If you live in Texas, then you’ve probably heard the saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” Our weather can change quickly and quite drastically, often producing severe storms including tornados and hail. In fact, according to State Farm, Texas ranks as the state with highest hail losses in the country. If you live in Texas, chances are you’ve been through at least one of these hail storms yourselves. After the hail stones stop falling and the ice has melted, then the clean-up begins. However, many homeowners are often left wondering, ‘What do I do next?’
One of the top concerns we hear from homeowners that have hail damage, is that if they file a claim, their insurance company will raise their rates, or worse drop them. We understand why homeowners often feel that way. After all, if you have an auto accident or get a speeding ticket, the insurance company can and does raise your rates. So, can your homeowners insurance company raise your rates due to a hail claim? The answer is yes and no.
In the example of the auto accident, the rate increase comes down to a question of fault. Assuming it is not your fault and the other driver has valid insurance, you are not penalized for a payout on the cost to restore your vehicle back to its pre-accident condition. The same applies to your home! Unless you’ve figured out a way to channel your inner Marvel character and command the weather, storm damage, including wind and hail, is beyond your control. While the phrase “Act of God” is not used by insurance companies to define a specific type of coverage, it is used to describe damage that happens suddenly, is beyond your control and is also unpreventable. For example, old or faulty electrical wiring that started a fire would be considered human error and therefore could have been preventable.
If you have the correct coverage, you can still file a valid claim, but your premiums will most likely increase. However, if lightening were to strike and catch your house on fire, this would be considered an “Act of God” and would not qualify as a reason for a premium hike. In fact, in the state of Texas, insurance companies legally cannot raise your rates or penalize you based on what is deemed an “Act of God.” Therefore, a homeowner should not have any fear when filing a claim for storm damage. This is why you pay premiums in the first place!
The “yes” portion of the answer to this question is that while your insurance company cannot raise your individual premiums because of your individual claim, they can and quite often do, raise premiums in a geographic region after storm damage due to many collective claims. Simply put, what that this means is that whether you file a claim or not, your insurance premiums will increase because the rest of your neighbors did. Therefore, there is no reason that everyone around you should have their properties restored to pre-storm conditions while your property deteriorates.
If you are still hesitant to call your insurance company or just want a second opinion, most reputable roofing companies will give you a free and honest assessment of your roof and whether or not the damage warrants filing a claim.