Waking up in the morning after a strong storm and finding hail damage to your car isn’t a great way to start the day. Depending on the hail’s size, it can cause significant damage not only to your car but the rest of your property as well.
One crucial piece of your property that you need to think about when it hails is your roof. Hail will shorten your roof’s lifespan and can even lead to a full roof replacement.
But hail damage can be tricky to spot on a roof if you don’t know where to look. That’s why we’re going to break down what hail damage looks like on your roof.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided help and guidance for homeowners in Nashville going through the insurance process since 1990. After your claim is approved, we work tirelessly to ensure your insurance company gives you everything your roof needs. That’s why we like to say, “We work for you, not the insurance company.”
By the end of this article, you’ll learn what hail damage looks like on a roof, how to spot it from the ground, and 3 things to know before starting the insurance process.
What does hail damage look like on a roof?
Hail damage to your roof is either really noticeable or hard to spot. If the hail is large enough (1” in diameter or bigger), you’ll see dents/dings on your shingles.
But just because your roof doesn’t have large dents in the shingles doesn’t mean you won’t have hail damage. More signs of hail damage to your roof are dings/dents/splatter marks to your roof vents, gutters, roof flashing, and other roof penetrations.
If your roof has any of the damage listed above, it’s a good chance you’ll have a homeowners insurance claim. Your first instinct might be to call a roofing contractor as soon as you suspect roof damage.
But the first thing you should do if you think you have hail damage is call your insurance company. While a local roofing contractor can advise you about the process, they can't do any actual work (repairs or a replacement) until your insurance adjuster approves the hail damage claim.
How to tell if you have hail damage from the safety of the ground
I don’t recommend for anyone who doesn’t know how to walk on a roof safely to check for the damage mentioned above. There’s no reason to put yourself in danger when your insurance company sends someone out to check it.
But I understand wanting to do your due diligence before filing an insurance claim. Below is a list of things to check for visible hail damage from the safety of the ground:
Downspouts (Above 5 feet, so it can’t be blamed on a lawnmower)
Dings or strikes to your garage door
Holes in your window screens
Dings to any painted wood or shutters
Splatter marks or dings to your electric meter, AC unit, or grill
Dents to your mailbox and other soft metals on your property
Dents on the top of your car and the car’s hood
This list doesn’t mean your roof has extensive hail damage. It just gives you an idea if you should contact your insurance company and file a claim.
For an easier way to walk around your property and check for these signs, get your free Storm Damage Checklist.
3 things to know before starting the insurance claim process
Now that you know how to spot hail damage, there are some things you need to know before filing a claim. Below are 3 things to know before starting the insurance claim process.
1. The insurance process is muddy and confusing
Both the roofing industry and the insurance industry don’t have the best reputation. The unfortunate truth is that there are a lot of roofing and insurance companies who don't necessarily have your best interest in mind.
That’s not to say that all roofing or insurance companies are out to take advantage of you. All I’m trying to do is let you know that there are people on both sides who unfortunately try to take advantage of people in a stressful situation.
Understanding this from the beginning helps you be aware to ensure something like this doesn’t happen to you.
2. Don’t sign any paperwork until your roof insurance claim is approved
Like I said earlier, the roofing industry doesn’t have the best reputation. One of the reasons it gained this reputation is because some roofing companies try to strong-arm homeowners into signing something before they’ll inspect the roof.
Even if you're panicking when you have storm damage, don’t sign any paperwork from a roofing company before your insurance claim is actually approved.
If they want you to sign something, they're trying to lock you into a contract that gives them the right to your roof before your claim has even been approved. When this happens, you won’t get to choose your own roofing contractor.
On the other hand, a reputable roofing contractor walks you through the insurance process and gives you an honest assessment of if your roof has storm damage or not. Then if your insurance claim is approved, they’ll ask for your business.
3. Insurance adjusters sometimes make mistakes
Everyone is human and makes mistakes, even insurance adjusters. Most of the time, an insurance adjuster will spot storm damage, but sometimes they make a mistake and deny your claim.
If they deny your claim, there’s no reason to panic. There are ways to double and triple-check your roof for storm damage.
The best way to get a second opinion is to ask for a second insurance adjuster to come out and inspect your roof. If they approve your claim, great, but sometimes the second adjuster will still insist that the roof is not viable for a claim.
If you still think you have storm damage after the second adjuster says no, you can have an engineer come out to your home, inspect the roof, and then offer proof (if they have any) to your insurance company that that roof needs to be replaced because of storm damage.
Ready to learn the homeowners insurance process?
You just learned 3 things to know before starting the insurance claim process. If you think you have hail damage, you’re ready to call your insurance company and start the claim process.
But before reaching out to the insurance company, you need to ask yourself, “Do I know what to expect from the process?” If you don’t, you’re not alone.
The insurance claim process can be stressful and full of headaches, especially if you haven’t been through it before. To help you prepare for dealing with your insurance company, we broke down the homeowners insurance claim process.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners in Nashville and surrounding areas with their insurance claims since 1990. If a big storm hits your roof, we’ll work with you and your insurance company to ensure you have a positive experience. If you’re local to Nashville and have hail or other storm damage, contact us to help you during this stressful time.