What to Do If Your House is Hit by Hail
Hail storms increased by a startling 15% in 2022, pushing insurance damage claims up by 34% in one meager year. When you think of hail damage, you probably imagine pockmarks and other forms of mechanical pelting.
While falling ice is certainly destructive in itself, hail damage also occurs when overhanging branches and high winds merge with stormy weather. If your house didn’t make it to the other side of a hail storm in-tact, you’ll need a response strategy:
What causes hail damage?
Your roof is your home’s first defense against Mother Nature, so it bears the brunt of storms. Bruises, cracks, and punctures can open up your shingles’ protective shell, allowing leaks to seep into your siding.
At worst, your entire roofing structure can fail. If your siding has also warped and buckled, it will expose your interior to rot and roof mold. These aren’t isolated issues. They’re infestations that will spread to other parts of your home.
If your roof damage is limited to a few shingles, you might get away with spot repairs. If you’ve lost a generous number of granules, however, you’ll need a more comprehensive solution. It’s best to contact a roofing professional the moment you notice blistering and granule loss.
If your house has taken severe damage, it’s best to call for an urgent repair. Not all emergencies look like emergencies to an untrained eye, so call a contractor if:
- You have a broken window
- Your leak has intruded into your underlayment or interior.
- You’ve noticed creaking, support structure buckling, and sagging. These are signs of a collapsing roof.
- You see water marks or drips coming through your ceiling.
- Your gutters are sagging.
Your safety comes first, but if your family is out of harm’s way, you can begin to contain the damage. Place a tarp over your roof and cover any furniture that could be damaged by an evolving leak.
Many companies offer 24/7 emergency roof tarps for precisely this purpose. You can contain window cracks with shellac or place packaging tape on either side of the crack. If the glass has shattered, it’s best to leave the patchwork to a contractor who has the right safety gear.
Involving your insurer
If you have insurance coverage, you should request an inspection immediately after the storm. Your provider will use specialized tools to assess the damage, but grab a camera and check your property anyway.
Photograph any remaining hail next to a coin for size reference. Capture missing and fallen shingles, broken windows, and leaks. If you see granules collecting in your gutter, get a record of them. Check your cars, landscaping, and outdoor appliances, too. These pictures will support a professional inspection.
Order an inspection
If your damage is minor enough not to require an urgent response, we advise you to order a roof inspection. Better businesses offer this service for free but make sure you hire someone who’s fastidious about small details. You’re now ready to file a claim. Service-oriented roofing companies will even guide you through the process and unwind the red tape in your insurance policy.
Hail damage is one of America’s leading causes of property loss, and the problem is growing bigger every day, particularly if you live in Texas, Colorado, or Nebraska. Hail stones of just three-quarters of an inch can wreak havoc if wind speeds are high, so two-inch hail can be devastating.
The best response is a professional response. This is not the kind of damage you should DIY, so involve your trusty roof and siding contractor as soon as you can.
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