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What Size Hail Will Damage a Roof? (How to Spot It From the Ground)

December 27th, 2021 | 6 min. read

What Size Hail Will Damage a Roof? (How to Spot It From the Ground)

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Hail isn’t exactly something you love seeing on the radar when a storm is moving into your area. Your first thought probably goes to your car and finding a way to cover it. 

Unfortunately, your roof can’t be covered, hidden, or moved to avoid hail. Luckily, hail won’t always cause damage to your roof. 

But if the hail is big enough, it will cause damage and possibly compromise the integrity of your shingles, roof vents, and roof flashing. Saying “big enough” won’t help you decide if your roof has possible hail damage. So, what size hail will damage a roof?

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand everything insurance-related, including hail damage. Now we want to use this expertise to do the same for you. 

To start, we’ll dive right into the size of hail that causes roof damage. After that, we’ll help you spot possible hail damage without actually getting on your roof. 

To finish this article, we’ll give you the first step you need to take to start the insurance claim process to replace a hail-damaged roof. 

What size hail will damage a roof?

A lot of little hail can impact your roof and shorten its lifespan over time, especially if it’s exposed to hail often. But for hail to damage your roof and lead to a replacement after a storm, it needs to be a pretty good size. 

hail that will cause roof damage

Hail around 1” in diameter or bigger will damage your roof and warrant an insurance claim. When hail is this size, it will actually cause dents/dings and compromise the integrity of asphalt shingles. 

dents in shingles from hail(Dents in shingles caused by hail)

These dents are pretty noticeable if you know what to look for, and an experienced roofing contractor shouldn’t miss them. But if you can’t see large dents in the shingles, it doesn’t necessarily mean your roof won’t have hail damage. 

collateral hail damage to roof vents(Collateral hail damage on roof)

The other 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, there’s a good chance you’ll have a homeowners insurance claim

Can you tell if your roof has hail damage without getting on your roof?

While a roofing contractor can spot hail damage on your roof, I don’t recommend getting up there to look for yourself. There’s no reason to risk your safety to check for the damage mentioned above if you don’t have experience walking on roofs. 

Especially when your insurance company sends someone out to check it. But I completely understand wanting to do your due diligence before filing an insurance claim

Luckily there are ways to look for collateral hail damage while walking around your property. 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

hail damage to door, gutter, and window(Examples of  possible hail damage from the ground)

If you find any of the above, it doesn’t mean your roof has extensive hail damage. It’s just meant to give you an idea if you should contact your insurance company and file a claim for possible roof damage. 

For an easier way to walk around your property and check for these signs, get this free Storm Damage Checklist

What’s the first thing you should do when you think your roof has hail damage?

If your roof has any sign of extensive hail damage, there’s a good chance you’ll have a homeowners insurance claim. Your first instinct might be to call a roofing contractor to come out and take a look. 

It's not a bad idea to have a reputable roofing company on hand, but the first thing you should do if you think you have hail damage is call your insurance company. After talking to your insurance company, they’ll give you the next steps. 

They’ll either send out an insurance adjuster or tell you to contact a roofing company for a hail damage inspection. Let’s break down what each of those scenarios looks like. 

An insurance adjuster comes out to your home for a hail damage inspection

If the insurance company sends out an adjuster, they’ll perform an inspection to approve your claim or tell you they didn’t find signs of roof damage. If your claim is approved, it’ll be time to hire a local roofing contractor with experience handling insurance claims. 

But if your claim isn’t approved, not all hope is lost. You can ask the insurance company to send out a second insurance adjuster to come out just to be sure.

If the second adjuster says no, but you’re still sure your roof has hail damage, you can have an engineer come out for an inspection. They’ll offer proof (if there is any) of hail damage to your insurance company and that there’s enough to warrant a replacement. 

However, your insurance company has all the power to approve or reject your hail damage claim even after going through all these steps.

You call a local roofing company to inspect for hail damage

After calling a local roofing contractor, they’ll set up a time to come out for an inspection. During the inspection, they’ll take pictures of any suspected hail damage to submit to the insurance company. 

If the pictures show signs of hail damage, the insurance company will send out an adjuster to do an inspection to confirm. If the adjuster agrees after their inspection, then your claim will be approved. 

This is pretty common in the Middle Tennessee area, but the area where you live and the insurance company you use could be different. The important thing is to find a roofing contractor who regularly works with insurance companies and has experience dealing with insurance claims.

The insurance claim process to replace your hail damaged roof

Now you know what size hail will damage your roof, how to spot it from the ground, and what to do when you first notice hail damage. If you think your roof has been damaged, you’re ready to reach out to your insurance company.

But just be aware, the insurance claim process is a long and, oftentimes, confusing process. This is especially true if you’ve never been through it before. 

So, before you pick up your phone, you need to know how the process actually works. That’s why we wrote another article guiding you through filing a claim with your homeowners insurance. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided insurance claim guidance to homeowners in Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood, and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. We work with your insurance company to ensure you get a new roof that will last for decades to come. 

Check out Homeowners insurance: The process to replace a storm damaged roof to go into the insurance claim process as knowledgeable as possible.

storm damage checklist

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