are estimated to be damaged by hail and =
tornados

 

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-storms-tornado-hailstorms

 

 

 

 

State Farm Faces Criminal Investigation Over Hurricane Claims

By MARK GREENBLATT (@greenblattmark)
Sept. 7, 2012

State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest home insurer, faces a new criminal investigation in Texas related to how it handled potentially tens of thousands of hurricane claims there, ABC News has learned exclusively.

Gregg Cox, who leads the public integrity unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office in Austin, confirmed to ABC News his investigators recently launched the probe after reviewing newly released communications from top State Farm managers in Texas. Some of the same communications have led to lawsuits by customers who say they were defrauded by State Farm Lloyds, the Texas subsidiary of the larger insurance company.

The documents in question relate to an alleged cover-up by State Farm management related to its denial of consumer insurance claims for a common type of roof damage that occurs during high wind events and hurricanes.

Jim Warner, a longtime homeowner in Missouri City, Texas, had been a customer of State Farm Insurance for more than 20 years before finding himself in the center of the now brewing criminal investigation. He says he had never filed an insurance claim until Hurricane Ike in 2008 and had always paid his monthly bills to State Farm on time.

However, Warner filed suit against State Farm after he says the company did not follow through on its slogan that promises, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Warner always believed his policy would cover all types of damage to his roof, but when he went to file a claim he says he was shocked to learn that was not the case.

However, when the “catastrophe section manager” for State Farm saw that statement written out, he directed it be removed from what state regulators would be told, instructing, “This letter needs to be revised to delete the reference to unseal tab.”

The reference was subsequently removed, and that same catastrophe manager then forwarded the newly revised letter to other unnamed colleagues at State Farm “for your review” before it was sent off to the state.

Attorney Mostyn says State Farm fought hard to keep from having to disclose those and other documents, but lost the fight. He says other documents show the insurer attempting to delete other references to the company’s policy of not paying lifted-shingles claims.

Warner’s lawsuit alleges that nearly 100,000 people may have had their claims for similar problems wrongly denied, estimating that many additional consumers who did not hire independent investigators to inspect their roofs may be unaware they are actually damaged today and susceptible to problems in future windstorms.

Longtime Texas state Sen. Rodney Ellis reviewed many of the documents and communications.

“The documents are troubling, and very scary,” Ellis said. “They tell a story that indicates there is a serious problem. I think law enforcement ought to step in and people ought to be held accountable.”

Ellis says he had received many complaints from his own constituents about similar problems and had previously asked the Texas insurance commissioner to launch a widespread investigation of State Farm. While he says that has not happened to date he welcomes the Travis County criminal probe.

Ellis has successfully called other insurance companies to task on the very same issue of not paying for lifted shingles damage. He previously called for a civil investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance against the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency and its sister company the Texas Fair Plan Association, alleging a similar organized pattern of non-payment of lifted-shingle claims.

The resulting investigation ultimately led to enforcement action by the Texas Department of Insurance against both companies. The state regulator required each of those companies to go back and reevaluate claims and pay for, among other things, shingles lifted and unsealed by hurricane force winds on roofs.

ABC News has confirmed grand jury subpoenas have been served to State Farm.

“We have requested a large amount of information from them, and they are complying with our requests,” said Gregg Cox of the Travis County D.A.’s office.

State Farm declined an interview request for this story. However, the insurer said in a statement that, “State Farm Lloyds is cooperating fully with the Travis County investigation and has successfully settled the majority of civil litigation involving Hurricane Ike claims. To date, we have paid policyholders more than $1.5 billion dollars, much of which went to repair or replace roofs. We have been actively working to resolve questions related to roofing shingle claims. We will continue these efforts to maintain the trust of Texas homeowners, of which more than one in six has placed their confidence in State Farm Lloyd’s to protect their homes.”

State Farm Lloyds says it will soon file papers with the court disputing the claims made in the Warner’s recently amended lawsuit.

The criminal investigation by the Travis County District Attorney’s office is focused on State Farm’s actions in Texas. ABC News will be looking into stories and complaints from consumers who live in other states. If you have something you would like to share you can email Mark Greenblatt.

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Warner’s lawsuit alleges that State Farm documents establish a clear internal policy of intentionally denying consumer claims for roof damage similar to what Warner experienced. Warner’s attorney, Steve Mostyn, claims the systematic denial of those types of claims may have quietly saved State Farm close to $1 billion.

Mostyn says State Farm documents obtained in the lawsuit reveal an attempt by managers to hide the company’s policy of non-payment from state insurance regulators.

“They absolutely went through an effort to cover it up,” Mostyn said. “These emails are coming from the top. They’re setting policy. And that policy by their own admission … shows conclusively they have not paid thousands of people.”

In Warner’s case, his problems began after he says the high winds of Hurricane Ike caused the shingles on his roof to become “lifted.” Those winds, Warner alleges in his suit, broke the seal under Warner’s shingles that normally create a water-tight barrier. Warner says an independent adjuster he hired agreed the damage was extensive and recommended Warner’s roof be replaced.

Warner alleges, however, State Farm repeatedly refused to admit the unsealed tabs were damage that should be paid under the policy. So Warner filed a consumer complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance, hoping the regulator could help. However, Warner’s lawsuit says it was during that very investigation of his complaint to insurance regulators that State Farm began to cover up its practices of refusing to pay for this kind of damage.

ABC News reviewed documents obtained in the lawsuit including an initial draft of State Farm’s response to insurance regulators about Warner’s complaint. In that draft letter, State Farm clearly disclosed how the company did not pay for insurance claims related to broken seals on roofs, saying, “Regarding the detached seals, there is no coverage as this condition is not considered… physical loss.”

DFW Tornado Victims Get The Most Out Of Their Insurance Claims

League City, Texas – April 24, 2012 – As the skies finally cleared in the Dallas area on April 3, 2012 and residents ventured out to see what kind of tornado damage they may have received from the massive storms of the day, it was just the beginning of the turmoil ahead for Dallas/Fort Worth property owners. With many homes demolished and lives uprooted in the wake of an unbelievable 11 confirmed tornadoes in one afternoon, it is hard to imagine that an insurance company might deny a tornado damage claim for its policyholders. However, the truth is that claim delays, disputes, and denials occur often in the insurance industry. The good news is that Morrison & Morrison Inc. has the information to help tornado victims get the most out of their insurance claims.

“It is not uncommon for property owners to experience a disaster after the disaster,” says Clay Morrison, President of Morrison & Morrison Inc. “We’ve already been getting calls where the insurer should have totaled the property for a total loss, but instead the insurer is treating it as a partial repair.”

Similar to the way that “location, location, location” is known as the key to buying property, “document, document, document” is the key to successful insurance claims. It is vital to extensively document all tornado damage done to the property. This entails taking photos and video of the property, contents, and debris prior to moving or disposing of anything. All tornado damage should be noted in order to avoid disputes later, and damaged contents should not be disposed of even if it appears to be a complete loss.

Another element of documentation is keeping written receipts for all expenses, especially if paid in cash. This includes receipts for payments like contractor fees, hotel and restaurant charges, cleaning, storage, etc. Also, be sure to only give copies of photos and documents to the insurance adjuster instead of the originals of any of the documentation. It is vital that proof exists to substantiate your insurance claim, so keeping the originals is the safest way to ensure that documentation is not lost.

Also document any dealings with contractors. Make sure you are given copies of contracts, and that they contain a clear estimate of charges.

Even after substantial documentation of tornado damage, if a property owner experiences insurance claim delays, disputes, or denials, it is important to contact a professional public adjuster like those at Morrison & Morrison Inc. for help.

“Don’t dig the hole that you’re in any deeper than it already is. Get a professional public adjuster who represents only you before you harm your position in the claims process even further,” advises Morrison.

About Morrison & Morrison Inc.
Morrison & Morrison Inc. is a property loss consulting firm and licensed public insurance adjusting group, based in League City, Texas. The company is an authority on assessing, documenting, and negotiating property claim damages. They can help determine the true amount of damages, handle the adjustment process, deal with the insurance company, and if needed, manage the appraisal process. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.publicinsuranceadjuster.net/

McAllen Hailstorm Shocks Residents: Victims Get The Most Out Of Their Insurance Claims

League City, TexasApril 24, 2012 – Astounded residents of McAllen, Texas were blindsided on the evening of March 19, 2012 when a hailstorm hit their city unlike anything seen there before. McAllen was hammered with torrential rain, winds at gusts of 75 mph, and golf ball to baseball sized hail that fell continuously for nearly an hour. The scene was unbelievable to property owners when they looked outside to find huge accumulations of hail on the ground and damage to their property.

That was just the beginning of the turmoil ahead for McAllen property owners, as many are now learning that it is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny hail damage claims for its policyholders. Claim delays, disputes, and denials occur often in the insurance industry. The good news is that Morrison & Morrison Inc. has the information to help hail damage victims get the most out of their insurance claims.

The first step is for property owners to look for signs of hail damage themselves. Look for loose granules on asphalt roof shingles. Also check for granules in rain gutters and downspouts, because the loose granules will eventually wash away. Finally, look for hail dents in exposed surfaces like vents, siding, decks, and also automobiles.

However, it is not enough for a property owner to complete all inspections him or herself. It is not uncommon for hail damage to be unseen, so it is necessary to have it inspected by a professional. Roofs are especially at risk of hail damage and often sustain more harm than it appears.

“There can be extensive damage to a large commercial flat roof,” says Clay Morrison, President of Morrison & Morrison Inc. “and the owner won’t know it until even a year later. Also, you can have multiple fractures in a tile roof that you won’t know about without close inspection.”

Similar to the way that “location, location, location” is known as the key to buying property, “document, document, document” is the key to successful insurance claims. It is vital to extensively document all hail damage done to the property. This entails taking photos and video of the property prior to moving or disposing of anything. Take pictures of any dented siding or broken windows, and photograph any roof shingle granules that may have washed into rain gutters or downspouts. All hail damage should be noted in order to avoid disputes later. Also take pictures of any hail on the property to document the amount of hail that occurred.

Another element of documentation is keeping written receipts for all expenses, especially if paid in cash. Also, be sure to only give copies of photos and documents to the insurance adjuster instead of the originals of any of the documentation. It is vital that proof exists to substantiate your insurance claim, so keeping the originals is the safest way to ensure that documentation is not lost.

Also document any dealings with contractors. Make sure you are given copies of contracts, and that they contain a clear estimate of charges.

Even after substantial documentation of hail damage, if a property owner experiences insurance claim delays, disputes, or denials, it is important to contact a professional public adjuster like those at Morrison & Morrison Inc. for help.

“Don’t dig the hole that you’re in any deeper than it already is. Get a professional public adjuster who represents only you before you harm your position in the claims process even further,” advises Morrison.

About Morrison & Morrison Inc.
Morrison & Morrison Inc. is a property loss consulting firm and licensed public insurance adjusting group, based in League City, Texas. The company is an authority on assessing, documenting, and negotiating property claim damages. They can help determine the true amount of damages, handle the adjustment process, deal with the insurance company, and if needed, manage the appraisal process. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.publicinsuranceadjuster.net/

Dallas Tornado Claims

Was your home or business damaged by the tornadoes that tore through the Dallas metropolitan area on April 3, 2012? At least 11 tornadoes were confirmed, but even if you didn’t suffer a direct hit by a funnel cloud, the path of destruction can be widespread and devastating. If your property suffered tornado damage, there are steps you should take to ensure your insurance claim is not denied.

What You Should Do Now

• Take photos and video of the structure, contents and debris prior to moving or disposing of anything, and before making any temporary repairs.
• Tarp openings in your roof and walls if possible to prevent further damage.
• Do not dispose of any damaged property contents even though you think they may be a complete loss.
• Note all tornado damage, especially “cracks” in the structure that were not present before the tornado.
• Hire a contractor to clean up debris. If you do it yourself, you may not be compensated by your insurer or may only be given minimum wage.
• Make arrangements for living quarters if your home is uninhabitable and for storing its contents.
• Keep written receipts for all expenses, especially if you pay cash. This includes things like contractor fees, hotel and restaurant charges, cleaning, storage, etc.
• Only give copies of photos and documents to your insurance adjuster, not any originals.
• Make sure your contractor’s contract has a clear estimate of charges. If a contract says “the work will be done for an amount the insurer agrees to,” find another contractor. In many cases this type of contract is illegal.

When Your Adjustor Arrives

• Have the adjuster sign for anything you give him/her. This is your receipt that you have provided the documents requested.
• Do not understate what you feel your loss may be.
• Point out all tornado damages and have a witness with you when the adjuster inspects the property.
• Seek professional assistance before signing a proof of loss for your adjuster, so that you can make sure that the document is correct in every aspect.
• Be cooperative, but stand your ground on damages that you are expecting to be covered.
• Be wary of the following statement: “If there is anything else I did not cover, you can just supplement the claim later.” Supplementing is much more difficult than getting your claim paid properly up front.
Even if you do everything right, many Dallas area property owners may still experience insurance claim delays, disputes, and denials. Texas law requires insurance companies to state the reasons for delaying or denying payment, as long as the policy covers tornado damage. Your adjustor should come out promptly to assess your tornado damages, and you can prevent disputes later on by following the guidelines listed above. If your insurance claim is denied, don’t give up! Don’t let yourself become a victim twice when dealing with your tornado damage insurance claims.

McAllen Hail Claims

Was your home or business harmed by the hail that pummeled McAllen on March 19, 2012? If your area was hit by the intense rain, wind, and hail the size of golf balls or baseballs, then you are now likely dealing with insurance claims in the aftermath of the storm damage. It can be a frustrating process, but if done right you can get the money you need.

There are some symptoms of hail damage that you can spot yourself. First, look for loose granules on asphalt roof shingles. Also check for granules in your rain gutters and downspouts, because the loose granules will eventually wash away. Finally, look for hail dents in exposed surfaces like vents, siding, decks, and also automobiles.

Don’t be fooled though! It is not enough for you to perform all inspections yourself. It is not uncommon for hail damage to be unseen, so it is necessary to have it inspected by a professional. Roofs are especially at risk of hail damage and often sustain more harm than it appears. Not only can the roof shingles be damaged, but the structure itself may be damaged by a hail storm. This is one reason to make sure a professional assesses your damage because a quick up-front insurance claim payment may cover only apparent roof damage. But they will leave behind damage to the structure that you may not notice until problems arise later, and then you’ll be stuck dealing with insurance claims all over again. Make sure everything is handled right in the first place!

What You Should Do Now

• Take pictures and video of the structure, contents and debris prior to moving or disposing of anything. Take pictures of any dented siding or broken windows. Also photograph any roof shingle granules that may have washed into rain gutters or downspouts.
• Tarp any openings in your roof and walls if possible to prevent further damage.
• Take pictures of any hail on your property to document the amount of hail that occurred.
• Do not dispose of any damaged property contents even though you think they may be a complete loss.
• Note all hail damage that was not present before the storm.
• Hire a contractor to clean up debris. If you do it yourself, you may not be compensated by your insurer or may only be given minimum wage.
• Keep written receipts for all expenses, especially if you pay cash.
• Only give copies of photos and documents to the insurance adjuster, not the originals.
• Make sure a contractor’s contract has a clear estimate of charges. If a contract says “the work will be done for an amount the insurer agrees to,” find another contractor. In many cases this type of contract is illegal.

When Your Adjustor Arrives

• Have the adjuster sign for anything you give him/her. This is your receipt that you have provided the documents requested.
• Do not understate what you feel your loss may be.
• Point out all hail damages and have a witness with you when the adjuster inspects the property.
• Seek professional assistance before signing a proof of loss for the adjuster, to make sure that the document is correct in every aspect.
• Be cooperative, but stand your ground on damages that you are expecting to be covered.
• Be wary of the following statement: “If there is anything else I did not cover, you can just supplement the claim later.” Supplementing is much more difficult than getting your claim paid properly up front.
As much as you hope the claims process will go smoothly, many McAllen property owners may still have problems with insurance claim delays, disputes, and denials. Texas insurance law requires insurance companies to show reasonable cause for denying or delaying payment, if the policy clearly covers hail damage. Your adjustor should come out promptly to assess your hail damage, and you can prevent disputes later on by following the guidelines listed above. It can be especially frustrating to see your neighbors getting new roofs while your own hail damage claim has been denied, so don’t give up! Continue pursuing your insurance claim if you feel that your policy is not being handled appropriately.