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How Hail Can Damage Your Roof And Affect Insurance Claims

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Amid the tranquil embrace of our homes and the solidity of our business facilities, an often-overlooked menace looms overhead, ready to strike with potent force – hail.

The repercussions of hail-induced roof damage extend far beyond the immediate inconvenience, delving deep into our financial security and insurance claims. In this article, we embark on a journey through the intricacies of hail’s potential for destruction, exploring its ramifications on your property and insurance claims.

Whether you’re a concerned homeowner or a vigilant business owner, understanding the nexus between hail damage and insurance is paramount to securing your assets and peace of mind.

As we traverse the landscape of roof protection, it’s essential to grasp the varied dimensions of damage costs. Roof damage encompasses a range of scenarios – from fallen trees and ferocious winds to the tempestuous dance of hail and rainstorms.

The financial toll of such events can snowball into thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars, magnified further by collateral harm inflicted upon cherished personal items, vital business equipment, and the very fabric of our structures.

The echoes of a recent April 2023 hailstorm, where egg-sized hail pounded the land – a rare spectacle for Floridians – are a stark reminder of nature’s unyielding might. Even hailstones as modest as tiny ball bearings can incite substantial damage, compelling immediate repair action.

As we stand on the precipice of potential hailstorms, equipped with this knowledge, the importance of preparation becomes resoundingly clear.

What Hail Can Do to Your Roof

Did you know that when a hailstorm strikes, it’s not just your vehicles at risk of damage?

Your home’s roof and personal property can also be vulnerable to hail’s destructive impact, leading to potential future repairs and insurance claims. While hailstorms vary in intensity, causing different degrees of damage, several factors influence the extent of destruction inflicted.

Understanding these factors can empower you to identify hail damage on roofing materials effectively

  • Wind direction and speed play a significant role during hailstorms, influencing the location and severity of impacts on your roof.
  • The size and density of hailstones further determine the degree of property damage.
  • Ranging from pea-sized to softball-sized, hailstones often lack smooth edges, affecting the type of harm they cause.
  • Different building material react diversely to hail impacts, leading to dings in aluminum siding, asphalt shingles, or gutters, while wood shakes or vinyl siding can experience cracks or even destruction.
  • Structures adjacent to your property, like trees, fences, or neighboring homes, can serve as natural barriers, reducing the potential damage caused by hail

Amid the awe accompanying egg-sized hailstones, it’s important to note that hail,regardless of size, can inflict enough harm to necessitate roof repairs. Depending on your roof’s age and condition, hail damage could warrant a complete replacement.

The National Weather Service employs a color-coded map to communicate the risk of severe hail damage, categorizing impacts from low to extreme. Hail ranging from grapefruit size 3-to-4.5-inch diameter) to golf ball size 1.5 to 2-inch) can fall with greater force, posing a grave threat to shingle, tile, and metal roofs.

Fortunately, hail of such magnitude remains uncommon in this region of Florida. More frequently encountered are hailstones ranging from dime to quarter size, responsible for most roofing damage incidents reported by our roofing inspectors.

Coin-sized hail can create pockmarks or dents in roofing shingles, chip or break roofing tiles, and even result in considerable dents in metal roofs.

Although preventing hail damage is beyond control, proactively addressing the damage before it exacerbates can save you from more extensive repairs

What Is Hail?

Hail, as defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a form of precipitation that originates when raindrops are lifted into freezing areas of the atmosphere by thunderstorm updrafts.

These droplets freeze solid and grow by colliding with liquid water drops. Hailstones eventually fall when the thunderstorm’s updraft can no longer support their weight, leading to their descent. Wind-driven hail can wreak havoc on houses, damaging siding and roofing, shattering windows, denting cars, and even causing injuries or fatalities.

summer rain with hail falls on the roof of slate

The speed of hail’s fall varies based on its size. Still, the hail typically experienced in Southwest Florida falls within the range of 10 to 40 mph.

For residents unaccustomed to snowfall in Florida, witnessing hail can be an unsettling experience. 

Unlike the gentle, soft nature of snowflakes, hail is a more aggressive phenomenon, and the sight of golf ball-sized ice spheres plummeting from the sky can be alarming. While rare, hail can attain diameters as large as grapefruits before hurtling toward the ground at speeds around 70 miles per hour.

Yet, hail doesn’t need to be as massive as a softball to inflict damage. 

Once hail reaches the size of a penny, it’s capable of denting vehicles and causing property damage. Larger hailstones can shatter windows and cause substantial harm to roofs. 

When can you expect hail to strike most frequently in Florida? 

According to a National Weather Service report for the Palm Beach, Glades, and Miami-Dade area:

  • May and June are the months with the highest hail activity.
  • Most hail events in Florida occur between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

How to Assess Hail Damage After the Storm

Once safety permits, conducting a grounds check is crucial after a hailstorm. 

Begin by surveying the perimeter of your property, focusing on your gutters. Dented or broken gutters often indicate potential roof damage. Scratches, dents, and small holes on flashing or other metal roof components can further indicate damage to the roof as a whole. 

The presence of tile or shingle fragments is a clear sign of roof damage, warranting a closer inspection by ascending a ladder for a better view or contacting a local roofing contractor.

While engaging a roofing contractor is recommended to spot hail damage on your roof, it’s advisable to avoid climbing onto your roof yourself, particularly if you lack experience in navigating roofs. This caution is especially relevant since your insurance company will likely send an inspector to assess the damage. 

Nonetheless, conducting your own preliminary evaluation for collateral hail damage around your property is feasible. Here’s a checklist for identifying visible hail damage from ground level:

  • Above 5 Feet Downspouts: Check for dents.
  • Garage Door: Examine for dings or strikes.
  • Window Screens: Look for holes.
  • Painted Wood/Shutters: Inspect for dings.
  • Electric Meter/AC Unit/Grill: Search for splatter marks or dings.
  • Mailbox/Soft Metals: Identify dents.
  • Car Roof and Hood: Examine for dents.

Assessing Hail Damage on Different Roofing Types

Shingle Roofs

Shingle roofs are a common sight in Florida. If you have a shingle roof, here’s how to gauge hail damage after a storm:

Downspouts and Gutters:
Begin by scrutinizing these components for dislodged granules. If an abundance of granules is evident, it might signify underlying damage, warranting a closer inspection to assess the extent.

shingle roof hail damage marked out for fixing

Examine nearby shingles for bare patches if you find an excess of granules in gutters. The presence of round dents and pitting on shingles are clear evidence of hail’s forceful impact. Extend your evaluation to identify any cracked or pitted shingles, revealing the full extent of the damage.

Capture the damage through photographs, a crucial step in documenting the aftermath. If immediate harm isn’t apparent, a more thorough inspection using a ladder could unveil hidden issues. However, the prudent choice is to seek the expertise of a local contractor, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation.

Tile Roofs

Tile roofs, renowned for their durability, aren’t impervious to hail’s wrath. Key indicators of hail damage on tile roofs include:

Punctures and Cracks:
Begin your scrutiny by searching for small punctures or cracks, highlighting the force of hail’s impact on the tiles’ surface.

Clean Holes:
Identifying clean, sharp-edged holes further underscores the precision of hail’s attack, leaving an unmistakable mark.

Chipped/Broken Corners and Edges:
Inspect the corners and edges for chipping or breakage, revealing the toll exacted by hailstones on the tiles’ structural integrity.

Loose or Damaged Tiles:
Prompt action is essential when addressing loose or damaged tiles. Immediate attention not only prevents escalation but also safeguards the roof’s resilience. We recommend hiring professional assistance for a comprehensive restoration.

tile roof hail damage

Metal Roofs:

Metal roofs, although robust, are not immune to the impacts of hail. An evaluation of your metal roof should focus on the following:

Scrutinize the surface for dents that indicate the force of hail’s impact, offering visible reminders of the storm’s intensity.

Scour Marks:
These marks, resembling scratches, arise when hail strikes at an angle, scraping off the protective outer layer. Ignoring this can lead to rust, undermining the roof’s steadfastness over time. Immediate attention to such damage is vital to preserve the roof’s integrity.

Will You Need Roof Repairs or a Roof Replacement?

Prompt assessment of your roof post-hailstorm is crucial for multiple reasons. 

Firstly, swift repairs ensure your home’s readiness for future storms, preventing more severe damage. 

Secondly, delaying action isn’t an option if the damage necessitates a roof replacement. Given the region’s significant rainfall in Southwest Florida, waiting could expose an already weakened roof to more substantial destruction.

Determining whether repairs or replacement are needed is best left to licensed roof repair and replacement professionals. The 25% Rule for Roof Replacement dictates that if more than 25% of a roof is damaged, insurance companies may opt for a full roof replacement rather than just repairs.

This principle directly relates to hail damage, as it underscores how significant hail impacts could trigger the need for a complete roof replacement rather than isolated repairs, which is a pivotal factor in insurance claims and assessments following hailstorms.

roof replacement

A roofing contractor’s evaluation clarifies the condition of your roof and guides you toward suitable options. Furthermore, their assessment serves as documented proof of damage for your insurance company.

Homeowners’ insurance policies often cover hail damage, but assembling supporting documents for a claim might be a daunting task for many.

Roofing contractors, experienced in detecting and documenting roof damage, can offer invaluable assistance. They can also prepare an estimate, which can be instrumental when dealing with claims adjusters.

Hail Damage in Roof Claims

Hail around 1 inch in diameter or larger warrants an insurance claim due to its potential to cause dents, dings, and compromise the roof’s integrity. 

Large dents on shingles, tiles, and metal are noticeable, but their absence doesn’t guarantee an undamaged roof. 

Additional indicators of roof hail damage include dents, dings, and splatter marks on roof vents, flashing, and other roof penetrations. The likelihood of a homeowners’ insurance claim significantly increases if these damages are present.

Insurance companies often present challenges in the claims process, including delays, denials, or underestimations. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the following:

  • While the roof repair or replacement process isn’t inherently complex, the costs can be substantial.
  • Homeowner policies typically cover roof damage from unpreventable reasons like fire, vandalism, and hurricanes.
  • Hail and wind damage to roofs are typically covered under specific circumstances, but coverage extent depends on several factors.
  • Roof age and condition may impact the coverage level for roof damage claims, considering terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations.
  • Some policies may not consider roof damage due to poor maintenance, rather than wind or hail, leading to claims denial.

When you suspect hail damage on your roof, the initial step should be contacting your insurance company. They’ll guide you through the next steps, which might include an inspection by an insurance adjuster or a roofing contractor. 

An adjuster’s inspection could lead to claim approval, requiring engagement with an experienced roofing contractor for further assessment and repairs. In case of denial, a second adjuster’s opinion or an engineer’s inspection can provide alternative perspectives.

Ultimately, the insurance company holds the authority to approve or reject hail damage claims, even after undergoing multiple evaluation steps.

Preventative Measures

Preventing hail damage is challenging, but proactive steps can mitigate risks and minimize potential damage.

Commercial and homeowner policies often demand policyholders to take measures for damage mitigation, failure of which can impact compensation for subsequent damage caused by related threats like windblown rain following roof damage.

To reduce the risk of hail damage, consider these precautions:

  • Remove dead trees or drooping limbs that could fall onto your property.
  • Schedule professional inspections to identify potential hazards.
  • Swiftly replace worn or damaged shingles, ensuring your roof’s resilience.
preventative measures

Safeguarding Your Property

In the face of unpredictable hailstorms and the potential for significant roof damage, proactive measures become paramount for safeguarding your property and ensuring seamless insurance claims.

At All Points Tile and Slate, we’re committed to assisting you in fortifying your roof against the formidable force of hail. By replacing any missing or broken tiles from our comprehensive inventory, you’re reinforcing your roof’s resilience and enhancing the chances of your insurance claims being approved.

Our expertise in roofing materials and commitment to quality ensure that your roof remains sturdy and prepared for whatever nature throws its way.

Don’t leave the fate of your property to chance. Embrace a proactive stance by addressing potential roof vulnerabilities now with the help of All Points Tile and Slate’s premium tile replacement solutions. With our guidance and top-tier products, you can fortify your roof against hail’s wrath and ensure that your insurance claims stand on solid ground.

Remember, a small investment in proactive measures today can save you from the headache of denied claims and costly repairs in the future.

The information on our blog is for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a professional roofer. For all roofing questions and needs, please contact our experts at 407-366-2521.