I have some advice for you if you’re concerned about possible hail damage to your home. And it may surprise you: Don’t call your insurance company’s claims department. Call your insurance agent instead. For most of you reading this, that’s me.

Here’s why I suggest you start with your agent instead of your insurance company’s claims department.

Your insurance company’s claims department will open a claim that can never be closed, even if you don’t have damage or have so little damage you decide you don’t want to file a claim.

If you have too many claims — even zero payout claims — your insurance could be non-renewed and it will be more difficult for you to find new insurance.

It may not be easy to simply change companies. And your rates may go up even if you do because most insurance companies report home, landlord and renter claims to the CLUE Report, a centralized database that keeps a record of all claims on a property and all claims by an individual. You want to keep your CLUE Report clean by avoiding unnecessary claims.  If you’re interested in a free CLUE report on yourself and your property, we’d be glad to get that for you at no cost.

If you think your house may have been damaged by hail, call your local agent, not your claim center or your insurance company’s 800 number.

Your agent will know reputable local roofers who will have a good idea about what type of damage would be “claim worthy.” And they’ll help you with your claim, if they determine you have enough hail damage to warrant a claim.

If you don’t have a local agent, give my office a call at 303-922-1001. We’ll be glad to help. And we can refer you to one of our trusted referral partners.

An added bonus: If you do have enough hail damage to warrant getting your roof replaced, you may qualify for a significant discount on you homeowner’s policy because of the new roof.