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Storm Damage Education

DO I HAVE DAMAGE?

Chunks of ice (golf ball size or larger) falling 1000 feet or more, at 150 MPH, damage almost everything they hit (even more so when they are thrown by a substantial wind). They damage cars, roofing, and brick walls. The damage is most often easy to spot on everything except your roof, even though it displaced the granules and fractured the matting of the shingles upon impact, compromising the integrity of your roof and voiding the manufacturer's warranty on the shingles. But you must be up there and know what you're looking for to spot the damage.

Most homeowners do not know what to do, or even if they should do anything. "But my roof isn't leaking." Your car wasn't leaking either, but it was damaged and you wanted it fixed, didn't you? Even though you can't see it from the ground, your roof is damaged, and if it isn't dealt with, that damage may cause serious problems later. That's why insurance companies pay to repair or replace the roof. For them, it's a "Pay now" or "Pay more later" situation.

You should have your roof inspected by a professional who specializes in identifying and evaluating damage caused by hail.

If you do have damage, your contractor should be present when your insurance adjuster inspects your home. Together, they can reach an agreement as to the extent of damage, the scope of work needed, and the cost of the repairs. Otherwise, your contractor, and adjuster may need to spend days or even weeks communicating by phone and face to arrive at the same agreement.

HAIL FACTS/MYTHS

Myth: I looked at my roof and didn't see any problems, or my roofer inspected it and there are no problems.

Fact: Roofing systems must be physically inspected by someone who has training and experience to determine if there is actual hail damage. Insurance companies send their adjusters to special training so they can properly identify hail damage to property. Unfortunately there is not much ongoing training for the roofing or home inspection industries.

Myth: I'm not missing any shingles so I must not have damage.

Fact:
Missing shingles are related to wind damage claims and can happen during a hailstorm if the winds are high enough. However hail damage is insidious in nature and may not physically cause leakage for years after a hail storm.

Myth: I only have one year to file my insurance claim.

Fact: Many insurance companies do have a one year time limit and some even less, however due to the nature of hail damage they may pay claims past the deadline. This usually happens if a hailstorm is widespread geographically.

Myth: My roof is new so it's covered by the manufacturer's warranty, home builder, or contractor

Fact:
Manufacturer's specifically name hail as an exclusion to their product warranty, so do home builders and roofing contractors. Newer roofs can actually be more susceptible to hail damage versus older roofs due to the time it takes a new roof to cure from exposure to the elements.

Myth: I was told my roof has minimal or very little damage and therefore I don't need to file a claim.

Fact: If your roof has any damage whatsoever, you have a valid insurance claim and should file with your insurance company. Damage might not cause your roof to leak or years. This is why it's important to have a qualified person inspect your roof.

Myth: My insurance company will cancel my policy if I file a claim.

Fact:
Most states prohibit insurance companies from canceling policies for filing claims arising from severe weather related events. Check with your state however and your policy language as well.

Myth:
If I don't file my claim, my insurance company won't raise my rates.

Fact:
After a disaster, insurance companies may raise everyone's rates. By not filing your claim, your personal rate increase is paying for everyone else's damage except yours.