What you should know about hail damage to your roof shingles
Mother Nature can be a brutal parent. And, a hail storm is some of her worst punishment. Usually, hail comes down in small, harmless pellets, but sometimes those chunks of ice can be as large as golf balls or, even more terrifyingly, the size of a softball.
Storm damage from hail impacts and the high winds that usually accompany it may lead you to file a claim with your insurance company. Before you have an insurance adjuster come out though, be sure to have your roof inspected first by a roofing contractor.
A roofing company will know exactly how to find hail hits on your roof, gutters, and even your home’s siding. They can also give you an accurate estimate of how much it will be to replace or repair. And, even before you have a roofing contractor out, you should do as much investigation work as you can.
What you should do right after your roof suffers hail damage
If you are able and can do so safely, video or take pictures of the hail storm for evidence of the hail stone’s size. Larger hail is much more likely to cause damage even if it is not immediately apparent. So, the more evidence you have to show the insurance adjuster the nature of the incident, the better. Also, take note of the day, time, severity, and whatever noticeable damage there is.
What factors your roofing shingle material plays in how much damage it can sustain from hail
There are certain factors that make it more likely your roof will sustain damage from a severe storm with hail. The type of shingles being a strong component in whether or not you’ll need a roof replacement or repair.
Asphalt shingles are typically resilient to hail strikes. But even asphalt can become compromised. Shingles may show granular loss that exposes the felt underlayment. You may see random dents, soft spots, and it may look shiny in places. If this happens in more than a few areas, the life expectancy of your roof has been reduced.
Metal roofing shingles or metal standing seam roofs can dent during very heavy, large hail storms. Also, if it has a textured finish, it can rub off a bit. But, the great thing about a metal roof is the structure does not become compromised with time, meaning an older metal roof will still hold up against hail.
In fact, home insurance companies often give discounts in areas of the country that are particularly prone to hail damage if the home has a metal roof. Also, reputable metal roofing manufacturers often offer a warranty against damage to the metal’s finish.
Clay or concrete roofing tiles can last for one hundred years, but because they are brittle, they can crack and chip easily, especially from an impact. Luckily, if there was a recent hail storm and several of the tiles are now chipped and cracked, it should be fairly obvious to notice. The upside is clay or concrete can be repaired or replaced fairly well. The downside is clay tile repairs have to be done by a professional because they can break easily with pressure or if walked on wrong.
Wood shake shingles are probably the most vulnerable roofing material when it comes to hail’s wrath. The older and more weathered the wood shingle the more likely it is to split and sustain damage. And, unfortunately, it can be difficult to differentiate between flaws in the wood and damage due to hail, which may make it harder for an insurance claim to pay out. Wood shake is expensive to replace as well as difficult.
The slope of your roof also plays a part in how likely your roof is to sustain damage from hail. A lower angle roof tends to sustain more damage from a hail storm whereas a home with a steeply sloped roof is less likely to get banged up. This is because a steep slope will reduce the hailstones from ricocheting more as they hit the roofing material.
What to do if you do have damage to your property
There are a few things you should do as soon as possible if you have found damage to mitigate any more possible harm to your property.
- Tarp your roof if the hail caused damage that could leak, further harming the structure of your home.
- Board up any broken windows.
- Pay for temporary repairs if the consequence of not doing so will add more damage to your home.
- Save the larger, permanent repairs for the roofing contractor.
- Call your insurance company to file a claim ASAP. If a big storm hit your area, many other people will be doing the same thing. Who gets a new roof is on a first come-first serve basis. So, being quick about it will make sure you get your roof that season as opposed to next fall.
Working with your homeowners insurance company to file a claim
Don’t accept the first offer from the adjuster if it does not address the full scope of work needed. Ask for a second opinion if need be, or hire your own outside independent adjuster to help fight the subpar quote from your insurance company. And, like I said before, have a qualified contractor come out and give you a professional opinion of how much the needed repairs or replacement will cost.
Once the adjuster gives you an offer
- Make sure you have an idea of what insurance generally pays for that type of damage.
- Are there any local codes you need to be aware of before repairs begin?
- Did the adjuster quote you for everything with the idea it brings your house up to code if it wasn’t before?
- Did the adjuster take fair market value for your area into account?
What not to do
Do not fall prey to roaming contractors. These people chase storms looking for stressed-out homeowners. If a company doesn’t have a presence in your area where you can easily reach out to them, then don’t hire them for roofing repair work. They will most likely do shoddy work and be long gone when you try to have them come back to fix it. Only hire a local roofing company with a good reputation.
Partnering with a top-rated company to get the repairs done right the first time
Filing an insurance claim is right up there with a visit to the dentist on most people’s list, but being prepared helps to get you through it. Make sure you connect with a top-rated roofing contractor who is familiar with working with an insurance adjuster.