If your area has recently experienced a hail storm, you may see obvious signs of damage, like pings on your car and dents in your siding. But hail can also cause significant damage to your home’s roof, and often, it’s not so obvious. Every year, the cost of repairing hail damage in the United States averages about $1 billion, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Insidious in nature and not always visually evident, hail damage can dramatically shorten the lifespan of your roof. A significant percentage of roofs that are hit by hail never get replaced, because homeowners don’t see the damage. But if the damage is there, your insurance company will most likely pay to replace your entire roof, gutters and siding, provided it’s correctly assessed and that you act quickly to ensure your claim is filed within their limited claim period.
Hail Damage: What to Look For
Insurance adjusters will require the opinion of a professional roofing contractor before they will approve the roof repair/replacement, but there are a few basic things you can look for that will indicate hail damage to your roof. Remember to be careful and, if you suspect your roof is damaged, contact a trained professional for verification.
Depending on the size of the hail that fell, the damage may be more or less obvious:
- Less than 1 inch: When smaller than an inch, or about the size of a quarter, hail can inflict damage to asphalt roofing. Damage to a roof from hail this size can be more difficult to identify. A trained roofing inspector can accurately identify any hail damage.
- 1 – 2 inches: If the size is between 1 and 2 inches, or between the size of a quarter and an egg, hail damage should be more easily found on the asphalt shingles themselves as well as any soft metal on the roof.
- Greater than 2 inches: Any hail greater than 2 inches will almost always cause some level of hail damage to an asphalt roof. Contact your preferred roofing contractor for a full assessment of damages and notify the insurance company.
Susceptible Areas on Your Roof
Check these susceptible areas on your roof for immediate signs of hail damage:
- Soft metal: Check roof vents, skylights, flashing, metal valleys and any other soft metal on the roof. Soft metal damage will not only show signs of hail, but also indicate the size of the hail that damaged the roof.
- Ridges: Ridges are more susceptible to damaging hail hits regardless of the direction from which the hailstorm came.
- Shingles: Check not only the interior of an individual shingle, but also the edges where it is weak.
Signs of Hail Damage
- Missing shingle granules: Check for missing granules that have exposed the substrate, or black layer underneath them. The substrate exposed should look fresh, or not as if it has been exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. This will indicate new hail damage as opposed to anything preexisting.
- Bruising: Run your hand over an individual shingle and feel for dimples or indentations in it. These are an indication of hail hits. Press your thumb against the indentation and examine for a soft spongy feel, like a bruised tomato. This bruising may be hidden, but will cause the shingle to fail prematurely over time.
- Circular cracking: When big enough, hailstones can cause circular cracking around the hit itself in a half-moon or full circle shape. This sort of cracking indicates larger hail and a shingle that has been damaged through to the fiberglass matting, which can make it highly susceptible to water penetration.
Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor
It’s important to choose a professional contractor that has an in-depth knowledge of the claims process, what is covered, what is excluded, and how to help prevent you from spending more than your deductible out-of-pocket. You also want to be sure your roofing contractor is not a “storm chaser”, and has an established business in your area, and can provide references and a written guarantee. A contractor with extensive experience in identifying and fixing storm-damaged roofs will also make sure that everything on your insurance claim is clearly and specifically identified as legitimate hail damage, so that you’re protected against insurance fraud and its heavy penalties.
If you suspect your roof may have been damaged in a hail storm and you are in the D.C. or Baltimore MD Metro area, contact us at Modern Remodeling. We have worked throughout the region with thousands of happy customers and know how to deal with claims for hail damage.