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Hail Damage Fraud

Hail damage claims were up 407% between 2008 and 2009, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.  Even if there was a large surge in actual hailstorms, that number still seems fishy.

Stories of hail damage fraud has been common in the news  This roofer in Indiana was accused of “dime spinning,” having his employees intentionally damage the roof to look like hail damage.  The roofers used coins to scrape the shingles or create indentations.  The Georgia Insurance information Service has a video clip warning against roofers that go door to door, claiming that your house has hail damage, and that your insurance company will pay the roofer to replace it.  If you have actual hail damage on your roof, it is likely that you will see hail damage on cars, siding, window ledges or other items on the property.

How can you recognize fake “hail damage?”

Look closely at the hail marks.  If there are metal scrapes in the hail indentation, it was probably created by something metal, like a ball peen hammer, instead of a piece of ice.

Look at the size and location of the hail.  If the hail dentations are uniformly the same size, it is probably that a rock or a golf ball inside of a sock created them.  If there is a definite pattern to the hail damage, it is probably fake.  If a car has hail damage on the roof, only in spots reachable by an arm, it is probably fake.  Hail storms travel in certain directions.  It is unlikely that the west side of a property would have hail damage if the storm traveled in an east to west direction.  The National Weather Service has records of storms, hailstone size and wind direction.

Look closely again at the hail marks.  Is there oxidation or dirt buildup in the spot?  Then it is probably not recent.  Check the property to see if any previous hail claims were filed.

Preventing hail damage fraud saves money for both insurance companies and property owners.

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