Public adjuster, Jack Hanks, explains how you can identify hail damage and take actionable steps towards a claim.
When a hail storm strikes, your property can suffer! The effects of hail on roofs, vehicles, gutters, and aluminum siding can cause lasting damage, especially with larger ice formations. Many people don’t realize that hailstones circulate in the air with powerful updrafts and winds before eventually falling to the ground. Jack Hanks notes that while all sizes of hail can cause damage, stones that are 1-inch or larger make the most impact.
Compared to other natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes, hail storms fall short on the list. However, they are more common, and costly, than people realize. Almost every state experiences hail storms, including Texas, which often ranks as one of the top states to file insurance claims. With storms being so widespread, Jack Hanks recommends staying knowledgeable about insurance policy plans for hail storms and other weather events. Not all policies cover roof damage caused by hail, which can leave you in a bad situation. Always ask your public adjuster if you have questions about coverage or live in an area that is prone to hail storms.
The problem with hail storms is that damage accumulates over time. It may not be noticeable until the roof starts to leak, which can lead to harder repairs or even a total replacement of the roof. After every storm, Jack Hanks recommends inspecting your property for damage. Of course, remember that safety comes first during all routine checks.
Start inspecting your property from the ground up by looking for dents in gutters and downspouts. Any minor damage you find on the ground means there is potentially more damage up above. Jack Hanks notes that since winds are generally higher, the side of your building is more likely to have damage. Don’t forget to check air conditioner units, patio covers, mailboxes, and backyard decks. Other signs of hail damage include torn window screens, fallen tree limbs, and shredded foliage.
Next, it’s time to start inspecting higher off the ground. In addition to checking your roof, look at other aspects of your property such as vents, chimneys, skylights, and similar features. For reflective surfaces, Jack Hanks recommends using chalk to identify harder to see damage spots. If you do identify signs of damage, examine further for potential leaks.
If you have roof shingles, closely inspect them because that will be the most important aspect of a hail insurance claim. Jack Hanks notes that it might be best to call in a professional for shingles, since it is the most difficult type of roof to assess. Plus, there are various types of shingles used for homes. Each material must be assessed differently.
If serious damage is identified, contact your public adjuster who can help assess costs and file a claim for you. A public adjuster is your best advocate and can help you get the most out of your insurance claim. If you choose not to use a public adjuster, Jack Hanks recommends contacting multiple contractors to get estimates of repair costs.