DO I HAVE HAIL DAMAGE ON MY ROOF?
Generally, hail must be 1 ¼ inches in diameter (Half-Dollar size)
before it causes damage to heavy composite shingles or wood shake
shingles. Lightweight composite shingles may show damage after being
struck by 1-inch diameter (Quarter size) hail. Only deteriorated
composite shingles will show hail damage due to hail less than 1
inch in diameter, and the hail generally must be more than ¾ inch in
diameter (Dime size).
If your area has received hail large enough to possibly cause
damage to your roof, you may want to examine other objects at ground
level before calling your insurance company or pulling out your
ladder. Hail strong enough to damage a roof will also cause damage
to nearby cars, wood fences, shutters and/or exterior siding. Also a
significant amount of shingle granules appearing at the end of
downspouts may indicate potential damage; however, granule loss, in
and of itself, does not prove hail damage.
An inspection of the roof can reveal other causes that could have
led to damage. There are certain types of damage to consider before
assuming you have hail damage:
Each composite shingle has four layers: a mat composed of glass
fibers or organic materials; asphalt; a filler made of sand and
limestone; and granules made of crushed stone with a ceramic
coating. When the shingle is exposed to the weather, the asphalt
will deteriorate and shrink. The shingle will harden, become brittle
and may demonstrate one or more of the following phenomena:
Cupped or Curled Edges - As
the outer edges of the shingle shrink at a faster rate than the
interior of the shingle, the edges tend to curl up or down.
Craze Cracks - These are
hairline cracks that appear in a random pattern throughout the
Horizontal, Vertical or Diagonal
Cracks (also known as Splitting) - Caused by asphalt
shrinking at opposite ends of the shingle. As these ends shrink, the
middle of the shingle pulls apart, leaving a crack (split).
Splices - Occasionally, a
shingle is created at the place where one end of a roll of mat ends
and the new roll begins. The splicing together of these rolls leaves
a double thickness of mat that does not allow the remaining layers
of the shingle to be properly formed.
Blisters - Heat causes the
asphalt to release gases, which sometimes are trapped by the
surrounding layers. The resulting blisters can then "pop," and leave
pockmarks in the shingle. A blister does not have the characteristic
"bruise" that can be felt in a shingle that was struck by a
Discolored Streaks or Patches
- Lichens or algae can grow on shingles in most weather conditions.
The colors usually seen are green, brown, orange, gray, or a mixture
of those colors.
Diagonal Pattern of Deterioration
- If you see a diagonal pattern of shingle deterioration or
color gradation appearing across three tabs of shingles, it
generally is a result of a manufacturer's defect in the shingle. The
diagonal pattern shows up as a result of the pattern that was used
by the roofer when installing that batch of shingles on your roof.
Rounded or Horseshoe Shaped Areas
- These areas, where the granules are compressed into the coating
asphalt, and the granules themselves appear to have been crushed to
a powder, are caused by hammer damage. Such damage usually occurs
Hail damage will result in a random pattern of strike
marks in various sizes. If you can see a pattern to the damage, it
was not caused by a random phenomenon like hail. In addition,
hailstones will leave a "bruise" in the mat, which your fingers can
usually detect in and around the crater.
If, after surveying the damage, you believe you have a hail
claim, call your insurance company or agent. An adjuster will be
sent out to consider the nature and extent of the damage. Depending
upon the circumstances, the adjuster may or may not require your
physical presence to review the damage. Therefore, you may wish to
prepare a written list of items which also appear to be damaged
(i.e., windows, shutters, siding, fascia, ceilings, satellite
dishes, etc.) for the adjuster's consideration.
You are responsible for taking any steps necessary to prevent
further damage to your property after the hailstorm. If the
necessary repairs must be done before the adjuster can personally
inspect the damage, videotape or take good quality photographs of
the damage. Retain damaged items such as carpet or furniture for the
adjuster to examine before discarding them.
If you have not already done so, find your insurance policy and
become familiar with it. You may find that you have additional
coverage you had forgotten about. Make sure you also are aware of
what the policy requires you to do. And, double-check the policy's
exclusions, so you will know what is not covered by your policy.
In addition, if you have personal property to be replaced, try to
find as many receipts as you can, in order to determine how much you
paid for those items.
After inspecting the damage, the adjuster will prepare an
estimate of the cost to repair your roof. Depending upon the nature
and extent of damage, your adjuster may recommend repair or
replacement. In addition, the adjuster will calculate the Actual
Cash Value (ACV) of your roof immediately prior to the hailstorm. If
your roof was worth 75% of the value of a new roof, you will be
entitled to 75% of the estimated cost to repair or replace the
damaged area. Your deductible will also be taken off of the
estimated ACV amount.
In addition, check your policy's deductible. Some companies
charge a higher deductible for wind and hail damage than for damage
caused by other perils. If you believe repairs to your roof will
cost less than the amount of your deductible, you may not want to
file a claim. Some insurance companies will consider occurrences of
wind and hail damage, even if no money was paid out, when they
review whether to renew your policy.
If, after obtaining estimates from roofing companies, you find
the adjuster's estimate lower than the roofers' estimates, let your
adjuster know. There may be differences in materials or damage that
he or she can explain or resolve for you.
If your policy provides replacement coverage, the insurance
company may pay you the difference between the ACV estimate and the
cost to repair or replace the damaged area or items after the
designated repairs have been made. However, you must make these
repairs within a specific amount of time, usually 180 days. Your
policy will specify any such time requirements.
If, after working with your adjuster and insurance company, you
believe they have not lived up to the provisions in your insurance
policy, you can file a complaint with the Department of Insurance or
contact a personal attorney. Please note, however, that the
Department is an administrative agency and not a court of law.
Therefore, we are not able to decide questions of fact, such as
whether or not damage to your roof was caused by hail or other
factors. However, we can review the company's handling of your claim
to ensure they complied with Texas insurance laws.