Floridians are very familiar with hail and the damage it can cause. While hail is a pretty common occurrence, there are still misconceptions about what it is like and what to do about it. Read on to learn some facts and fictions about Florida hail damage.
Facts About Hail
- Hail forms as a product of thunderstorms. It arises when chunks of ice become too heavy to stay inside of thunderclouds. Eventually, their weight causes them to fall to earth.
- Hail storms do not last very long. Typically, hail storms last for only fifteen minutes. Even though this isn’t very long, that is more than enough time for there to be extensive property damage.
- In Florida, May and June are the months when the most hail happens. Much of the damage occurs between 2 PM and 4 PM.
- Hail causes $1 billion in damage in America each year. This includes damage to property and crops.
- More than 10 million properties suffer hail damage each year.
- Many parts of your property can be damaged by hail. However, your roof is the most vulnerable to hail damage.
- Hail storms are significantly more common than tornadoes. There are about 5000 incidents of hail in America each year while there are only 1000 tornadoes in America.
- Although injuries from hail are uncommon, they can happen. Typically they occur when drivers are operating their vehicles during a hailstorm and then lose control of their vehicles.
- Hail can also be a source of major damage to vehicles. It is a common reason for vehicles to be declared a total loss. If a vehicle has a great deal of dents from a hail storm, it may make more sense to replace it than to repair it.
- Hail can be very large. It can range from pebble-sized to golf-sized or even larger. Though rare, there has been hail that is the size of a volleyball.
- The size of the hail determines how hard it will fall. Hail that is golf ball size can fall around 40 to 70 MPH. Larger hail can fall as hard as 100 MPH. Knowing this, it is easy to understand how hail can cause significant property damage.
- During a hurricane, it can be rare for hail to make it to the surface. The warm core temperature of a hurricane generally melts any hail before it falls. Also, the very strong wind associated with a hurricane will blow the hail horizontally, giving it more time to melt before it falls down.
- Generally, your homeowners’ insurance policy will cover hail damage.
- There are ways that you can mitigate the damage. For instance, you can put impact-resistant shingles on your roof. Check your insurance company—you may even get a discount on your premium if you have impact-resistant shingles.
Fictions About Florida Hail Damage
You should repair the hail damage as soon as possible.
While it is true that you want to do what you can to mitigate any damage and that you want to get your life back on track, it is not necessarily in your best interest to fix it right away. Not doing adequate investigation can lead to significant costs down the road.
You should wait to file an insurance claim until you are completely sure that you have had hail damage.
This is incorrect. Sometimes, hail damage will be very obvious. For instance, it may be evident that your siding is damaged. But, there may be damage on the roof that is not apparent until your roof starts leaking. If the leaks do not happen for months, your insurance company may try to deny your claim, alleging that the damage is instead from normal wear and tear or poor maintenance. Without climbing up on top of the roof, you cannot be totally sure that there was no roof damage. Typically, people will look for missing shingles as an indicator that there was damage. However, missing shingles, on their own, is not a complete indicator that there was hail damage. Shingles might be missing and there is no roof damage or, conversely, there could be significant roof damage even though the shingles are present and in place.
The damage is not too bad, so I should not file an insurance claim.
You may spot roof damage and decide it does not seem severe enough to file a claim. You should exercise caution here. If left without repairs, the roof damage could lead to additional problems down the road. This could end up costing you a lot of money. Take your policy deductible into consideration, but also research how much it will cost to repair your roof. It is likely better to get the damage controlled now than to have to pay out of pocket later.
If I refrain from filing a claim, my insurance rates will not go up.
If there is a significant storm in your area, and your neighbors file claims, the insurance company is likely going to raise everyone’s rates because your neighbors are likely to file a claim. It can be difficult to predict when or why insurance rates will go up.
The insurance company will make sure I get a check for the full balance of the damages.
Insurance adjusters are good people. However, at the end of the day, they are employees of the insurance company. Their job is to reduce how much the insurance company is responsible for so that they remain profitable. If the number that they provide for repairs seems low, do not just accept this without exploring the rights you may have under your policy.
Speak to a Homeowners’ Insurance Attorney
Contact our office at 321-342-1759 to speak with one of our homeowners’ insurance attorneys if you would like to discuss the particulars of your situation. We present the material contained on our website for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you need legal or other professional advice, you should consult with legal counsel about your particular facts and circumstances. Call 321-415-9012 or contact us online to see how we may be able to fight for your claim!