What The Hail?
Last year, hail and high-speed winds caused around $15 billion in damages in the United States alone. This accounted for about 40% of insurance claims and led to hundreds of damaged homes.
Talk about a lot of money.
Now without your insurance, hail damage can quickly add up. After all, it affects just about anything outside: your car, your windows, your roof, etc. While something like a broken window or dented car are obvious signs of damage, it’s the small, unnoticeable damages from hail that take a trained eye to seek out and determine if any sort of roof repair is needed.
It’s important to know when and where to check for hail damage after a storm so you can best use your insurance to repair any damages.
What does hail damage do to a roof?
This depends on a combination of factors: hail size, wind speed, wind direction, material of roof, age of materials and slope all have an affect on the possible damage that occurs during a hail storm.
Damage can be functional or cosmetic, but it’s the cosmetic damage that’s sometimes underestimated in it’s severity. Things like broken edges, bruises, punctures and granule loss can cause serious complications, though they may seem cosmetic at first.
To dive a little more into how hail damage affects a roof, let’s look at some specific types of damage:
- Granules are the sandpaper-like part of the shingle. When a shingle loses granules, its asphalt coating is exposed to the elements — leading to accelerated aging. You can use your gutters and downspouts to see if any granules have come off your roof.
Cracks in the shingles
- Hard hail impacts or high winds can grip the shingles and cause cracks. This can lead to exposure and tears, leaving your roof bare without protection from the weather.
- Hail impact can shatter the shingles surfacing, causing it to break away from the fiberglass mat underneath.
Fractured fiberglass mat
- Fractured fiberglass can be little harder to detect, and usually requires a trained eye. A fractured fiberglass mats can result in tears and cracks from a point of hail impact.
- High winds and hail can cause the seal integrity of your shingles to weaken. This is what causes a shingle to blow off and can leave your roof extremely exposed to the elements.
Once a shingle is damaged, the integrity has been compromised. This can lead to leaks or tearing of other shingles around it. What looks like a minor issue can quickly turn into a serious problem for the homeowner and a costly repair.
Knowing what these common damages are, it’s now important to know whether they are affecting your home.
How do I know if I have hail damage?
The first place to look is your gutters. High-impact hail that causes roof damage will most likely dent your gutters and/or downspouts. This is the easiest place to see and evaluate when looking for signs of roof damage. If there are dents and dings, you’re likely to have problems on the roof.
Gutters will also fill up and clog due to shingle granules from the impact of hail. Clogged and overflowing gutters is another indicator of hail damage that may have damaged your roof but not the gutters.
The second place we suggest looking is your siding or deck. Both of these materials will experience damage from a bad hailstorm and are easy indicators for your shingles. Any damage found from hail on these materials means you should get a roof inspection.
What size of hail causes roof damage?
After a hailstorm, the size of the hail can be the easiest indicator as to what damages you may face. While not a foolproof way to judge storm damage, understanding the various sizes of hail and how they affect your home is a great place to start.
Thought the smallest hail we measure, ¾” hail can be the most damaging hail depending on the winds accompanying. It typically damages vinyl siding, window screens, metal fascia and paint on a deck. We also see it dislodge granules off asphalt shingles and damage gutters/downspouts. Because of its size, property owners fail to identify the damages associated.
Once we hit the 1” mark, we start to see bruising to shingle undermating and significant damage to siding, gutters and fascia. Wind speeds will determine the severity of damage and you will also see similar damage compared to smaller sizes of hail.
With only a ¼” increase, the severity of hail is much more significant. Parts of your property exposed to hail has the potential to “look” like swiss cheese. Without wind, we’ll even see this hail cause damage by simply falling out of the sky.
This size of hail combined with wind (or without) causes significant damage to a property. Depending on the amount of hail and the length of time it falls, you’ll have to seriously evaluate damages around your property.
1¾ - 2” Hail
Now we’re getting to the size where the hail can penetrate softer parts of a roof, such as ridge caps or plastic roof vents. Combined with wind, this size of hail can tear siding completely off of a house, crack windows and damage most types of metal.
Anything this size or above will cause significant and severe damage to your property. We are no longer operating on “if” you have property damage, but “where” you have property damage. It’s suggested that you call a contractor with insurance experience immediately after this type of storm event.
What does hail damage look like on shingles?
While these are the common types of damage we see on asphalt shingles, harder materials like clay or concrete can be cracked or even shattered by hail. This type of damage will be easy to see, but when we look at something like impact marks, you really start to see how it’s the small details that take a professional to scope out.
Can hail damage to a roof be repaired?
Yes! Depending on the damage, hail damage repair can be as simple as fixing a single shingle or as severe as replacing the whole roof. This vast difference in fixes is why we suggest everyone have their roof inspected by a professional. An experienced roofer can quickly determine the severity of the damage.
Most roof inspections are also free, giving you a no-cost solution if you think your roof has been damaged during a recent storm (or a past storm). If you’re unsure on whether you need a roof inspection, look for multiple instances of the damage we’ve talked about above.
If you are finding more than one instance of a dented gutter or damage to your siding, you should seriously consider a roof inspection.
As we mentioned before, shingle damage can be severe or relatively mild. While it’s easy to tell when severe damage has occured, it’s more important to understand the mild damage and diagnose the severity of it.
What happens when you ignore these repairs?
When ignored, shingle and roof damage can quickly turn into leaks or ice dams. These eventually turn into mold damage, electrical issues, or rotting wood — all of which are costly expenses.
Wood rot and mold, for example, can spiral out of control and are hard to detect until it’s almost too late. It’s being proactive for potential issues like these that can save you thousands of dollars and keep your home in great condition.
How does insurance work with hail damage?
While it’s important to check a policy before getting any work done, hail damage is generally included in most homeowners policies and insurance can help you with repair costs.
If you choose to get your home repaired with the help of insurance, an adjuster will take a look at your home to determine what insurance will pay for. We suggest having a contractor there during this process. For example, Superstorm Restoration is frequently a part of this process with our customer. We’re there with the adjustor to help best assess damages on-site.
Once you get your check from the insurance company, you must have the repairs completed on your home — something a contractor can easily do.
Handling Your Hail Damage
After you have decided what to do and if your home was damaged, it’s important to find a contractor that you trust and, preferably, one that has experience working with insurance companies.
At Superstorm Restoration, we specialize at working with insurance companies, and our expertise is understanding how hail damage affects your property. We are well versed in communicating with insurance companies and discussing the scope of work that will be required to repair your property back to its original condition.
You don’t have to fly solo when working through the claims process. Once you notice hail damage on your property, call an expert to identify the damage and work through the process with you.
Few contractors understand the insurance process and what it takes to maneuver every step required. From basic paperwork, to talking to your adjusters regarding scope of work, to getting funds released from both your insurance company and mortgage company, Superstorm Restoration knows what to do.
If you're worried about hail damage, contact us for FREE roof inspection from our team of experts. We'll find a time that works best for you and help you understand the amount of damage that should be covered under your homeowners' insurance.