Hail damage – what to look for and how to file a claim

September 7, 2021. If you live in Appleton, Fond du Lac, or Delavan, this date might jump off the page for you. 

That morning, a cold front sparked a line of severe thunderstorms that swept across the state, leaving swaths of damaging hail in its wake. There were more than 30 reports of severe hail from the Illinois border to the Fox Valley, with a grapefruit-size hailstone reported near Appleton, the third-largest ever reported in the state

Not surprisingly, a lot of hail claims were filed in the days after.  

It’s only a matter of time before another hail event like this repeats itself. Hopefully, you dodge the largest hailstones. But if you don’t, will you know what to do after the storm passes? 

Identify hail damage

While hail damage from softball or baseball-size hail will be obvious, damage from smaller stones won’t be as clear-cut. Recognizing the signs of hail damage is the first step in filing a hail claim. 

Hail damage can appear as dents and cracks on your roof or siding. It can also appear as: 

  • Dented car exteriors 
  • Cracked windshields 
  • Shattered windows 
  • Visible signs of impact on outdoor furniture or fences 

Understand the claims process

After you’ve inspected for hail damage (if safe to do so), you have a decision to make. If you’re unsure about whether to file, the claims team at Rural Mutual Insurance says it’s always best to err on the side of filing. The sooner an adjuster can investigate the scope of damage after a storm and whether coverage applies, the better. 

Review your policy: Check with your agent to see if your policy covers hail damage before filing a claim. Some policies may have specific exclusions or limitations. 

Document your hail damage: Gather evidence, including photos and videos of the hail damage. Include any repair estimates or receipts, too. 

File your hail damage claim: Rural Mutual Insurance offers three easy and convenient options for filing your claim.  

After you’ve filed your hail damage claim 

Once you file a claim, a local Rural Mutual Insurance claims adjuster will contact you within 24 hours or less. 

An adjuster will then make a visit to conduct a thorough evaluation, using specialized tools to assess the scope of hail damage to your property.  

After the inspection, the adjuster will evaluate your claim, checking your policy to verify what coverage applies to the loss. While coverage may not apply in every situation, adjusters will always investigate thoroughly and look for coverage. 

“This is why you pay your premium,” says Brad Adkins, a regional claims manager with Rural Mutual Insurance. “We want to help and apply the coverages you have. Our goal is to move things forward and get you back to normal as quickly as possible.” 

Choose a professional roofing contractor 

Watch out for storm chasers! These contractors often travel from place-to-place following severe weather events, looking to make a quick buck from homeowners in need of urgent repairs. They’re known for sometimes performing shoddy work or even engaging in fraudulent practices. 

Make sure your chosen contractor is local, licensed, insured, and experienced in hail damage roof repairs. Check their references, Google reviews, and certifications for added peace of mind. 

Prevent future hail damage 

There’s nothing to stop hail from battering half of the state again. But you can take steps to lower the odds of future hail damage to your home and vehicles.  

  • Home: Inspect your roof and siding (if safe to do so) for existing damage or vulnerabilities and install impact-resistant roofing materials.  
  • Vehicles: Use covered parking areas or hail covers to provide significant protection. 
  • Roof and vehicles: Regularly inspect both for signs of wear and tear, addressing issues promptly to prevent further damage during a hailstorm. 

You can’t control the weather, but staying proactive and using preventative measures are highly recommended. That way, you can be confident your assets are covered the next time a bad storm rolls through. If you have questions or need help submitting a claim, contact your Rural Mutual agent