The National Storm Damage Center says it's important to understand what type of insurance policy you have before a storm hits. What are your policy's limitations? What does your insurance cover and what types of storms doesn't it cover?
The following are some tips to consider:
- Learn how to identify the damage. Common types of damage caused by hail include roof damage, siding damage, shingle damage, window damage and automobile damage.
- Most standard homeowners policies cover your home and its contents. Typically, you're covered against storm damage, theft, pet damage and some major disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and hail.
Earthquakes and floods are usually not covered under most standard insurance policies and require a separate policy.
Do some research before you talk to your insurance agent. Determine what your home replacement cost would be. To figure out your replacement cost multiply the building cost per square foot of your home, with the number of total square feet. Any local contractor should be able to give you a good idea of average building costs in your area.
A deductible is the amount you are required to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Typically homeowners insurance deductibles range from $250 to over $1,000. If your home is damaged by a hailstorm and incurs $10,000 in damages and you have a $500 deductible, the insurance company will pay $9,500 towards your repairs. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be.
Shop around before buying insurance. Different companies offer a wide range of coverage levels, discounts and prices. Don't just shop the companies you know best, but search for the policy that works best for your situation. If you come across a policy that looks good, but is offered by a company you haven't heard of, it's easy to check out their background.
Research what storm damage has occurred in your neighborhood in the past.