IDENTIFYING STORM DAMAGE
When most people think of roofing shingles, they are actually
thinking of asphalt shingles, the most common type of
shingles in the country. Asphalt shingles are made from
asphalt re-enforced with either organic material or fiberglass and they are coated with small metallic surface granules that protect the roof from UV-rays that speeds deterioration. Asphalt shingles come in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. During severe storms asphalt shingles can be seriously damaged and require repair or replacement.
On an asphalt roof, hail damage looks like a dark spot, or bruise, where the roofing granules have been knocked away. In some cases you may find holes, cracking, or missing shingles on roofs with hail or storm damage. After a tornado, you may notice split seams and torn or missing shingles. This can result in leaking and serious water damage, which can lead to mold formation and wood rot, which can compromise the structural integrity of your roof resulting in collapse. In severe wind storms, it is common for shingles or sections of the roof to be missing altogether.
On other types of roofs, including shake (wood), metal, tile and slate, damage can include broken or cracked shingles, missing shingles, torn or split seams, and missing sections of the roof. If a tree limb or other debris has fallen onto your roof during the storm, you may have structural damage, and will want to exercise extreme caution.
Common Signs of Roof Damage
Bruises or dented asphalt shingles
Cracked or broken tile, slate, or concrete shingles
Granules collecting in gutters or downspouts
Leaks in your roof or ceiling
Dents on vents, gutters or flashing
WHAT IS HAIL DAMAGE?
In many parts of the US, hailstorms are a way of life. For many
homeowners it's not a question of whether a hailstorm will hit, but
when damaging hail will hit. Many areas in the U.S. receive hail six
or more times a year and many homes are damaged every year. By
definition, hail damage is any damage resulting from hailstones and
hailstorms. Hailstones that are 0.75 inches or greater are large
enough to cause substantial damage to homes, automobiles &
property. For comparison, 0.75 inches is the diameter of a penny.
How to Identify Hail Damage
You may think that just because you can't see any signs of damage, or because your roof isn't leaking, you don't have damage. Remember, hail damage can be particularly difficult to identify and many homeowners discover major roofing damage years down the road, after it's too late to file a storm damage claim with their insurance company. If you have any reason to suspect hail damage after a storm, you should have a full property damage inspection performed by a reputable contractor, right away.
Roof Hail Damage - Roofs are the most commonly damaged part of a home or business in hailstorms. A damaged shingle may allow water to seep through the roof causing additional damage to the roof deck, support structure, interior walls, or windows, and can cause leaking, staining on walls and flooding inside your home. Leaking roofs lead to costly damages and many insurance policies have strict time limits on submitting claims after hailstorms, so it's in your best interest to act fast after hailstorms and start the repairs process, if necessary.
Asphalt Shingle Damage: On an asphalt roof, hail damage looks like a dark spot, or bruise, where the roofing granules have been knocked away (look in gutters for accumulation of granules). In some cases you may find holes, cracking, or missing shingles on roofs with hail damage. This can result in leaking and serious water damage, which can lead to mold formation and wood rot, which can compromise the structural integrity of your roof resulting in collapse. In severe wind storms, it is common for shingles or sections of the roof to be missing altogether.
High winds are a fact of life for many property owners. With recorded wind speeds reaching upwards of 300 MPH, the damage done by severe windstorms, wind-driven hail, flying debris and tornado damage results in billions of dollars in damage every year.
To prepare your home for high winds, it is always a good idea to trim back tree branches away from the roof and large windows, as fallen limbs and broken tree branches can do a substantial amount of damage to your roof, windows and exterior.
If a tornado or windstorm is approaching, make sure to secure storm shutters over panes of exposed glass, or use pieces of pre-measured, pre-cut plywood to protect windows. Since most wind damage is done by flying objects, bring in outdoor furniture, toys, pots and gardening tools. Shut your garage door and make sure doors and windows are secured. For updates on wind conditions, tune in to local TV or radio.
In a severe windstorm there are 5 factors that determine storm damage:
Strength of the Structure
Shopping for Homeowners Insurance
When shopping for a homeowners policy, it is smart to check out several different insurance companies. Different insurance companies offer a wide range of coverage levels, discounts and prices. Don't just shop the companies you know best, but search for the policy that works best for your situation. If you come across a policy that looks good, but is offered by a company you haven't heard of, it's easy to check out their background. Here are three websites you can use to investigate the financial strength of an insurance company:
Fitch Ratings (www.fitchibca.com)
Moody's Investor Services (www.moodys.com)
When selecting a policy, start by researching your area. You'll want to have a firm understanding of the storm damage history of your neighborhood related to:
Make sure the insurance policy you select adequately covers storms and natural disasters in your area. Watch out for insurance companies known for unfairly denying claims. Every year, the American Justice Association publishes a list of the 10 Worst Insurance Companies. If your insurance company is on the list and your insurance claim has been denied, make sure you connect with a reputable contractor with the experience to fight for your rights.