Roof hail damage is no joke – and it’s not always clear whether you have it, whether your insurance will cover it, or what the best next steps are. Your insurance company may offer suggestions, but are they right, and do they have your best interests in mind? It can be hard to know. So there are a few things you can do on your own to ensure you get the best coverage and repairs you need.
First, you need to know how to identify hail damage. Here are some tell-tale signs that you can document before filing an insurance claim.
Your shingles‘ first protective layer is a layer of fine granules that keep the fiberglass mat safe underneath. If these granules are broken off by hail or other debris, it leaves the next layer of your shingles exposed and vulnerable. Without granules, your shingles are at risk of leaking.
To know whether or not you have granule loss, you can look for changes in color or the texture on the surface of your shingles. It may just look like some dime-sized spots on a few shingles because of the darker layer underneath showing through. Also, if enough granules slough off, they can actually clog your gutters and prevent adequate rainwater flow.
Cracks or Dents in the Shingles
You should be able to quickly see any cracks, dents, or other damage to your shingles by looking at the flat surface. Because of how uniform your shingles are, even the slightest damage should stand out in the form of discoloration or uneven surface from cracked or lifted shingles.
And, of course, missing shingles will be a much more obvious sign of hail damage. The hail can loosen their seal so much that strong winds can easily lift your shingles and blow them off or partially off of your roof.
Only check for this damage if you can safely do so. In most cases, you can tell from the ground, or by using a ladder to look over the edge, leaving no need to climb up on the roof. Never attempt to climb up on the roof without proper safety equipment—always call the pros!
What Happens When You Ignore Your Damaged Roof?
Many homeowners may think that just because the hail didn’t bust a hole through their roof, or they didn’t lose any shingles, that the damage is minor, and you can take your time to repair it. This is not the case. The longer you put off repairing any hail damage on your roof, the more susceptible you become to leaks and other damage. The second your shingles are damaged is the second it loses its integrity to protect your home against the elements.
Ignoring your damaged roof can lead to:
- Mold and mildew growth underneath your shingles and protective mat underneath.
- Water leaks into your attic and upper floor of your home.
- The next time a storm comes through, loose or cracked shingles can end up furthering the damage to your roof.
- Loss of granules can clog your gutters, making them less efficient.
- Waiting might affect your chances of getting insurance to cover repairs.
- If your shingles have a warranty, waiting could mean that warranty running out.
When it comes to hail damage on your roof, we always suggest homeowners take fast action and start an insurance claim. We asked 7 roofing and exterior experts what they think homeowners should do and look out for when it comes to hail damage on their roof. Here’s what they had to say:
“Don’t fall into the trap of ‘Get three quotes.’ It’s extremely difficult to know whether you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to contractor quotes. Instead, hire a contractor that is qualified to audit your insurance adjuster’s estimate and work with you to make sure your restoration is thorough and complete with warranties backed by the product manufacturers.”
Jon Roise, Owner
Capital Exteriors Inc. in Bismarck, ND
“The first thing for homeowners to do that I recommend is to call a local roofing company well known in their area to come look for damage. Have them take pictures if any damage is found. Temporarily seal any place that could leak and take photos. Tarp the roof. The contrator should show owner and have them call in a claim – Give agent [the roofer’s] contact information for the adjuster. Then we all meet there. The contractor shows their picture and looks at the rest of the house including the siding, window, and roof.”
Mike Hansen, Owner
Mike Hansen Roofing in North Mankato, MN
“When a homeowner thinks that their home may have storm damage, they should call a licensed, professional roofing contractor with a proven track record with hail damage. Most roofing companies provide free inspections, and if damage is found, your specialist will furnish a detailed estimate and work very closely with your insurance provider to make your home’s roof as good as new.”
Robert Maddox, Owner
Hahn Roofing in Spencer, IA
“Most people do not want to get up on their roof so I always tell people to walk around and look at the metal on their house, like gutters/downspouts, window wraps, and siding corners. These items are pretty soft metal and will give you a sense of the size and velocity of the hail. The roofing will hold up a lot better than these metals so if they’re not that bad then your roof is probably ok and likewise if those items are totally hammered then the roof is likely gone too. It’s always best to call a contractor first because of how insurance companies look at and rate you as a customer. Opening claims is like getting speeding tickets – you don’t want them if you can help it because they will affect your rates. If they come out and deny your claim, the fact that you opened one is still like a big red mark on your history. Many people have an attitude that ‘I pay for it and darn it I’m going to it…’ That’s true but walk around your house first and see what you can see, then call a contractor. There are always a lot around after hail. After that, call your insurance when you’ve gotten a strong sense of your situation and confirmation you’ve got some significant damage.
Christian Dietz, Owner
Raintite Roofing LLC in Rapid City, SD
“1. First and foremost if a storm breaks windows or skylight you should always board them up to prevent any further damage. If you can’t do this yourself call family, friends, neighbors, or a contractor for help.
2. If the storm was very severe you can go ahead and contact your insurance company right away. You will need the date of the storm handy as your insurance company will ask for this. I would also contact your contractor and have them meet with the adjustor that way any discrepancies in damaged items can be talked through onsite right away.
3. If the storm seemed less severe I would still have your property inspected but this time by a ‘trusted’ contractor. The best contractors for these inspections are the ones who advertise that they specialize in hail damage repair. Most of these contractors use the same standards in looking for hail damage that the insurance adjusters use. They should tell you if your roof, siding, gutters, and more look damaged to the point of needing to be replaced. They will also walk you through what to expect next and give you direction on how to proceed further.”
Chad Enger, Owner
Black Hills Exteriors in Rapid City, SD
“If you think you could possibly have wind or hail damage to your roof after a storm you should contact a local roofing company that is accredited by the BBB. You need to schedule an appointment with that company for someone to come out and do an inspection/evaluation of your roof. You want a roofer that will help you file an insurance claim if you have damage and that person should help you along the process from beginning (making claim) to end (putting your new roof on and requesting final payment from insurance).”
Josh Henry, Roofing Sales and Insurance Specialist
Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. in Louisville, KY
“Homeowners should contact an experienced licensed and insured reputable roofing contractor with a good past history of working with insurance companies. Ask family and friends for recommendations or Google ‘insurance repair contractors’.”
Robert Ford, Owner
Ford Roofing Service in Baldwin, LA
There you go – thank you for checking out “7 Experts on What to Do Right Away When You Have Hail Damage.” We hope these tips have been helpful, and always choose a trusted, local contractor to ensure the best possible quality service on your home, your biggest investment!