As storms around the country become more frequent and intense, many homeowners are faced with inevitable damage to their properties, including their metal buildings and carports.
If your metal building has been damaged by a recent storm from wind, hail, or even a combination of weather factors, you should be able to recoup the cost of the damage by submitting a claim to your home insurance company. While the process for filing a claim can vary depending on your insurance provider, it’s essential to get the details right in order to recover the full value of your loss.
Follow these tips to maximize your chances for a successful claim with a minimum of hassle.
The Process for Filing an Insurance Claim
Inspect the damage to your metal building as soon as it is safe to do so. You’ll want to pay particular attention to the roofing on your building to check for functional damage, which could result in leaks.
Take pictures of all damaged areas. Be sure to show the damage from different angles. Take as many pictures as possible so you can show zoomed-in shots, as well as shots from farther away.
You’ll also want to document any damage to personal property inside the building that resulted from the storm. These damages are often covered as well. For example, if you’re using your metal building to house your home office, your office equipment could also be covered.
Don’t begin your cleanup effort until you’ve documented all the damage. If possible, you may want to leave large messes until after a claims adjuster has assessed the damage.
Write down the details of the storm as soon as possible after the storm occurs, so you don’t forget. The details you capture now could end up being important down the road.
Save news reports about the storm system to further substantiate your claim.
Don’t Wait to File Your Claim
It’s important to report the damage to your metal building to your insurance company as soon as possible. That’s because most insurance policies limit the amount of time you have to file a claim after damage or loss occurs. Some policies require claims to be filed in as little as 30 days, while others give you up to a year to submit your claim.
Check your policy or call your insurance provider to confirm the submission requirements for your specific policy.
Protect Against Further Damage
Depending on the damage that occurred, it may be necessary to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. For example, if a large piece of the roof is damaged or missing, you may need to cover the area with a tarp to prevent additional damage. You will also want to board up broken windows and cover holes or other damage to further protect your building and the property inside.
Review Your Policy for Cosmetic Damage Exclusions
Many insurance companies are adding exclusions to their policies for cosmetic damage. This is usually defined as damage that does not affect the basic functionality of a covered asset.
For example, metal roofs and buildings are susceptible to dings and dents from hail. Some insurance companies won’t pay damage claims for these items if they deem the damage to be purely cosmetic, only affecting the appearance of the building, but not reducing its usability or service life.
If your policy excludes coverage for cosmetic damage, you may still file a claim, but it could be denied. Having good documentation on the physical loss, including any functional damage, will increase your chances for a successful claim.
Why It’s Important to Be Thorough When Making Your Claim
Insurance companies make their money by collecting premiums, not paying damage claims. As more storms pound locations in our service area from Maryland to Virginia and further south, insurance companies are paying out more and more damage claims than ever before.
That’s why insurance companies often include loopholes in the language of their policies in order to minimize their risk or pay less for damage claims.
Your best defense against this cost-cutting strategy is to fully document your claim and provide all of the information requested by the insurance company in a timely manner. The more documentation you have, the more likely you’ll be reimbursed for the covered damage.
You should also thoroughly read your insurance policy and ask questions to be sure you understand what is and isn’t covered. It’s true that steel buildings tend to save money on your insurance costs over time versus similar framed sheds and outbuildings, but sometimes claims are inevitable.
While the need to submit an insurance claim for your metal building is unfortunate, we hope these tips help you recover your losses without a lot of hassle. Documenting the damage, reviewing your policy guidelines for claim submission deadlines, and providing the information requested by your insurance company will give you the best chance for a successful claim.
Need to replace a damaged metal building or carport?
Founded in 1999 and located in South Hill, Virginia, Newmart Builders specializes in durable and affordable metal buildings manufactured with American Steel. From carports and boat storage to garages and workshops, our certified metal buildings are built to withstand extreme wind and heavy snow loads and come with a full 20-year limited warranty. Browse our metal building selection or give us a call at 1-800 547-8480 to customize your building today!