What Business Owners Need To Know About Commercial Hail Insurance Claims
Help for Your Commercial Hail Insurance Claims
Commercial hail insurance claims can be complicated. Hail can sometimes be just a short-term side effect of a bigger storm. However, hailstones can cause great devastation within just a few minutes. Since 2008, each year the annual cost of storm and hail damage has been $19 billion or even higher. Meteorologists are not expecting the trend to subside anytime soon. Attorney Bill Voss goes over what business owners must know about commercial hail damage claims, which includes the steps that should be taken following a storm and how to lower the risk of damage.
Why Are Hailstorms So Expensive for Business Owners?
There are certain parts of the country that are more prone to experiencing inclement weather. Storms gather in intensity across the Great Plains and then sweep across the entire nation. As suburban neighborhoods and urban areas continue to grow larger, the chances of a hailstorm striking a major city also increase. Unsurprisingly, roof damage is the most-claimed item for replacement or repair following a hailstorm, which places business owners at risk of incurring thousands of dollars worth in commercial roofing claims.
It is more likely for your business to suffer devastating hail damage based on your company’s:
– Location. States that have dedicated hail season are particularly at risk of damage due to the fact that these storms occur more often compared to other parts of the country. The National Insurance Crime Bureau issued a report recently that showed that Texas led the count in hail losses from 2013 through 2015 with a total of 394,572 hail claims. In second place was Colorado with 182,591 claims. Also, coastal areas are more susceptible to suffering hailstorm damage, particularly those that have a high risk of hurricane activity (like Florida).
– Age. With each passing year hail damage results in weakening flashing, gutters, and roofs, which makes it easier for water to get inside of the structure. Slow leaks may damage underlying drywall, framing, and roofing layers without obvious damage to the exterior components of a roof, which all ultimately reduce the roof’s lifespan. Although large dents or large pockmarks can be seen with your naked eye, a professional is often needed to detect hidden damages that hail causes.
– Building design. The shape and size of a commercial building may impact the ability of a structure to cope with inclement weather and hailstones. Golf-sized hailstones and high winds can pry up and dent sheeting that is on a flat roof, which allows water to get inside a structure. Car dealerships and showrooms that have floor-to-ceiling windows, on the other hand, might have to replace expensive custom-made glass or several broken panels.
– Maintenance records. There are many reasons why it is essential to schedule commercial property inspections on a regular basis. Inspections can help to identify potential inefficiencies and safety hazards, but they may also reveal proof of good working order conditions. If payment is denied by an insurance company based on pre-existing roof damage, then it can be invaluable to have a recent inspection report that shows that the roof was in good condition.
– Industry. The kind of business that you have can have a significant influence on your possible hail damage losses. Orchards, farms, and other types of outdoor businesses are especially at risk of losing income since hail can completely shred crops and plans and impact a whole season’s harvest. Businesses that have multiple locations also need each of their satellite operations to be protected. Large-scale manufacturers can end up being underpaid when expensive equipment or machinery is damaged by water. If a business owns a fleet of vehicles (like charter buses or taxis) those vehicles need to be covered by a commercial auto policy which includes hail-damaged bodywork and windows.
How to Protect Your Business Against Hail Damage Losses
To avoid having to pay for expensive repairs, the best thing you can do is make sure you understand what your risks are and make sure your business is protected before another storm strikes. For example, you need to be aware of which conditions are likely to result in the formation of hail. High winds during a hailstorm can blow rain into the air higher. This freezes the rain and collects into heavy ice chunks. Once the pellets get too heavy, they start falling out of the sky and crash into objects below. Therefore, if tornadoes, hurricanes, rain, or other types of inclement weather are forecast, there is a chance that hail is possible as well.
Although you may be unable to predict the weather, it isn’t necessary to guess the amount you will be receiving if your business becomes damaged by hail. You might be able to reduce that amount by taking a couple of smart steps, including:
Reread your insurance policies. Do you have an RCV or ACV property damage policy? Do you have protection for all weather-related damage or just certain risks? Are only repairs covered by the policy, or will it pay to have the entire roof replaced? Any of those factors can cause denial, underpayment, or delay of your insurance claim.
Update your selections. When did you last update your coverage? The options that worked well for you when you were getting your business established might not completely cover a commercial enterprise that is growing. Some coverages that are commonly overlooked can include building ordinance insurance for paying the cost to bring a damaged structure up to the current building codes, sufficient business interruption insurance for paying employee salaries and lost revenue while your business is being repaired, or inland marine insurance to cover goods that have been lost in transit.
Keep good records. Your insurance company will need various information to value your claim properly, which includes inventory that you have lost, the amount of your business’s monthly operating costs, and out-of-pocket expenses for your business income claim. The claims process will go more smoothly if you can properly document your holdings, payroll, profits, and assets.
Armadillo Roofing & Exteriors (512) 333-7663 provides help with commercial hail damage claims to Austin, Texas and the surrounding Austin area communities. When you need help with a hail damage claim for your commercial building, give us a call. Also, if you have hail damage on metal roof, contact Taurus Elite Roofing.