After Rare Houston Hail Storm, Residents Assess Damage to Homes and Vehicles

A rare hail storm was reported by Houston residents on January 8, 2016. Stones as large as golf balls fell in Harris County and caused damage to homes and property throughout the Houston area. Navigating the claim process can be a real challenge for homeowners unfamiliar with the complexities of the insurance industry. Working with an experienced property damage attorney can ensure the fastest response times and the most positive outcomes for families dealing with the aftermath of severe weather events. How Does Hail Form? According to the atmospheric experts at NASA, hail forms when updrafts carry water upward. Temperatures fall as elevation rises, causing the water to freeze and fall downward. Repeated updrafts can allow this process to repeat several times, creating layers of ice that can grow relatively large before falling to the ground. While the hail stones that fell on January 8, 2016, were approximately the size of a golf ball, some storms can produce baseball or softball-sized hail. The largest hail on record in the U.S. fell on Jun 23, 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota and measured eight inches in diameter. Although small hail may cause little or no damage, the impact of large hail stones on homes, cars and other properties can add up to significant repair costs for home and business owners. Damage Caused by Hail Storms The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration estimates that hail causes an average of $1 billion in damages annually. In 2014, Texas experienced 557 major hail events. These storms can cause a wide range of damage to buildings and vehicles, including the following:

  • Dents in cars in driveways or on sales lots
  • Cracked and broken windshields and windows
  • Dents and damage to exterior siding
  • Broken or compromised roofing shingles
  • Cracks or breaks in residential windows
  • Damage to exterior television antenna or satellite receivers

The most commonly reported type of damage after a hail storm is damage to roofing materials. Reporting these incidents as soon as possible after the storm can be critical to ensure that your claim is evaluated and resolved quickly. Delaying can sometimes reduce the chance to collect on your hail damage claim. Navigating the Hail Damage Claim Process In most cases, insurance companies are highly motivated not to pay out on hail damage claims. Roof replacements can be extremely costly; as a result, adjusters may give incomplete information regarding the claims process and may even discourage homeowners from making a claim. Some of the questionable tactics that homeowners have encountered include the following:

  • Delaying the damage inspection or repair process
  • Asserting that the damage was preexisting and is not covered
  • Requiring multiple sets of paperwork for the same claim
  • Making a lowball offer that does not cover the true cost of repairs
  • Threatening to cancel the insurance policy based on one hail damage claim

Retaining the services of an attorney who specializes in these types of claims can provide homeowners with the guidance and accurate information needed to take on unscrupulous insurance companies and to achieve a fair settlement offer for their damages. Working with a qualified hail damage lawyer can often provide much-needed help in pursuing a claim with insurers. Prompt action can be the key to preventing further damage, especially in roof repair cases. Depending on the policies in place at your insurance company, you may have as little as one year to file your claim. Taking immediate steps to verify the damage and present documentation to your insurer can make the difference between an approved settlement for repair and a denied claim, especially after a major storm. By enlisting the help of a legal firm that specializes in storm damage claims, you can enjoy greater peace of mind while dealing with the aftermath of serious weather events.