Consumer Advisory: Division of Insurance Shares Tips After Severe Hailstorm Pummels Eastern Colorado

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Vincent Plymell

Start the claims process, document the damage and ask questions.

DENVER - A strong hailstorm rolled through eastern Colorado on Monday, hitting the communities of Yuma, Wray, Akron and others. As spring turns into summer, hail is a common threat in our state, and with this recent storm, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is providing information for people with damaged homes or cars.

Tips for dealing with storm damage and insurance

  • Start the claim process - It is important to contact your insurance company or agent as soon as you can to begin the claim process. Contact the DOI if you need the contact information for your company or agent.
  • Document / mitigate the damage - If the damage to your home or car is extensive, when it is safe to do so, start taking photos and documenting the damage. Know that many companies allow you to submit photos when you file a claim. You should mitigate further damage by placing tarps on roofs, boarding up windows or placing plastic sheeting over windows or windshields, or covering cars, as appropriate.
  • Be aware of your deductibles for both home and auto - Remember that you are responsible for paying the deductible amount. Review your policy declarations to find out the deductibles. With homeowners’ insurance, many policies will have wind / hail deductibles that are a percentage of your coverage (for example, 1%, 2% or 5%). Damage to your automobiles is covered under your comprehensive coverage and is also subject to your deductible. If damage estimates are below your deductible, understand that the insurance company will not issue a payment.
  • Ask questions - After you file your claim, your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to work with you to assess the damage. Once the adjuster has completed their assessment, they will provide documentation of the loss to your insurance company to determine your claims settlement. Be sure to ask the claims adjuster for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer. If there is a disagreement about the claim settlement, ask the company for the specific language in the policy that is in question. If this disagreement results in a claim denial, make sure you obtain a written letter explaining the reason for the denial and the specific policy language under which the claim is being denied.
  • Don't rush into a settlement - If the first offer made by an insurance company does not meet your expectations, be prepared to negotiate to get a fair settlement. If you have any questions regarding the value of your claim, seek professional advice - for example, obtain several quotes from contractors.
  • Public Adjusters - After a severe storm such as this, you may be contacted by public adjusters. Public adjusters are licensed by the DOI and work on behalf of a consumer and often charge a percentage of the claim amount. The fee is agreed upon in the contract between the public adjuster and the consumer. You are not required to hire a public adjuster, but if you do, make sure they are licensed, check references and if possible, hire a Colorado-based adjuster. And always take the time to carefully read any contracts. 
  • Protect Yourself from Roofing Fraud - In the wake of a hail or wind storm, roofing contractors and other construction contractors start door-to-door sales or phone solicitations. Be careful working with anyone who has contacted you in this way. Check references, work with Colorado-based contractors when possible, get everything in writing and read contracts carefully. Find more information at the Better Business Bureau’s site Protect yourself from "storm chasers" after a natural disaster.
  • Estimates for repair costs can change - Remember, the first estimate for repairs is not always the final estimate. Contractors or body repair shops may often find additional damage once repairs begin. In these cases, it is important to provide additional information about this damage to your insurer before allowing repair work to continue. The insurer will review and issue a supplement if approved. Improvements or repair work for damage that was not part of the storm will not be covered. 
  • Contact the DOI – While your claims need to be filed with your insurance company, the DOI can assist consumers with questions about insurance and the claims process. Contact the DOI Consumer Services Team at: 303-894-7490 / / (click on “File a Complaint”).

Know what’s in your policy
Because it is summer in Colorado, we can expect more severe weather. It is important to become familiar with your homeowners’ insurance policy and know what’s in your policy. Ask your company or agent if there is anything you don’t understand. Also, review your policy and coverage limits annually to make sure the policy keeps pace with your needs and construction costs in your area. The worst time to figure all of this out is when you need to file a claim, especially if you’re dealing with major damage.

Visit the Division’s website “Are You Disaster Ready?” for more information about how you can be better prepared for disasters and severe weather events.


About the Division of Insurance:

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745

About DORA:

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 800-886-7675

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