With Spring showers comes hail, and with hail roof damage often follows. During this stormy spring, buyers and sellers can skip headaches by paying extra attention to the weather prior to closing. This way an otherwise smooth transaction won’t end up dented as a result of hail damage.
How can you protect yourself from hail when there is no way to erect a giant, impenetrable bubble over a home?
Unfortunately, no one can avoid the immediate harm caused by hail – often damaged shingles – but buyers and sellers can avoid complications arising from discovering the hail damage after closing by taking a few simple steps. First, pay attention to the weather. You don’t have follow your favorite weatherman’s twitter account (unless you’re contemplating becoming a storm chaser), but you want to know if hail-producing storms have hit the home’s neighborhood. Second, if storms have hit the home’s neighborhood, both buyers and sellers should examine the roof for hail damage prior to closing. If there is damage, the seller and buyer will need to address how they wish to proceed.
If your purchase/sale contract is on the KCRAR forms used by most real estate agents in the area, the form requires the seller to keep the property fully insured until closing and notify buyer of any damages in writing within 24 hours. The form contract further provides each party with options as to how they wish to proceed when damage is discovered prior to closing. In a nutshell, if the damage is minor, the seller can elect to replace or repair the damage. If the damage is not minor or the seller elects not to repair minor damage, the contract provides the buyer with two options.
The first option is to cancel the contract and walk away. The second option is to continue with the purchase. If the buyer chooses to purchase, buyer can require seller to pay seller’s insurance deductible and assign seller’s insurance proceeds to buyer. Alternatively, if the parties agree on the cost of repairs, buyer can require seller to pay that amount. In both variations of the second option, the buyer can oversee repairs after closing.
While this may seem cumbersome, discovering hail damage post-closing can take frustration to an entirely new level for all parties involved. If the hail damage occurred prior to closing, typically the insurance policy in place at the time of damage would provide coverage. Insurance companies for both parties, however, may end up involved.
For more information on or to talk to an experienced insurance agent, contactTroy Jefferson (Johnson County & surrounding areas) or Melinda Kluck (Jackson County & surrounding areas) at Reece & Nichols Insurance for advice today. Both agents also service Cass and Clay Counties in Missouri.
Amy Ringsdorf, Corporate Counsel/Vice President