Hail, the unwelcome visitor of summer

Jul 14, 2015 3 minute read

Hail, the unwelcome visitor of summer

Summer is a favourite season for many. Warm weather and long sunny days are hallmarks of the season. Unfortunately, in many parts of Canada, hail often makes unwelcome visits during summer months and can leave troublesome damage in its wake.

You may have to deal with hail damage to your home or vehicle at some point. Therefore, we’ve compiled some important information you should be aware of to prepare yourself for dealing with summer’s unwelcome visitor.

BrokerLink’s ‘Hail season is here’ billboard in Calgary, Alberta.

Home

If you’re a home owner affected by a hailstorm, we recommend calling the claims department of your insurance company immediately after a hail incident. Given the high volume of claims made after hailstorms, it can take longer for an insurance adjuster to arrive at your home to inspect the damage. The sooner you report the hail incident, the sooner your claims process can get underway.

Your insurance company will put you in touch with a contractor from their trusted list of vendors, to work on your repairs. The contractor will come out to your home to inspect the hail damage and draft an estimate, which they will forward to the claims department. An insurance adjuster will also be in contact with you to arrange a visit to your home to inspect the damage.

If you choose to use your own contractor, you can notify your insurance company’s claims department  and they will check to see if your contractor is within their trusted list of vendors. If your selected vendor isn’t among this list, we recommend you check to see if your contractor carries a guarantee on their work and can provide proof of commercial insurance.

Aside from a mandatory deductible you are responsible for paying, standard home insurancewill cover hail damage to your home, including the roof, siding and broken glass. However, when it comes to your roof, it’s important to note that depreciation will be factored into your insurance settlement.

For homes older than five years, insurance companies apply a depreciation rate to the value of roofs, typically around five per cent each year. Therefore, if the cost to repair your roof exceeds the current roof value determined by your insurance company, you will be responsible for the difference. All other areas of your home will be covered at the replacement cost. You should note that exterior areas of your property, such as your yard and garden, are not covered for hail damage.

Auto

Similar to your home, when there is hail damage to your vehicle, we encourage you take immediate action after a hail incident by notifying your insurance company’s claims department. You will be advised of local body shops in your insurance company’s trusted list of vendors to contact for a free estimate. As part of the estimate process, the body shop will take photos of your vehicle’s damages and forward them to your insurance company.

Whether or not your vehicle is insured for hail damage depends on the type of policy you hold. If you only have liability insurance, you will not be insured for any hail damage. Comprehensive or All Perils policies can cover hail damage to your vehicle. However, you will always be required to pay your deductible.

If your car is written-off, your insurance company will typically offer you the current cash value of your vehicle, which is the monetary amount your vehicle is worth in today’s market. The actual cash value of your vehicle is determined by numerous factors, including vehicle age, kilometres driven and any damage that existed prior to the hail damage.

Some insurance companies may have additional endorsements available when you purchase your insurance policy for a new car. For example, the Limited Waiver of Depreciation endorsement, available through select insurance companies, will waive vehicle depreciation on vehicles less than four or five-years-old, depending on the province you live in. As the vehicle owner, you would receive an amount based on the lesser of either the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of your vehicle or what you originally paid (for example, if you purchased your vehicle at a sale price).

Hail is an inevitable visitor each summer and while its appearance is never welcome, there are ways you can protect your home and vehicle against the aftermath. Contact a BrokerLink broker today to review your home and auto policies as well as bundling options, to ensure you’re ready for hail when it visits your neighbourhood.

Remember, you can always contact us if you have any questions about your coverage or how to make a claim.