It’s May! Let’s give a warm welcome to sunshine and flowers.
Let’s give another welcome, a cooler one, to hail.
If you live in the Front Range, you live in what the insurance industry calls “Hail Valley.” Thanks to several devastating storms in 2018, Colorado has now surpassed Texas as the costliest state for hail damage, according to State Farm. Rising costs are due not to a change in weather patterns, but rather an increase in population. Colorado added 80,000 residents in 2018 alone, and there are simply more houses and cars in harm’s way than there used to be.
When hail comes knocking, or thundering, what to do?
Take shelter. If you are driving, pull over and wait for the storm to pass. If you are home, park your car in a garage and bring pets inside. Close the drapes to protect against broken glass. Large hail can be deadly. Do not go outside while hail continues to fall. Keep an eye on the forecast, as intense storms can form quickly.
And of course, insurance. Insurance, insurance, insurance!
Your homeowner’s policy should cover hail damage to your home, but it’s still a good idea to check your documents. Be aware that insurers, hit with billions of dollars in claims over the past few years, are no longer replacing roofs as generously as they used to. Some insurers now use a “depreciation schedule” to determine a roof’s value. Deductibles have been rising along with premiums, as high as 19 percent in some areas.
To protect your car, you must add comprehensive coverage to your policy. Comprehensive covers the weird stuff you never expect to happen, like being attacked by an angry moose or ice grapefruits. Colorado only mandates liability coverage, which will not help you recover from a devastating hail event.
Finally, when hail strikes, file promptly. In a recent case involving Cherry Grove East II, where property owners waited months to file, The District Court of Colorado invalidated their claims as violating the insurance company’s “prompt notice” provisions.
Hail hurts, but being prepared can help with the sting. Keep an eye on the sky, be covered, be safe.
Article by Molly Fuscher