BOULDER – Summer afternoons in Colorado are often hit with wild weather, and this week was no exception. The Boulder/Louisville area was pounded by a severe hail storm with golf ball and larger-sized hail wreaking havoc on buildings, houses, cars, trees and gardens.
I stopped by Foothills Insurance next door to my office after the storm. It was certainly bustling! Whenever a hail storm comes ripping through the area, the phone starts ringing in a frenzy. Out of curiosity I asked if this was one of the biggest storms. They laughed and reminded me of the Colorado Mills Shopping Center storm when the roof was pounded, businesses flooded and nearly every car in the parking lot was damaged. Nonetheless, while driving through central Boulder and Louisville, I could clearly see extensive hail damage.
If you are at home when a hail storm occurs, it is always a good idea to snap a few pictures of the piles of hail and document the date and time. Walk around your house and through your property to take pictures of damage to air conditioners, windows, roof, siding, walls, patio, outdoor BBQ, and all areas of your home and property that may have been battered by hail.
As a homeowner, having assessed your hail damage, you may ask yourself, “now what?” First of all, in Colorado, almost every homeowner’s insurance policy will include hail coverage. It’s not like earthquake insurance, in which you need a separate rider. What varies is how the deductible works. If you had hail damage, review your insurance policy and see what it says before calling your insurance agent. Some policies will have a flat deductible for all perils that could happen. Some will have a deductible for hail only, based on the percentage of the home value. Evaluate the extent of your damage and determine if it is worthwhile to call your agent.
Roof damage is the most common problem after a hail storm. If it looks like the roof has been beaten beyond repair, it’s time to get in line as quick as you can to have a roofing company come out and give you a bid. This week’s hail storm was so strong that it actually ripped through the sky lights in homes. Homes that have open holes in their skylights or roofs will demand the quickest attention. In most cases, the insurance company wants you to get a bid before submitting a claim. Roofers will be very busy after a storm, so call as soon as you can to avoid long waits, but research the roofing company and make sure it’s reputable.
Depending on the strength of a storm and direction of its winds, a home can also have damage to siding, paint, gutters, windows, and more. In this storm, especially central Boulder, west-facing walls received the brunt of the storm damage. I checked one of the buildings I own on Walnut Street, and the west wall looks like someone had been shooting at it.
The period after a hail storm can be a very stressful time for everyone. Insurance companies and contractors are overwhelmed, and homeowners have a great deal of damage. The most important thing is to remember is patience. Unless you have a gaping hole in your roof or a real emergency threatening your health and safety, it will all work out!
By Duane Duggan. Duane is an award-winning Realtor and author of the book, “Realtor for Life”. He has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, e-mail Duane at DuaneDuggan@boulderco.com, call 303.441.5611 or visit boulderco.com.