How to Prepare for Storm Season in Colorado
Colorado’s Hail Season Begins in April
Storm season in Colorado is one of the longest and most severe in the country. From about mid-April to mid-August, we are wracked by thunderstorms that can bring damaging winds, lightning, and hail.
Hailstones, in particular, can cause significant damage to your property. Colorado’s Front Range forms the heart of what is known to meteorologists as “Hail Alley.” Along with Wyoming and Nebraska, we see an average of 7-9 days of hail per season. That may not seem like a lot, but it is significantly higher than the rest of the nation.
In addition to having more frequent storms, Colorado is also likely to experience between 3 and 4 catastrophic hail events. A storm is labeled “catastrophic” when it causes more than $25 million in damage. According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association, hail damage in Colorado has accounted for over $5 billion in insurance claims in the last ten years.
With storm season rapidly approaching, you will want to do everything you can to prepare. While there is nothing you can do to prevent the hail from coming, you can certainly take steps to limit damage to your property.
1. Check Your Insurance
While a majority of homeowners insurance policies in Colorado include coverage related to hail storms, it never hurts to double check. Review your policy carefully or speak with someone at your insurance company to verify exactly what your plan does and does not cover.
You may also want to review your auto insurance policy. If you do not have comprehensive coverage, damage caused by hail is not covered.
2. Get a Roof Inspection
If your roof is in bad shape before a hailstorm hits, you could be stuck with a lot more damage and may even have to foot the bill. Homeowners insurance does not cover damage that occurs due to age or lack of routine maintenance. For example, an insurer may deny a full replacement after a hail storm for a roof that was already in poor condition.
Have a professional, local roofer inspect your home at least once per year. They can identify any repairs needed and suggest materials to provide additional protection against severe weather, such as impact-resistant shingles.
3. Reinforce Outdoor Furniture and Windows
Thunderstorms bring high winds capable of lifting objects as heavy as tables, chairs, benches, and gardening equipment. Make sure equipment is stowed away and lighter furniture is bolted down.
You will also want to make sure you reinforce your windows either with storm shutters or impact-resistant glass.
4. Prune Trees
Flying tree branches can cause severe damage to your roof and windows. Make sure your trees are pruned to remove any dead or dying branches, which are more likely to break off in a storm. If an entire tree appears to be dying, it is a good idea to have it cut down.
5. Watch the Weather
Keep an eye on the weather forecast. On the day of a predicted thunderstorm:
- Bring all animals and children inside
- Close all windows and shutters
- Take down patio decorations like wind chimes, birdhouses, or holiday items
- Bring in potted plants
- Unplug all appliances*
- Make sure your car is parked in the garage. If you do not have a garage, cover the windshield with a large piece of cardboard or heavy blankets.
*While rare, lightning that strikes near a local electric pole can cause a surge in electricity flowing through the power lines, effectively frying any appliances plugged into it.
What if My Roofing Claim Was Denied?
If your roof was damaged in a hail storm, you have 365 days to file your claim. If you have filed your claim in a timely manner and your roofing claim was still denied, it is a good idea to consult with an insurance attorney.
A qualified insurance lawyer will be able to help you determine if your claim was unjustly denied and guide you through the appeals process. He or she can also decide if you should pursue legal action against an insurance company for instances of bad faith.
David Roth is a top insurance attorney in Denver. He has helped hundreds of policyholders navigate their claims and receive a fair settlement. Contact our office or go online today to schedule your free consultation.