Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hail storm

March 2009

There was a major hail storm on 25 March. Lauren collected some of the hail stones from around the house. They were quite literally the size of golf balls. My visual inspection didn't show major damage. A lot of small tree limbs and leaves. But both cars were in the garage (mine was still at work); no skylights broken.

There was damage to our photo-voltaic solar system -- one panel (out of 24) has a large white area of damage.

I went up on the roof and checked for obvious damage and didn't see any. But I did notice that the roof vents were being chewed on by squirrels, so I needed a roofer to come repair/replace those. So I called my roofer, Drury Roofing, to take a look.

I also tried to find the company that installed the solar system, but they no longer seem to be in Austin. I tracked down the person who used to be in charge of their Austin work, Kenny Grigar, who is now with another Austin company (Green City Austin), and was able to talk to him. He had me e-mail pictures of the damage.

Kenny said that someone would be out to check on the system on Saturday 4 April, from 10 to 12, but no one showed up. I've been leaving phone messages daily but am not getting any response.

The roofer finally came out tho, on Monday 6 April. It will run $200 to $600 to repair the roof vents. But he also showed me significant damage to the roof. It's not visible if you don't know what to look for, but once he showed me, I could both
understand the damage and find it myself. He said that it will show up more as time goes by.

So I called my insurance agent, State Farm, and they said they would submit a claim and have an adjuster come out, probably not for a week (given the heavy load).

Weds, April 8, I got a call from Mike at State Farm. He had an opening from 10 to 12 on Tuesday 14th. I called back and left a message that included my cell phone number and work number with the mention that I am only 10 minutes away from home and would like to be there.

PostScript: The adjuster from State Farm walked around on the roof and pointed out the same sorts of problems that the roofer had pointed out. He declared the roof "totaled". We will need to replace the roof, the gutters, everything. The damage may not be obvious now, but in a couple of months or years it will show up. He wrote us a check for the damage on the spot. We have two years to replace the roof. Given that it still looks in good shape, and there may be more hail, or other problems, I figure we will wait until there is less roofing frenzy in the neighborhood.

Another point. To reduce the cost of our home insurance, we talked last year (just about a year ago, yup!) and raised the deductible to 2% of the value of the house. We pay the first 2%; State Farm covers anything over that (to the amount that the house is insured for). Replacement cost for the house is apparently $550,000, so we will pay the first $11,000 to replace the roof. (I also switched to a high-deductible medical insurance plan, since I for years have had no major medical issues. Sure enough; skin cancer, diagnosed at about the same time as the hail storm. Probably from working outside on the house and yard in the Texas sun.)