Thunderstorms are a common occurrence in Texas as well as many other heartland states. These storms are often violent and cause massive property damage from wind, lightning, and hail. We often think of tornadoes as being the most destructive part of a storm; however, tornadoes usually only destroy a few dozen structures before dissipating. One hail storm, on the other hand, often strikes thousands of homes when it passes over a large urban area. Sometimes roof hail damage is noticeable from the ground, but most of the time a roof inspection is required to determine if damage is present. If your home has been struck by hail, you will need to have an initial inspection, call the insurance company, and select a roofing contractor to do the necessary work.
When hail strikes an asphalt shingle roof, it usually loosens the protective granules and creates a soft spot the size of the hail stone. There is a fiberglass reinforcing mat in the shingle. The soft spot happens because the mat has been crushed in this particular spot. Usually the damaged area is sunken in like a crater. These sunken areas are sometimes called “bruises.” If the hail was large, the impacted areas will be very visible from the roof level. The bruises will be less visible if the hail was smaller in size. Smaller hail can still cause soft spots that weaken the shingles even if they are not visible from ground level. Hail damaged shingles do not always leak initially because they are double coursed and have felt underlayment. The damage will, however, cause the roof to deteriorate faster and start to leak.
You will need to have a roof top inspection to determine the extent of the damage. It is best to have a good roofing contractor inspect the roof for you to determine if you have hail damage. Your roofer can tell you if the damage is severe enough to file an insurance claim. You should call your insurance company when the damage has been confirmed by your roofer. You will be issued a claim number, and an adjuster will be assigned to the claim.
The insurance adjuster will often use chalk to draw a ten foot by ten foot square on your roof. Insurance companies look for the amount of hail “hits” within that square to determine if the whole roof should be replaced. Replacement is usually necessary if the amount of hits is between five and ten per one hundred square feet. If the amount of damage is borderline, you may want to have your roofer present when the adjuster arrives. The roofer can show the damaged areas to the adjuster and represent your case. If the roof is totaled, the adjuster will measure the roof and calculate the replacement cost based on the insurance company’s price structure. Initially, you will be issued a partial payment. The balance will be held until the roof is complete and the invoice has been turned in.
The best approach to replacing a hail damaged roof is to find a roofer that you feel comfortable with, and work with him from the very beginning. Have the roofer make the initial inspection and meet with the adjuster if necessary. Your roofer also needs to review the adjuster’s report to see if everything is correct. He can determine if the measurements agree and if the insurance company is paying enough money for a good job. There is no need to take competitive bids on an insurance roof replacement. If you take a bid that is lower than what the insurance company is willing to pay, they will lower the amount of the claim to your low bid. You will be leaving money on the table that should be spent on getting a quality job from your quality roofer. Most roofers will work with insurance companies. Find the roofer you like, and stay with them through the whole process. You will most likely end up with enough funds for the best quality roof.