Hailstorms can cause serious damage to a roof. The damage from a hailstone can bruise or crack roofing shingles, potentially leading to water damage in your home. While you can’t always avoid roof damage from hail, you can help to minimize the damage by detecting problems early, taking action to repair or replace your damaged roof as quickly as possible, and installing a hail resistant roofing that could also help you save on your home insurance.
How Do You Know If you Roof Has Been Damaged by Hail?
In the aftermath of a hailstorm, it’s important to get your roof checked for damage by a roofing contractor. Hail falls in random patterns and directions and therefore may only damage a few houses within a neighborhood, so your roof may have damage even if your next-door neighbor’s roof doesn’t.
Look for signs of hail damage around your property, such as:
Trees stripped of their leaves
Dents in cars
Dented air conditioner units, or
Damage to other exterior furnishings
Get a Roof Inspection for Hail Damage
It is very difficult to spot some types of roof damage from the ground, so you’ll want to get on to the surface of the roof as soon as possible for a complete inspection. We recommend scheduling an inspection with a roofing contractor that you trust to thoroughly inspect your roof. Most roofing contractors provide inspections and estimates. If you do decide to inspect the roof yourself, please follow all appropriate safety measures.
Surface and Sub Surface Hail Damage
The first type of damage you want to look for is damage to the surface of your roof. If you have asphalt shingles, you may notice the following signs of damage after a hailstorm:
Round black areas
Loss of protective granules, which may collect in gutters and downspouts
Not all hail damage can be seen on the surface of a roofing shingle. Sometimes the impact from a hailstone can cause shingles to split and can only be seen when you look at the backside of the roof shingles.
It’s best to call a roofing contractor to assist with your inspection, as they can lift up, examine and re-seal shingles as needed. A professional roofing contractor will also assess other roofing components for damage, such as flashings, vents, skylights, gutters, and chimney caps or flashings.
Imitation Hail Damage on a Roof
It’s important to correctly identify the type of roof damage so the best plan can be put into place, which may involve warranty and insurance claims. An experienced roofing contractor should be able to differentiate hail damage from other types of damage, such as
Normal deterioration caused by UV degradation from the sun,
Scuffing damage from when shingles were installed
Once the damage is identified, your roofing contractor can provide an estimate and advise on the next steps to getting your roof repaired or replaced. It is Necessary to Fix Roof Hail Damage.
If your roof has been damaged by hail, it can be difficult to understand whether the damage is only cosmetic or if it could also impact roof performance. If hail damage is allowing water to pass through your roofing system, then this is a performance issue and should be fixed as soon as possible to help prevent serious water damage to your home.
If hail damage has caused granule loss on your roof shingles, it could also affect the performance of the shingle, in addition to the aesthetics. Granules on asphalt shingles help to protect the asphalt from UV light degradation caused by the sun. While you may not have a roof leak right away, shingles that have lost granules have a higher risk of failing prematurely.
Is Roof Hail Damage Covered by your Insurance?
Most insurance policies will cover hail damage, but it’s best to study your policy in-depth, especially if you live in a region prone to hailstorms. Some of the common stipulations associated with hail related insurance claims include:
Homeowners usually have within one year to file a claim.
Most policies require a deductible payment before the insurance company pays its share.
Filing a claim may cause your premium rates to rise.
The claim could be pro rated on the age of the existing roof.
Cosmetic roof hail damage may not be covered.
Contact your insurance broker to learn more.
Tips on Handling Hail Damage Claims
Always get references, read reviews, and compare estimates before selecting a contractor . It’s also best to take the time to verify certificates of insurance and licensing if required in your area.
Notify your insurance company immediately to open a claim. Some companies have mobile apps and online tools to ease the filing process, but you can always call in, as well.
If your contractor agrees to work with your insurance company, make sure you understand in detail what each will do and what steps are required by you.