Strong winds, flying debris, and wind-driven hail cause the most damage to the exterior of your home. If your home’s exterior siding has suffered damaged caused by wind, you probably have many questions — both for your insurance company and for the contractor you select to get the damaged siding replaced.
Wind-Damaged Vinyl Siding
Even though it’s durable, low maintenance and attractive, vinyl siding can be seriously damaged during a storm. Splits, cracks, chips, breaks and holes can all be signs of storm damage — both from the wind itself and also from flying debris and wind-driven hail. Some types of damage warrant immediate attention. If your siding is broken or has holes in it, it is no longer protecting your home from the elements and you need to get it inspected by a reliable contractor as quickly as possible.
Wind-Damaged Aluminum Siding
If you have aluminum siding, the most common signs of storm damage are dings and dents in the siding. In a severe storm, it is common for pieces of aluminum siding to be ripped off entirely. If your home has been hit by a hailstorm and there doesn’t appear to be damage at first glance, you’ll want to inspect your aluminum siding closely when the sun is low in the sky either in the early morning, or late evening, which will make the damage easier to see.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my homeowners insurance rates go up if I file a claim? Homeowner’s insurance is not based off of your individual home record, unlike the way auto insurance rates are based on your driving record. Insurance actuaries look at the hundreds of thousands of homes in an area and then determine risk. For “Act of God” accuracies like wind, storm and hail damage they will not raise your individual rate whether you call or not.
How do I find the best contractor to replace my siding? First, be sure to avoid out of town storm chasing companies. They offer a great rate, but when the work is done, they leave for the next storm. These companies often take short-cuts on the job because they bank on never having to see you again. Find a local company that has been in business a long time, can provide references, knows what they are doing and can actually help you with your insurance claim.
How many estimates do I need before filing my claim? Many homeowners think they need at least three estimates to submit to the insurance company when all they really need is one. Find a contractor who can work with your insurance agent to ensure the claim is complete, covers all the damage-related costs, and protects you against fraud
What if only one side of my home was damaged? When the damage occurs to just one side of a home’s exterior, homeowners are left with the problem of matching replacement siding to the color and material of the existing siding. Call a reputable contractor who uses the same software as the insurance company to get an estimate of the damage before making an insurance claim. If there are no available options to match your home’s existing siding, your contractor can help make sure that you don’t have to settle for an option that doesn’t match. For example, your policy could include an extra provision, known as an endorsement, for re-siding the whole house, even if only one area sustained damage.
Can I upgrade to premium vinyl siding for my replacement? Vinyl’s durability and affordability give it an edge over aluminum. Unlike aluminum, vinyl doesn’t dent, chip or rub off on your clothes because the color is solid throughout the material, not sprayed on. Also, vinyl costs about a third less than aluminum siding. If you have wind-damaged aluminum siding, you most likely have the option of switching to premium vinyl because insurance companies must pay for the value of aluminum.
With the increased frequency of extreme weather events over the past few years, homeowners around the country are seeing damage to their home’s siding. Apart from looking unsightly, siding damage leaves the underlying wood on your home vulnerable to rot, when then leads to much larger problems. It’s important to take immediate steps to protect your home. If necessary, install tarps to keep water out while you are in the process of getting a claim filed. Most homeowners insurance policies cover the expense of having a contractor install tarps and other protective measures while you are sorting out your claim.