5 Steps to Take After Hailstorms Hit
The Insurance Bureau of Canada states that the hailstorm in Calgary on June 13, 2020, was “the costliest hailstorm in Canadian history and the fourth costliest natural disaster of all time.” This devastating hailstorm resulted in approximately 70,000 claims and over $1.3 billion in insured damages.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see hailstorms across the province between May and September.
If your home is damaged by hail, follow these five steps to get you started:
1. Assess the damage
Hail can range in size and can cause varying degrees of damage. After the hailstorm has stopped, and if it is safe to do so, assess the damage to your property.
- Inspect your siding, windows and windowsills.
- Examine your property for dented gutters and downspouts.
- Collect debris, such as siding, in your yard.
- Investigate whether you have roof damage, including shingles, roof vents and other features. We recommend you have a contractor or adjuster complete this investigation.
- Inspect your detached structures—such as your shed, garage or deck—for damage.
Remember, your safety is the most important thing. Practice caution and use common sense when entering your property or assessing damage in areas such as on your roof. If there is severe damage from a storm, it could also affect the structural integrity of your home or nearby structures and trees. Call a professional immediately if you suspect structural damage.
If the damage is so severe that you are unable to enter your home or neighbourhood, keep all receipts for additional living expenses, such as a hotel. This may be covered by your insurance policy, depending on your specific coverage.
2. Record the damage
Record all damage caused by the hailstorm, including the date and time of the storm. Try to be as detailed as possible during this process. It would be helpful to take photos and videos of the hail stones and damage they caused.
You should also make an inventory list of the property damaged. For example, if the hail smashed a window and damaged your siding and roof, make sure to document the location and extent of the damage.
The more detailed you are, the smoother the claims process will be.
3. Talk to your broker
If your home is damaged, it is important to start the claims process as soon as possible. Your broker can help walk you through the claims process so that you can get back to what’s important.
If you’re not sure if a claim needs to be filed, your Rogers Insurance broker can help guide you and consult with you about whether you should file a claim considering your current deductible, claims history, and policy coverages.
Contact your broker directly or call our after-hours emergency claims line at 1.866.212.3239 to file a new claim.
4. Find a trusted contractor
After starting the claims process, your Rogers Insurance broker can help you find a trusted contractor to help repair damage. You are not obligated to use the contractor your broker recommends. If you opt to find your own contractor, keep these tips in mind:
- Obtain at least two quotes from multiple contractors where available.
- Do your research. This could include reading online reviews related to the contracting firm and asking the contractor for references.
- Work with only licensed and insured contractors.
- Calgary contractors are required to have a valid City of Calgary business license. You can call 311 to confirm that the contractor has a valid business license.
- Obtain a written contract from the contractor and review it.
- Do not feel pressured to hire a contractor immediately. Speaking to your broker and insurance company adjuster can be helpful.
Unfortunately, following these weather events we may see fraudulent roofing contractors (also known as “Storm Chasers”) appear. Their objective is to obtain your business and may also ask for cash in advance. Not every contractor who approaches you is a “Storm Chaser,’ but by doing your research and due diligence you can help protect yourself from those who are.
5. Prevent further damage
After a hailstorm, your home may be susceptible to water damage as hail can leave holes in your home’s protective exterior. You may need to take action to prevent further damage to your home right away. Furthermore, repairs may be delayed if there has been severe damage to your neighbourhood and beyond. Follow these tips to prevent further damage:
- Cover broken windows with two-ply heavy-duty trash bags or tarps until a professional can provide boarding and replace them.
- Clear eavestroughs of debris to ensure proper drainage.
- Clean up debris, such as broken glass, that could cause injury.
- Cover siding or roofing with tarps to protect from further damage and prevent water from entering your home.
- Move your possessions and protect from them from further damage if water has entered your home. Be sure to document any damage and clean up the water.
If preventing further damage means that you are purchasing products or services, be sure to keep your receipts for the claims process.
Keep in mind that insurers often give discounts for hail resilient siding and roofing.
Home Insurance in Alberta
Before a storm hits, it is important to talk to your broker and understand what your home insurance policy covers in the event of a hailstorm. Your broker can help clarify coverage limits and replacement values, as well as help you find the coverage that suits your needs. Some insurance policies cover detached structures, such as sheds or fences. If you are not sure whether your policy does, review your policy documents or speak to your broker.
Contact your Rogers Insurance broker if you have questions about your coverage or if you would like to update your policy.