Filing a hail damage claim after Thursday’s storm in the Denver metro? Here’s what you should know

Plus, tips on how to avoid getting scammed in the event of property damage this severe weather season
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Posted at 1:13 PM, May 31, 2024

DENVER — Residents across portions of the Denver metro woke up Friday morning to dented cars, shattered windshields and damage to their properties after large, destructive hail pummeled through the area late Thursday night.

These hailstorms, now stretching over longer periods, while also producing more severe and damaging effects due to climate change, can cause millions of dollars' worth of damage – a price tag that will likely continue going up.

So what can Coloradans do after severe weather strikes?

The first thing you should do once severe weather has passed is to assess the damage to your property – that means taking photos of everything that has been dented, broken, torn apart, or destroyed following a severe weather event and creating an itemized list of everything that was damaged, including its original cost and estimated current value.

If you’re waking up to significant damage, “get in touch with your insurance carrier immediately and get that claims process started,” Carole Walker, the spokeswoman for the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association (RMIA), told Denver7 Friday. “Get that taken care of. Get an adjuster out there, start working with a reputable contractor.”

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Vehicles across northeast Denver metro with hail damage.

After you file your claim, work with you adjuster and be sure to ask for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer. If a disagreement about the claim settlement arises, the Colorado Division of Insurance suggests asking the insurance company for the specific language in the policy that is in question.

“If this disagreement results in a claim denial, make sure you obtain a written letter explaining the reason for the denial and the specific policy language under which the claim is being denied,” DOI officials explained Friday.

But don’t rush into a settlement. If the first offer by your insurance company doesn’t meet your expectations, prepare to negotiate to get a fair settlement and seek out different quotes from a several contractors to make sure you’re getting a fair settlement.

After events like Thursday’s hailstorm, you may be contacted by public adjusters, state officials said. If you decide to work with one, make sure they’re licensed, check references, and if possible, hire a Colorado-based adjuster, DOI officials said.

After you get those claims processed, Walker said, you should definitely go ahead and make some temporary repairs right away so in case another storm comes (and they will come, Colorado – we’re in severe weather season), you are more protected from say, having a leaky roof. And don’t throw those receipts away – hang on to them so that you can get reimbursed by your insurance company once you file a claim.

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If you’re looking for a contractor for a quote to repair damage to your home following a severe weather event, state officials said you should be wary of people doing door-to-door sales or phone solicitations.

Always check references, work with Colorado-based contractors when possible, get everything in writing (including the cost, scope of work, how long repairs will take, how payments will be made, guarantees, etc.), and read contracts carefully. The Better Business Bureau has a section on how you can protect yourself from scammers following a severe weather event.

Walker also told Denver7 it’s important that homeowners know how much their deductible is and compare that to a potential out-of-pocket cost when making the decision on paying for hail damage repairs.

“So if you're filing a $1,000 claim, and you have a $2,500 deductible, you won't have an insurance payout anyway, and then you have a claim on your record,” Walker said, as she reminded homeowners of the importance of doing an annual insurance checkup to know what’s covered and what isn’t covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Stressing the importance of knowing the specifics about your homeowner's insurance policy, Walker told Denver7 deductibles for something like hail damage can be different than a regular policy claim.

"Because we are in hail alley in Colorado … many insurance companies have gone to a wind-hail deductible on your roof, so that is a separate deductible – that's either a higher percentage deductible or a higher dollar deductible,” Walker said. “So as you're weighing whether that damage this morning meets that deductible, do understand what that deductible is because in Colorado that wind-hail deductible could be much higher.”

Filing a hail damage claim after Thursday’s storm in Denver? What to know

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