Hail damage is one of the most insidious forms of storm damage; it's hard to detect, and many homeowners are either unaware that their roof has been damaged by hail or decide to ignore it because it does not seem like a large problem. However, if you have had a hailstorm recently, especially if the hail was around the size of a golf ball or larger, it's important to inspect your roof promptly and call your insurance company so that they can have it inspected as well. This is especially important in areas where hailstorms are infrequent, as roofs in these areas are not built to withstand the impact of hailstones and are more likely to suffer storm damage as a result. If you have recently experienced a hailstorm, here are the steps you need to follow to check for damage and what you need to do if you find damage resulting from hail.
Inspect Your Roof For Signs Of Damage
If you can see indentations that the hail made in your shingles from ground level, then it's pretty simple to tell that your roof has been damaged by hail. Unfortunately, it's not always that easy to detect the damage that hail does to roofing shingles. Often, you'll have to get up on your roof and closely inspect the shingles. The main source of damage occurs when hail strikes the shingle and knocks off some of the granular coating that protects the shingle from UV light. This can be very subtle; look for spots on your shingles that appear discolored or slightly smoother than the rest of the shingle. You can also feel the shingles to find areas where they have been damaged by hail. When the granular coating has been torn off, the shingle will feel smooth to the touch, similar to natural stone. You can also check your gutters and the areas around the eaves of your roof to see if any granules landed there to determine if your roof has been damaged.
Call Your Insurance Company Immediately
You'll need to call your homeowner's insurance and have them send a claims adjuster out to inspect the damage as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect to do this since hail damage is so hard to spot and usually doesn't cause any leaks in the roof. When the granules are torn away from the shingle, the underlying asphalt is exposed to UV light from the sun. This degrades the asphalt very quickly, causing it to become brittle and weak. In the heat of summer, heat causes your shingles to expand, which typically results in the weakened asphalt splintering and causing pieces of the shingle to break away. That's when most homeowners notice that they were damaged by the hailstorm a few months ago, because that's when it becomes obvious that the roof is damaged and when the leaks begin. Unfortunately, claims adjusters can easily tell the difference between recent hail damage and older hail damage because of how degraded the asphalt is due to the effects of UV light; that fact, in addition to the fact that they will know if any hailstorms have swept through the area and caused storm damage to houses recently, means that you will normally have your claim denied for failing to promptly fix damage resulting from hail. That makes it very important to call your insurance company right away if you suspect hail damage so that you can have your roof inspected and repaired.
Consider Installing Hail-Resistant Shingles If You Have An Older Roof
Asphalt shingles are rated according to their ability to resist impact, on a range from Class 1 to Class 4, with Class 4 shingles having the greatest ability to withstand hail damage. Impact-resistant asphalt roofing is a relatively recent development, having only come onto the market within the past ten years, so older roofs are much more vulnerable to hail damage than newer ones. Even impact-resistant shingles begin to lose their ability to withstand damage after ten or fifteen years. If your roof has suffered hail damage and you need to replace it, ask your insurance company about replacing the roof with impact-resistant Class 4 shingles. They are a little more expensive than regular shingles, but snce installing these shingles lower the amount of claims that insurance companies receive for storm damage, insurance companies often offer premium credits for having this type of shingle on your roof.