Residents in northern Louisiana, Shreveport in particular, recently experienced a severe storm that brought significant amounts of hail to the area. Although hail is not as pressing of a threat in Louisiana as it is on the Great Plains (a region that is dubbed “Hail Alley” by the Weather Channel), the damage it causes should still not be taken lightly.
The effects of hail are not always obvious to the casual observer. In extreme cases, hail can destroy structures, break windows, and leave behind unmistakable wreckage. When a hail storm is not so clearly destructive, however, it can damage buildings in such a way that homeowners may not see the need for repairs. Roof damage that results from hail is especially hazardous, because it can cause leaks, structural problem, depreciate a home’s value, and it may not appear serious. Photographs of roofs after a hail storm illustrate how shingles, after being peppered with hail, sometimes show nothing more than small circular dents or marks. A homeowner may not notice this damage, or assume that it does not warrant further inspection.
Homeowner’s insurance policies in Louisiana do not always include hail damage, which is usually a subsidiary of “wind damage” in policies. If this is the case, such coverage can be purchased separately at extra cost. The costliness of this extra insurance may be exacerbated by insurance companies’ treatment of hail damage claims. In Louisiana, deductibles may be percentage based rather than flat rate, corresponding to the home’s value and, more often than not, burdening the homeowner with a more substantial out of pocket deductible.