Mother nature sometimes takes a baseball bat to our property.
It can come when you least expect it and leave enormous amounts of damage in its wake.
According to the NOAA database, in 2016, the U.S. experienced over 5000 large hail storms. One of these storm clusters was right here in Texas and dropped softball-sized hailstones causing 3.5 billion dollars in damages.
That ain’t no joke.
There is nothing we can do to prevent storms or evade them, but we can be informed to respond in the right way, and in the manner.
What is hail?
Hail occurs when during a thunderstorm, precipitation is carried into upper areas of the clouds where the temperature causes the water to freeze. This frozen particle can fall and rise again, freezing over and over until gravity takes over causing it to fall back to the earth in various sizes.
These particles fall without warning and can cause massive damage to people and property.
The most common and costly damage occurs to your roof. According to most home insurance carriers, it is one of the frequent filings they encounter and can result in 90% of the workload by most roofing contractors.
But when it comes to hail damage, we need to know more than just plain facts.
Here are six answers to six practical questions. Having these answers could save you thousands.
1. What are the signs of hail damage?
People mistakenly think that unless there is a leak in their roof, then no damage resulted from the storm.
This is incorrect.
After a storm, it is a good idea to walk around your property and carefully survey the exterior and the roof itself as best you can.
Have the gutters, gutter screens or downspouts been damaged? Look for dents or bends due to impact from the stones.
Have the skylights, vents, chimney and chimney covers been damaged? Look for dings and cracks and take pictures if you can. Even the smallest cracks can lead to bigger ones and leaks in the future.
The most important are your shingles. Without shingle damage, most insurance carriers won’t support the claim.
So how do you know if there is shingle damage?
A shingle on a roof is granular in appearance.
It takes a lot to knock these granules loose. Even if there is no hole in the shingle, the shingle itself can be compromised and leaks can occur in the future as more weather results.
Next, you will want to try and see how many of these impacts occurred and the extent of the damage.
With metal roofs, the damage is easier to spot. Dents in the roof are more visible and less camouflaged.
There are some other factors that make hail damage much more extensive:
Wind. If the storm included high-force winds, then the chances of the hail impact on your home will be greater.
Size of stones. If the stones are larger, they will fall with greater force creating more damage. Baseball-sized stones fall at 100mph!
The age of your roof. The older your roof, the more vulnerable it will be. Shingles become more brittle with age.
The material of your roof. Asphalt shingles can lose sand, thus losing longevity. Wooden shingles might splinter or crack. Clay shingles might chip. If the damage is extensive enough, then a roof replacement might be needed.
2. How can I make sure the damage is legitimately recorded and evaluated?
You want to make sure you survey the roof yourself, but also call a trusted roofing contractor to come and inspect it for you.
We send a project manager to your home and have them carefully check the property for signs of storm damage to the roof, gutters, siding, windows, decks, awnings, fences, and A/C units.
We take pictures and measurements of damaged areas and diagram and measure roof and/or siding, windows, and gutters. We take note of any areas that need special attention during construction, such as personal property and home access points. Discuss the findings and concerns with you and give you a detailed property evaluation.
3. Will the insurance company be my responsibility?
We will take care of it for you.
We contact your insurance company and meet the adjuster at the property to evaluate and discuss. Settlements on a claim usually take 7-10 days and guarantee zero out of pocket expenses to restore storm damage outside of the insurance deductible. Deductibles vary depending on the homeowner’s insurance.
Everything is recorded and we will be glad to inform you of all findings and go over the documentation with you.
4. Is it likely that the insurance company will cover my claim?
It all depends on your policy, the extent of the damage, and the thoroughness of the inspection done by the contractor.
Roofing contractors are not likely to miss any damage and rely on the insurance company to cover damages to receive payment. So it is in their best interest to not miss anything on examination.
Hail damage inspections require vital skills of the roofing professional. At Olympic Exteriors we combine the right information-gathering tools and inspection resources to ensure an extensive exam.
We are aware that in 2013, the American Association of Insurance Services, introduced a “Cosmetic Damage Exclusion” to allow insurers to avoid coverage for cosmetic damage. However, sometimes, a roof that has been functionally damaged will be passed off as only cosmetically damaged by the insurance company.
We will work to make sure this doesn’t happen.
You can rest knowing you have a trained eye to spot hail damage and to help you get fair coverage for the losses you’ve sustained.
5. Should I get bids or estimates from different contractors?
That decision is entirely up to you. But know that when your insurance is paying for the work, the dollar amount of the bid is not important as long as it is equal to or less than the insurance company estimate. In all such cases, you will only be paying your deductible, so your cost will be the same.
So you should choose your contractor based on the one you feel most comfortable with and whom you feel will perform the best quality job. The insurance company will pay based upon the final invoice they receive from the contractor.
To give you an example, if the insurance company estimates $10,000 for damages and you pick a contractor that will do it for $8,000, the insurance company will only pay the $8,000. After the invoice of $8000 is sent to the insurance company, they will send a payment of $8000.00 (-) your deductible.
Remember, not all roofing contractors will provide you with top quality work, so be sure and visit their websites and ask around to make sure you get the best. You don’t want your “Uncle Joe” or “Cousin Fred” to handle this job for you.
6. So what happens next?
Once approved, we will provide samples of different materials and then you can select what you want. We will discuss the pros and cons of each type of material so you can make an informed choice.
We deliver the materials a couple of days after that and the construction begins. Construction usually takes a couple of days, but it can depend on weather and the project to be completed.
We then do a final inspection to ensure every detail of the job is completed and the property is cleaned to the homeowner’s satisfaction.
Having a good understanding of the effects of hail damage and who to call makes all the difference. Left untreated, even moderate hail damage can cause even worse conditions to result.
Don’t wait until you got a huge puddle of water in your living room.
After a storm, examine your property and then make sure and give us a call. We will make sure you get a fair evaluation and answer any questions that you may have. Our team is professional, friendly, and efficient. We will try as much as possible not to interrupt your day or inconvenience you any more than is necessary.
So come hail or high water… we got ya covered.
Give us a call. We look forward to serving you.