Hail – the bane of roofs and cars everywhere – can be a terrifying sight to behold. We’re not used to snow in Florida, so seeing anything white fall from the sky can be a bit jarring.
Hail is a significantly more aggressive phenomenon than snow. Fluffy, soft snowflakes aren’t all that intimidating. Softball sized balls of ice are downright frightening.
Although rare, hail can reach grapefruit-size diameter before hurdling towards the earth at around 70 miles per hour.
Hail doesn’t have to be softball size to cause damage. Once hail reaches the diameter of a penny it can start denting cars and causing property damage. Larger hail can smash windows and seriously damage roofs.
Areas of Florida hit by heavy hailstorms often end up having hundreds or even thousands of roof damage claims and auto damage claims. People trying to get the insurance company to cover these claims often run into difficultly. Like during a hurricane, whenever hundreds or thousands of homeowners file claims all at once the insurance companies can get overwhelmed, resulting in delays in processing and payments.
There are frequent disputes about the extent of damages and the attribution of those damages. Insurance companies may try to allege that your roof was already in bad shape, and that it was normal wear and tear on an old roof, not hail that caused your roof’s damage.
Another matter that complicates hail damage claims is the timing. According to Verisk Insurance Solutions – a data analytics company focused on insurance matters – roughly half of all hail claims are made a year or more after the actual storm and nearly 30 percent misattribute the date of the storm.
That’s understandable from the perspective of a homeowner. You don’t always realize your roof was severely damaged by a hailstorm until your it starts leaking months later. Trying to remember exactly when that damaging hailstorm occurred isn’t always easy.
Insurance companies may unfortunately try to use this information against you during your claim, so be sure to do your research, look back at news stories and try to pinpoint the exact day of the hailstorm that damaged your home before you file your hail damage claim.
According to a report put together by the National Weather Service for the Palm Beach, Glades and Miami-Dade area:
There isn’t really a linear increase or average for hail damage in the United States. There are particularly bad years in terms of property damage and other years when it’s not as bad. The closest thing to a trend Verisk Insurance Solutions’ study found was the difference in annual costs between 2000 to 2007 and 2007 to 2013. Between 2000 and 2013 U.S. insurance companies paid out more than $54 billion on nearly nine million hail damage claims. Approximately 70 percent of those claims were attributable to storms that occurred in the last 6 years of that period – 2007 to 2013.
A number of government agencies have put together more recent numbers for the past several years. In 2014 they totaled the annual hail damage at around $1.7 billion. In 2015 it was a comparatively paltry $719 million. In 2016 it jumped up to a devastating $3.5 billion.
There’s very little consistency in terms of hail damage – these storms either occur more heavily one year or the storms tend to hit populated areas with a lot of property around to be damaged. Our country’s hail damage experience is very much luck the draw – unless you live in “hail alley” – the central U.S. corridor that goes through Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and South Dakota.
The spring and summer months in Florida generally aren’t associated with cold weather, but hail doesn’t always play by the rules. During a freak hailstorm in March 1992, many parts of Central Florida were pummeled with one to two feet of hail. More recently in July 2019, Central Florida was battered with golf-ball sized hail, wind gusts of up to 47 mph and rough seas with 7 to 9-foot waves. Property damage from the storms included things like shattered windows, significant auto damage and many damaged roofs in Brevard County.
If you think a past hailstorm damaged your roof, don’t hesitate to file a claim. Lots of homeowners don’t realize their home suffered hail damage until long after the storm occurred. If you’re having trouble getting a legitimate hail damage claim honored by the insurance company, consider speaking with an independent claims adjuster or hail damage attorney in Florida.