Posted in: Storm Damage
Some roof damage is obvious. If, as a result of a hailstorm, you are standing in several inches of water, surrounded by soggy furniture, with rain pouring down through the ceiling, you most likely have roof damage. However, not all roof damages are that conspicuous. For example, after a hail or rain storm, you may see discoloration or spots on the ceiling or walls, or the ceiling may be sagging where water pooled and accumulated from a roof leak. Also, your attic may smell musty or the insulation may be wet. Any of these clues may indicate a leaky roof.
Some leaks may not be evident immediately and the best way to prevent further property deterioration is by calling a professional local roofing company to assess the condition of your roof. Alternately, you could contact your homeowners’ insurance and request their assessment, in essence opening a claim. An adjuster will come out, evaluate damages to the roof and instruct you on how to proceed with your claim. If you have no roof damage, your claim will be closed.
Since not every homeowner can climb on top of the roof to ascertain hail damage, some take chances and try to “guesstimate” it from the ground level. That is not an accurate method of evaluation. In fact, it is difficult to determine roof hail damage, unless it is most obvious and clearly visible. In many circumstances, if you do not know what to look for, chances are you will overlook hail damage. In fact, even minor hail, though not clearly pronounced, can overtime cause extensive damage both to your home and personal property. The most reliable way to ascertain roof hail damage is to have a qualified professional roofer or insurance adjuster determine the condition of your roof by physically inspecting it.
The most common roofing material in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex is asphalt. Although not always clearly evident, hail damage can strike asphalt shingles and dent them in a way that erodes some of the top layer particles. These granules offer UV protection to the roof and once removed, the shingles are left unprotected, which ages the shingles significantly and contributes to a diminished roof life span. This type of damage can take months or even years to materialize in a leak. However, more immediate and severe hail damage can crack the shingle, letting rain leak through the underlayment, into the attic and from there, into the rest of your house.
Hail can literally displace top layer granules from asphalt shingles, leaving dents or holes that are more susceptible to the elements. At times, the dent is deep enough for the underlayment to show through. One way to tell roof hail damage apart from regular wear is to inspect the roof shortly after a storm. Hail caused dents take time to weather and blend with the rest of the roof.
Asphalt shingle is the most common roofing material in the Dallas area and is also the least expensive repair or replacement option. However, the cost of repairing a leaky roof depends on several factors, which are:
It is best to contact several well-trusted roofing companies in your area for price quotes, but first make sure you check references in addition to verifying business track record with your local the Better Business Bureau.
If roof leaks already caused water damage to the property, calling a reputable local restoration company is best, as they are a one stop shop and can repair your building structure as well as replace your roof. In fact, in many cases, they can also salvage wet and damaged personal belongings and furniture inside your home or business. They will work with your insurance to make sure your claim is filed properly.
Your policy protects you against property loss that you could not reasonably prevent. In fact, that is the premise of the contract and the reason you pay insurance premiums.
However, replacement depends on the actual damage and the way your insurance adjustor defines damage. In general, insurance companies may opt to pay to replace a mildly damaged roof even if leaks are not imminent. The reason is twofold. First, even mild loss to the roof reduces its value and second, the damage compromises its ability to withstand future storms. Moreover, if your roof claim is denied and you sustain future damages as a result, insurance companies expose themselves to more severe losses.
When insurance companies sustain losses from severe storms in a certain geographic area, they may raise premiums across the board to recoup costs. However, they may not raise your individual rates to penalize you for filing a claim. In fact, it is against the law to do so. Keep in mind, though, that an insurance company may decide not to renew your policy at the end of your term for any reason. That should not deter you from filing a claim. Non-renewal goes both ways, as you can shop around, compare prices and decide to go with another insurance provider. In any event, filing a claim if you suspect roof hail damage is certainly within your rights, as that is the reason for having a policy in the first place.
Optimally, a claim should be filed shortly after a hail event. That will prevent further damage and deterioration to both the roof and the property in general. Usually, insurance companies have a certain “time window” after a storm event, when you can reasonably file a claim.
If your insurance company denies your claim, you can work with a roofing company that will represent your case to the insurance adjustor as long as there is just cause for re-evaluation.