Albuquerque, N.M., May 16, 2011 - If you look around you'll see Mother Nature's gifts everywhere, with seasonal flowers in bloom and more warm days in the forecast. But Mother Nature has mood swings, which can sometimes look more like Mommy Dearest-unpredictable.
Nationally, damages caused by wind and hail cost State Farm and its policyholders more than $3.2 billion in 2010.
Here are some important considerations as you prepare for Mother Nature's next tantrum.
Heading Off Hail Damage
If weather conditions are prime for hailstorms, pull cars, boats, RVs, lawn and patio furniture into a covered area.
When building or remodeling, consider impact resistant roofing to reduce hail damage to your home. State Farm currently offers insurance premium discounts to New Mexican homes with qualifying impact resistant roofing products.
If You Experience Hail Damage
Work with your insurance agent or claims adjustor to fully understand the claims process and how covered repairs will be handled. State Farm customers who have reported a loss can expect to be contacted by a claim representative who will review your policy and explain your coverage, outline the claim process, and answer questions.
If anyone visits your home without an appointment and professes to represent your insurer, ask for identification and contact your insurer to confirm before allowing access.
Look for an established, licensed or bonded roofer and request references. Not all jurisdictions require licensing of roofing contractors.
Ask to see certificates of insurance to be sure both liability and workers compensation insurance coverage is carried, and are in force during the time the roofing work is being done.
Insist on a detailed, written estimate clearly stating the quantity of materials needed (labor charges; work specifications) which include approximate starting and completion dates; payment procedures and that any necessary building permits are secured.
Never sign over your insurance proceeds to the contractor before the work is done and you're satisfied with the quality of the job.
Carefully review and understand any warranty and watch for conditions that would void it.
Use caution (ask questions) before accepting a bid substantially lower than other bids covering the same repair work.
Contact your local Better Business Bureau to check for complaints filed against the contractor.
You may also contact your National Roofing Contractors Association for assistance in locating a professional contractor in a specific geographic area at 1-800-USA-ROOF or 1-800-872-7663 or go to www.nrca.net.
State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. State Farm's 17,700 agents and 68,600 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 78.7 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.9 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com® or in Canada statefarm.ca®.