Yes, absolutely… but let’s explain why.
Hail damage isn’t always immediately visible, and the extent of the damage can be difficult to assess without a professional inspection. Hail can cause considerable damage to roof shingles in several ways:
- Bruising: Hailstones can cause small, dark indentations on the shingle surface, often called bruises. These might not be immediately noticeable, but over time, they can lead to the shingle material degrading or cracking, resulting in leaks.
- Cracking: Larger or more intense hailstones can cause cracks in the shingles. These cracks can grow, particularly with weather changes and further exposure, leading to leaks.
- Granule Loss: Asphalt shingles are covered with granules that protect the asphalt layer from UV radiation and weathering. Hail can knock these granules loose, leaving the asphalt exposed. Over time, this can lead to accelerated shingle aging and, potentially, leaks.
- Exposing or Loosening of Fasteners: Strong hail can dislodge fasteners, making the shingles less secure and more prone to wind damage.
- Structural Damage: Extreme hailstorms can cause severe damage, including puncturing or shattering shingles. This damage leaves the roof structure and the underlying roofing exposed and susceptible to water infiltration and mold growth.
Having your roof inspected after a significant hailstorm is essential to prevent minor damage from becoming a major issue.
What Factors Impact The Likelihood of Hail Damage?
Several factors can influence the extent of hail damage to a roof:
- Hailstone Size: Generally, the larger the hailstone, the greater the potential for damage. Small hailstones might not cause noticeable damage, while larger ones can cause significant dents, cracks, or even puncture the roofing material.
- Hailstone Density and Shape: Hailstones can vary in density and shape, influencing the type and extent of damage they cause. For example, a hailstone with spikes or jagged edges can cause more damage than a smooth one of the same size.
- Velocity/Speed: The speed at which hailstones fall can also significantly affect the damage they cause. Higher speed increases the force of the impact, causing more serious damage.
- Wind Speed and Direction: The force and direction of the wind during a hailstorm can influence the speed and angle at which hailstones strike the roof, which can affect the severity and location of the damage.
- Type and Age of Roofing Material: Roofing materials have different resistance levels to hail damage. For example, metal roofing is generally more hail-resistant than asphalt shingles. Additionally, older roofing materials are more susceptible to damage because they may have become brittle or weakened over time.
- Roof Slope: The angle of your roof can impact the degree of damage. Steeper roofs may experience less damage as the hail tends to bounce off, while flatter roofs may take a direct hit.
- Barriers: The presence of natural or man-made barriers such as trees, neighboring buildings, or even overhangs from the same building can shield parts of the roof from hail, thus reducing damage.
- Temperature: Hailstones formed in colder temperatures are typically harder and can cause more damage.
- Shingle Quality: High-quality shingles, particularly those designed with hail resistance in mind, will generally hold up better under hailstorm conditions than lower-quality alternatives.
This is why you’ll see some homes get new roofs after a hail storm but others that are inspected do not. Additionally, the brand of home insurance and coverage will determine the likelihood that your roof is repaired or replaced after a hail storm.
Will Insurance Pay For A New Roof After a Hail Storm?
Assessing hail damage on a roof often involves a systematic examination to identify the signs of damage and quantify them in a standard, reproducible way. Here is a general overview of how this process works:
- Test Squares: The roof inspector will often define test squares, typically a 10-foot by 10-foot area (often referred to as a square in roofing terms, equaling 100 square feet) on different roof sections (usually in all four cardinal directions: North, East, South, and West). These areas are carefully inspected to identify and count the number of hail strikes.
- Counting Hail Strikes: The inspector will count the number of discernible hail hits within each test square. The density of hits (number of hits per square) is crucial in determining whether repair or replacement is needed. As a general guideline, many insurance companies consider 8-10 or more hail hits in a 10×10 foot area as indicative of significant damage and potentially grounds for a total roof replacement.
- Identifying Damage Types: Hail damage can take different forms, such as bruising, cracking, or loss of granules in asphalt shingles. These types of damage are identified and recorded. Inspectors will typically measure the diameter for bruises to understand the size of the hailstone causing the damage.
- Evaluating Severity: Not all hail strikes are damaging. A trained inspector can differentiate between cosmetic damage (such as minor dents that don’t affect the roof’s integrity or lifespan) and functional damage (damage that can lead to leaks or shorten the roof’s lifespan).
- Photographic Evidence: Inspectors often take pictures of the damage for documentation purposes. This can help in discussions with the insurance company, especially if there are disagreements about the extent or severity of damage.
- Final Report: The inspector combines all of the information into a final report, including the number of hail strikes per test square, the types and severity of the damage, and recommendations for repair or replacement.
Remember that each insurer has slightly different processes, counts of hail strikes per square, or other standards, and local building codes can also affect decisions about when a roof needs to be repaired or replaced.
As a homeowner, your best course of action is to work closely with a reputable, experienced local roofing company to ensure that your roof is properly inspected. Your roofer will be familiar with each insurance company, and their requirements, and can advise you on whether to pursue your claim.