Should I Call My Insurance Company?
The roofing vultures are circling! They are constantly knocking on your door and littering your porch with a never-ending supply of literature. Unfortunately, when even pea-sized hail hits, so does an endless supply of fliers and salesmen!
The questions to ask yourself are 1) Do you really have damage? 2) Should you call your insurance company?
The Adjuster’s Perspective: First, let me give you a little perspective on what true hail damage looks like. Shingles are composed of a fiberglass mat, saturated with asphalt and covered with granulated aggregate. The aggregate gives the shingle color, but more importantly, it protects the asphalt material from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Once the aggregate is compromised (that is, damaged) and the sun has access to the asphalt, the lifespan of the shingle can be severely compromised.
The insurance adjustor is looking for “bruises”. A bruise is a spot where the aggregate is missing and the asphalt is visible. Sometimes they are large and easy to identify but other times they are small and you need an expert to recognize them. The adjustor will draw a 10’ x 10’ test square. Depending on the company, he is looking for eight to ten bruises in the square. If he finds this type of damage, that slope is totaled, much like a car is totaled when there is sufficient damage. He will test one area on each side (slope) of your roof. Most adjusters will total the entire roof if they find damage on two to three sides, but the bruising must be apparent. (Please note that white marks on the shingles are an indication that hail hit, but is not indicative of damage.)
The Homeowner’s Perspective: If you have been at home during a hail storm, you know that it can be pretty distressing. You were probably hoping your windows did not break and your plants would survive. The noise is truly deafening!
So, how do you know if the hail that came into your area caused damage? Generally, Houston does not experience hail that is sufficiently powerful or large enough to cause much damage. Unless the hail impact is unusually hard, it would need to be at least the size of a quarter or larger to do so. What can give you clues that it might be time to call your insurance company? Let me start by saying, for your own safety, I do not recommend you climb on your roof unless you are confident in your ability. (Even the most experienced contractor sometimes finds it is much more difficult to climb off than it was to climb on!) There are much safer methods to detect possible hail damage. For example, look at the white plastic trim on your windows. Is it chipped or broken? Do you feel dents when you run your hand up and down the downspouts of your gutter system? If the answer to these questions is “no”, then it is doubtful that your roof is damaged. Additionally, after the storm you will probably see aggregate on your driveway and in the gutters. This by itself is not necessarily a sign of hail damage.
If surrounding neighbors have significant hail damage but your adjustor says you do not, it would be a good idea to call an experienced roofing contractor to get a “second opinion”. The key here is to call someone who truly understands hail damage that would be covered by your insurance. Some salesmen just want the opportunity to get your insurance adjustor out to your home in an attempt to strong-arm them into paying. At Colony Roofing & Exteriors we offer free and honest inspections. In addition to being a roofing contractor for over twenty-five years I am also a licensed insurance adjustor. If you don’t have damage, I will tell you. I have a well-earned reputation of integrity and roofing expertise. If you have damage, I will be happy to meet with your adjustor to help you settle your claim. I have worked with insurance companies for many years and they have come to know and trust me.