WHAT IS CONSIDERED HAIL DAMAGE IN AN INSURANCE CLAIM
It is the season and many areas have been hit in recent years including the Madison WI area and Wisconsin Dells just a few weeks ago.
The question we hear on the phone often is ‘how do I tell if hail has damaged my roof?’. The answer is we really have to inspect the roof, especially as it relates to what is considered hail damage in an insurance claim. However, below are some good guidelines for assessing if you might have a hail damaged roof.
Primary Factors When Determining Hail Damage For Insurance Claims
There are four primary indications insurance adjusters will consider when determining if a roof has been damaged due to hail. Depending on the insurance company and the individual adjuster’s standards, one, some or all of the primary factors may be required to consider a roof damaged by hail.
When inspecting a roof, insurance adjusters will look for hail damage in the following order:
Missing granules are often the first thing insurance adjusters look for when inspecting a roof. They are usually easy to spot. When hailstones strike shingles they can either knock loose the small granules (giving roofs their color) or push them into the shingle itself. Either way, this exposes the black substrate layer below the granules and shows up as a dark circle or scuff.
When closely examining the missing granule spots (described above), an insurance adjuster checks for bruising. If the spot in question feels soft and spongy (like a tomato will bruise when bumped), this indicates asphalt shingle hail damage.
When shingles are hit hard enough, the fiberglass matting an asphalt shingle is built around will break and create cracks completely through the shingles allowing water intrusion. If the “areas” in question are missing granules, show bruising, and have a broken fiberglass mat, the adjuster will most likely see the affected are as damaged by hail.
Assuming you have met the criteria listed above, and a random pattern of similar damage emerges across the roof surface, an adjuster will likely determine it is due to hail damage. If this occurs, adjusters will usually recommend full replacement of your roof to the insurance company.
Don’t Forget Collateral Hail Damage
Important facts an adjuster will consider when making a hail damage determination on your roof can influenced by collateral hail damage. Collateral hail damage is defined by hail hits to other areas of the house including dents to fascia, gutters, vents, valleys, windows, siding, etc.
This is a “big picture” approach many adjusters take when the primary factors for roof hail damage are not present. If obvious, sizeable damage has occurred in other areas around the home, but the shingle mat isn’t completely broken, the existence and extent of collateral damage may sway the approval or denial of the roof insurance claim.