DENVER -- The hail early Tuesday morning that bludgeoned everything in full bloom could be the start of yet another year of costly Colorado insurance claims.
"Our bedroom is right up on the top floor next to the roof and it sounded like the sky was falling on us,” said Dan Bynum who lives in Denver’s Wash Park neighborhood. “It was terrifying."
The storms overnight seemingly lined up one after another, and pounded the same neighborhoods over-and-over from about midnight to 6 a.m.
Now, experts are warning that hail season is also scam season in Colorado.
“We just had a case where a 96-year-old woman had a ‘roofer’ who took off with her insurance settlement without doing the work,” said Carole Walker, spokeswoman with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Center. “If last night's hail woke you up, it should be a wake-up call."
Walker says Colorado is ground zero for scammers because eight of the ten most costly storms in state history have hit in the past ten years.
"We're ranked second in the nation for hail insurance claims,” Walker said. “So unfortunately, Colorado tops those lists no one wants to be on. And it’s attracted a lot of these out-of-state storm chasers."
Experts say guarding against unscrupulous fly-by-night roofers starts with checking references.
"What the reputable roofers tells us is — they don't need to go door-to-door," Walker said. “We have a lot of resources where you can go to check them out. Make sure you're doing that. Word of mouth is still your best bet."
Also, Walker recommends coordinating with your insurance company.
And as for auto claims — take photos and research auto body repair shops before you sign any contracts.
"We've always been in hail alley, but we have more people living in the path of the hail now which means more roofs, more cars," Walker said. “Unfortunately, we're just getting going for hail season, so buckle your seat belts."
It’s also a good time to update your insurance. Walker said many of you may have a separate wind and hail deductible that is higher than your normal deductible, so use this as a wake-up call to figure out what coverage is best for you.
“That’s either a higher dollar deductible, or even higher percentage deductible on your property value, so just make sure you know what that deductible is, because it’s likely higher,” Walker said.