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Summer Hail Claims Remain Unpaid
by Charlotte McCray on December 26, 2023
This summer, thousands of Michigan homes and businesses suffered severe hail damage. Parts of Davison, Mason, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Pinckney, and Flint were hit particularly hard.
Unlike many losses, damage from hail may not be immediately apparent to people on the ground. Sometimes the damage is so severe that it results in leaking during the next rainstorm. Often though (especially with newer roofs), the hail impacts will cause a substantial reduction in the life span of the roof without leaks occurring for months or years. Often people first notice damage to metal roofing components such as gutters, fascia, and vents, which are easily dented by hail. Damage to cars and air conditioning units is also easily detectable from the ground and indicates a high likelihood of shingle damage
Damage to shingles can be more difficult to detect, but often constitutes the bulk of the hail damage. Asphalt shingles, Michigan's most common residential roof covering, usually consist of a mat core coated with hot asphalt embedded with mineral granules. The granules protect the underlying waterproof materials from UV and other weather damage. If enough granules are lost, shingles becomes vulnerable to leaking and should be replaced. Typically, these granules are lost slowly over time. However, a single large hail impact can cause dramatic, concentrated granule loss, ending or greatly shortening a shingle's useful life. Because of this, it's a good idea to visually inspect your roof after a hail storm. Many granules in the gutters after a storm, impact spots on shingles, and dents in exposed wood, plastic, paint, or metal are all signs that the damage may warrant professional assessment. Many roofers offer this service for free.
Many Michiganders have already found damage and filed claims with their insurance companies. Some were promptly paid, but we've already received several calls from people whose claims were not. With respect to some of these claims, the insurance companies have acknowledged a small amount of damage, but have indicated that because the amount of loss is below the policy's deductible they will pay nothing and have refused to proceed to appraisal when the policyholders demanded it, in violation of their insurance policies and Michigan law.
If this has happened to you, please call for a free telephone consultation regarding your claim. If you think you've may have experienced hail damage but have not filed a claim, please consider inspecting your roof if it is safe for you to do so, or hiring a professional. While the deadline for initiating a lawsuit against your insurer for this kind of damage varies depending on the circumstances, it can be as short as one year, so please start the process early enough to protect your rights.