Hail is becoming all too frequent in Central Indiana.  Areas such as Fishers, Carmel, and Indianapolis have had some damaging storms since 2006.  When hail does occur, it can difficult to know how to best utilize your auto insurance and home insurance.  This post is designed to help you through the situation.

When hail occurs, it places an unusual strain on the insurance agencies and companies.  The claim volume is well above the daily rate.  So please try to be patient.  When claims are received, they are “triaged.”  That is, the high priority claims, such as a car with a smashed windshield, will be handled first.

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance claims are usually reported first because the damage is clearly visible.  Once reported to your agent, it may take a day or two for the Claims department to call you to begin the claims process.

Hail claims are covered under the “comprehensive coverage” section of your auto insurance policy.  These claims are usually not as big of an impact on your rates as collision claims.  Other types of comprehensive claims are theft, fire, and vandalism.  Even though the claim impact can be minimal, it’s usually best to call your independent insurance agent to discuss the claim to make sure it’s worthwhile to file.

The insurance companies will usually set up mobile, drive-in claims units in order to make it easy for customers to get their claims settled.  One company we represent, Erie Insurance, will have two mobile claims units in the affected areas to make it as easy as possible for customers.

Your agent will usually have connections to trusted companies to help you deal with the claim.  One company that our agency likes to refer clients with hail damage to is Allied Auto Hail Repair.  Marty Mainzer (317-428-7041) helps my clients get their cars repaired without having to pay a deductible.  Give him a call if you need assistance.

 Home Insurance

Home claims are a little different.  Your roof may have suffered damage, but since you can’t see the damage, it doesn’t affect you as much.  Fishers home insurance customers (and customers in other cities) are usually bombarded with roofing contractors (storm chasers) who will look for damage in order to drum up business.

Filing a home insurance claim will increase your rates.  I recommend that prior to filing a claim, you have a contractor that you trust evaluate your roof for damage.  The contractor should get on the roof to determine how much damage there is.  If there is damage, then you should call your home insurance agent to report the claim.

Having a contractor you can trust is important.  I would use a local company that has been here and will be here after the storm for repairs to my roof.  There are many companies that don’t have a local presence but will simply go from town to town and follow the storms.  They don’t necessarily do bad work, but if they do, it may be more difficult to have repairs made.

If you want an independent insurance agent in Fishers to help advise you on your insurance, please call us at 317-644-1770.