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Roofing and Hail Damage
Roofing Blog

Roofing and Hail Damage

Hail damage is a frequently overlooked problem which initiates roof deterioration and causes interior leakage problems for homeowners that continue to increase in scope and severity over time unless properly repaired. While hail storms may at first seem like a rare occurrence in a warm-weather climate such as Florida, that is in fact not the case. Typically, several such storms impact the Flagler, Volusia, and St. Johns county areas each year, causing multiple types of exterior damage to homes, particularly to roof coverings.

Unlike wind, which can tear off roofing materials, hail impacts them in less visible ways. This makes it more difficult to detect, mainly because it requires close inspection, which homeowners rarely do, and a knowledge of the signs of hail, which few have unless they are skilled in roofing construction or inspection. Here I will discuss the signs of hail damage, their impact to overall roof integrity, and the steps that should be taken to protect the home after a hail storm. 

Hail impacts different roofing materials in different ways. Asphalt shingle roofs, the most common type of roof covering, are most susceptible to hail damage. Even small sized hail will impact asphalt shingles, causing bruising, pitting, and fracturing. Larger hail only causes more significant damage. The most insidious effect of hail on shingles is granule loss. Granules are the sand-like material, made of crushed stone and minerals, that covers all shingles. Once granules are lost, shingles lose their integrity and become susceptible to water damage, which eventually leads to leaky roofs. This process can take several months, but inevitably over time compromised shingles let in more and more water, which first damages the plywood sheathing of the roof, then leaks into the attic, and eventually appears as water stains on interior ceilings.

Tile roofs, both clay and concrete, are hardier against hail storms, but they are still often damaged by hail. Even small hail storms impact tile roofs. The damage in this case appears as crescent shaped fractures at the edges of individual tiles, as star-shaped fractures radiating from the point of impact, and occasionally entire shattered tiles. Tiles compromised in these ways can let in water during following rainstorms, damaging roof sheathing and eventually causing interior leaks. Subsequent weather events only exacerbate these issues as existing fractures grow larger and the tiles become less effective at protecting the structure. Metal roofs are strongest against hailstorms, and while large hail may dent the metal covering, the roof itself is not often compromised.

Another major problem with hail damage is that it is rarely, if ever, localized. Small repairs are not enough to restore a hail damaged roof to its previous intact condition. When a hailstorm hits, the slope(s) facing the storm are often compromised in their entirety. When this is the case, the roof must be replaced in part or across the whole structure to prevent further damage and future leaks. It is important to catch these conditions as soon as possible, because the longer a hail-damaged roof remains that way, the larger the chance of rotten and damaged sheathing and interior leaks, which cause additional expenses to the homeowner. Interior leaks are particularly problematic because left untreated they can invite mold growth, which becomes a health hazard and requires mold remediation services.

There are several ways to spot hail damage. The easiest, of course, is to hire a professional to conduct a roof inspection, however, there are some signs that can be spotted from the ground. Soft metals are often dented by hail. Thus, gutter downspouts, overhead garage doors, and metal fencing show the clearest evidence of past hail storms. Stucco and siding covering exterior walls may also present evidence of impact, particularly in thicker and softer areas such as the trim around windows, doors, and decorative aspects such as quoning on the corners of the structure. Finally, pitting and fracturing on roofing materials can sometimes be spotted from the ground. For instance, asphalt shingles with significant granule damage can seem to shine or sparkle in direct sunlight.

If you suspect that you have hail damage it is important that you consult a roofing professional to protect your home. At Florida’s Best Roofing we would be happy to come out and give you a free estimate. In the case of hail damage, it is also important that you contact your home insurance company. Home insurance policies cover hail damage to roofs, other exterior surfaces, gutters, fences, and any interior damage that may result from compromised exteriors. Make sure that all damage is documented by you, the contractor, or by an insurance adjuster before repairs are made, as doing otherwise may prevent you from getting a full payout. Also, always save all repair invoices after having work done on your property. We at Florida’s Best Roofing will work with you and your insurance company through the entire process to restore your home to its pre-storm condition and prevent further damage. Make sure to pay attention to weather patterns and how they affect your home. Catching damage earlier is always best and if you are in doubt, do not hesitate to call a professional. 

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home-insurance
Roofing Blog

Will my home insurance cover repairs to my roof?

As a homeowner you have a home insurance policy to help protect your home from damages and help bring it back to its original condition after such damages occur. Home insurance policies provide coverage for certain events, called perils, and often exclude others: these are all specified in your home insurance policy. 

When it comes to roofs, home insurance policies typically cover damages caused by weather. Most frequently, this involves wind or hail damage, although other perils like lightning strikes, tornadoes, and fire are also covered. Indirect damage is also covered, for instance, in the case that wind downs a tree which falls on the roof of a house. On the other hand, some kinds of roof damage are specifically not covered by home insurance. This includes improper installation of roof components, material failure due to manufacturing defects, and normal wear and tear. Wear and tear occurs as a roof ages and affects different materials in different ways. For example, shingles become brittle and metal corrodes. This is why roofs have a limited life expectancy which is typically 15-25 years for a shingle roof and 40-50 years for a tile roof.

Another important part of insurance coverage in places like Florida, and along the eastern seaboard in general, is named storms. Damage caused by named tropical storms and hurricanes is covered in a particular way. Every insurance policy includes a deductible–an amount that the insurance company expects the policy holder to pay out of pocket. This is most frequently $500 or $1000, but can be higher. Damage caused by named storms, however, usually carries its own deductible, separate from all other perils, like a typical windstorm or hail storm. It is referred to as the “hurricane deductible” and is usually 2% of the Dwelling A limit on a policy. The hurricane deductible is always clearly stated in a policy alongside the other perils deductible.

In the case that your roof is damaged by one of the events outlined above and listed in your policy, your insurance will help you pay for your roof repair or even a roof replacement if the damage is extensive or if the roof cannot be effectively repaired, in compliance with state building codes, without replacing the whole roof. To get this process started you will need to call your home insurance company and file a claim as soon as the damage occurs. In Florida, state law says that a policyholder has three years from the date of loss, the insurance term for the date on which damage occurs, to file a claim. It is best, however, to file your claim as soon as you notice damage to your roof in order to prevent further damage in the form of leaks.

Interior leaks are the most obvious evidence of roof damage, but it is best to catch roof damage before these occur. This saves cost down the road and prevents situations that cause homeowners stress and anxiety. It is also important to keep in mind that if interior leaks do occur, you must tell your insurance company about these when calling in the claim, as this damage is also covered under home insurance policies. After the claim is called in, the insurance company will send out an adjuster to assess the damage to both the roof and the interior, if there is any. It is important to set an appointment with the adjuster at a time when someone can meet them, so that the adjuster is able to enter the home and effectively document the evidence of the damage. This is crucial since the insurance company will not pay to repair damage unless they have documentation. 

It is frequently difficult or impossible to see roof damage if it has not progressed up to an interior leak. Things like missing or creased shingles and loose or cracked tiles go unnoticed by most homeowners since people do not often spend much time on top of their roofs. Furthermore, even if a homeowner notes evidence of roof damage, he or she will have a hard time pinpointing the exact date on which this damage occurred, unless it follows directly after a hurricane or tropical storm. And yet, this date is crucial when reporting a claim, since claims with incorrect dates of loss are typically denied. 

So how do you determine if your roof has damage covered under your insurance policy and the date on which this damage occurred? The easiest and most reliable way is to call a professional. A roofing contractor will be able to identify damage on your roof and pinpoint its cause. At Florida’s Best Roofing, we will inspect your roof for free and advise you whether or not the damage to your home will be covered by your insurance policy. We will also help you figure out the date on which it occurred based on its age and tracked weather patterns in your area. We will also meet with your insurance adjuster to make sure that all evidence of damage is noted. Florida’s Best Roofing services all your roofing needs in Palm Coast and offers free estimates.

Call us today at 386-263-7906.

Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc is a Palm Coast-based roofing contractor, providing professional roofing services in Flagler and Volusia County Areas.

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