If your property was recently hit by a hail or wind storm, and you suspect that you may have damage, you can follow the steps below to help guide you through the storm damage restoration process.
Safety is key: Do not climb on your roof or scale ladders if you are untrained. Make sure the scene is safe to do a ground-level home inspection. Do not attempt to inspect your home if the weather conditions are not favorable, or there are live electrical wires or hazardous debris in your yard. Call emergency services before inspecting your home if this is the case.
Once you have established that you’re safe, we recommend that you do a ground-level survey of your property to help you determine if you need to call in a professional. Walk around your house and look for signs of:
1. Missing shingles in the yard or on your actual roof
2. Large branches or other debris on your roof
3. Circular dents on your gutters, window screens, and HVAC fins
4. Bent, broken, or hanging siding
5. Circular dents on your mailbox, garage, or fence
Any of the above could be a sign that your property sustained significant wind or hail damage. Visible damage from the ground is only the tip of the iceberg. Additional damage can be found by a trained professional who will document their findings. A reputable roofing company should be able to show both you and your insurance company a full picture report of the damages.
Finding a missing shingle does not inherently mean that your roof will need to be replaced, but it also does not mean that that one shingle was all that was damaged. We occasionally have customers call and ask us to reinstall a shingle that they found. We cannot reinstall a shingle that has blown off. That shingle has a seal strip that runs down the middle of the shingle. If the shingle has blown off, that seal strip has failed and it cannot function properly again.
Sometimes we also have customers decline a roof inspection because they say that all they need is for a few shingles to be replaced. Again, the visible damage that you can see from the ground may not be all the damage that has occurred. It is not advisable to work with a roofer who will not do a full inspection prior to providing a quote. A series of repairs is usually more expensive in the long run than getting a replacement when that replacement is truly warranted.
What to Do Next
Once you have established that you may need to call a professional, we recommend the following steps:
- Do some research to find a company you trust and would like to do business with. Your insurance provider may tell you that they have a list of preferred vendors. You are under no obligation to use these vendors. Using a pre-approved vendor is in the best interest of your insurance provider, not necessarily your best interest.
- Contact your preferred choice and ask them to come out to do a storm damage inspection. Ask to see pictures of their findings. Note: the company may ask you to sign some kind of form – maybe a contingency agreement or workmanship authorization. Read over it to verify that you are not liable should your insurance company deny your claim. These types of agreements are common.
- Next, contact your insurance provider and let them know you have storm damage. Do not specify which type of damage you have as this can pigeon-hole you into only one type of damage. We have heard stories of a client calling for “hail damage,” but actually having wind damage. The insurance denied the “hail” claim and said the client would need to file a second claim for “wind” damage.
- Your insurance provider will send out an adjuster to assess your property. Your roofer should try to attend this assessment as they will act on your behalf with the insurance company. The roofer will point out damages and generally assist. Ultimately, it is up to the insurance adjuster to deny or approve, but it never hurts to have a representative in your corner. Note: if you have already gotten your insurance approval, you can look for your roofer at this step instead.