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Adjusting

Common Questions About Hail Damage

March 15, 2022

March 11, 2022


Hail does not just affect your roof. It can also cause damage to your gutters, downspouts, cars, fences, windows, and the screens on your windows. Homeowners usually average about $12,000 worth of damage from hail storms, but this can vary depending on the severity of the storm. 

Take a look at this article from State Farm to learn more about their hail storm damage data from 2020. 

We asked a seasoned adjuster about the basics of hail damage to help you with this ongoing season of hail damage. This will help you when you are inspecting the policyholder’s home.

1. How do you tell if you need a new roof after a hailstorm?

The methods insurance companies use can vary but if a majority of the roof is damaged there's a chance you'll need the entirety of the roof replaced. The roof will be inspected by the adjuster, who will determine the amount of hail damage on each roof slope. Based on the amount of damage, the adjuster will be able to determine if parts, or all, of the roof will need to be replaced. 

2. Does hail always damage a roof?

Just because there is a hail storm does not mean that your roof will be damaged. Many types of shingles can withstand some hail without damage; it depends on the severity of the storm, size of the hail, the type of shingles, and the age of the shingles. If your roof is older, then it will be more susceptible to hail damage.

Generally, a 3-tab shingle can be damaged more easily because this shingle is lower quality. Many roofing companies do not recommend 3-tab shingles because the initial savings will not justify the decrease in protection. Even small hail storms can cause damage to this type of shingle. Investing in a better shingle is worth the extra cost because it can protect you from more severe hailstorms! 

3. Can hail damage a metal roof? 

A metal roof can be more susceptible to hail damage, unless you have a high quality metal roof, like steel instead of copper or aluminum. A low quality metal roof can be damaged by small hail storms. When a metal roof is damaged from hail, it will create small dents in the metal. 

As you can see in this image, the dents in the roof are small but easy to spot! 

4. What is blistering on a roof?

Blistering on your shingles happens when the shingle heats up and causes it to bubble. This can cause the asphalt to pop out and can cause holes. Sometimes this can be mistaken for hail damage. Remember that hail causes the granules to be pushed in and does not cause a hole where they fall out.

In most cases, blistering is caused by a lack of ventilation in the attic. If you do not have proper ventilation in your attic it can void the manufacturer's warranty for the shingle. In other cases, it can be a defect in the shingle. 

This photo shows a hole in the shingle caused by blistering.

5. How do you protect your roof from hail?

The best way to protect your roof is to invest in a high quality shingle that can prevent most damage. To read more about the best shingles to use click here. Most warranties will cover 30–50 years, but 3-tab shingles usually are warrantied for 20–30 years because they are much thinner and more susceptible to being damaged.

6. How can I identify hail damage? 

If you had a hail storm come through and you think you may have damage on your roof, you can inspect other areas of your home. Check your fence boards, gutters, downspouts, window screens, or your cars. If you have found damage in these areas, you may have damage to your roof. 

Hail damage to a roof that causes a mark is called a bruise or a fracture. There is no particular color from the damage, but you may see that it is darker or black from the asphalt underneath the granules. The granules will be pushed into the asphalt of the shingle and create a somewhat circular dent and fracture out in some cases. It is not a perfect circle; we will touch on this more later. You will also be able to see the asphalt underneath the granules.

Adjusters, remember to inspect the gutters, windows, and the fence boards to ensure that there is hail damage to other parts of the home. 

Notice in this photo that the damage has a circular shape but fractures out. 

7. How can you spot fake hail damage? 

This tends to be pretty obvious for the most part. Most of the time, people will use a hammer because of its circular shape.

When a hammer is used to create damage on the roof, the damage will be inconsistent. In the more dangerous parts of the roof, you will see that there is no damage. Hail doesn’t stay away from specific parts of the roof! The hammer also makes an almost too perfect circle. Hail varies in size and how it hits the roof. No hail is a perfect circle and the damage will not look the same for each hit. Also, the force of the hammer causes the granules to break up in smaller pieces when it is pushed into the asphalt. 

Another sign is to inspect other areas on the property. Is there damage to the fence boards, cars, windows, and gutters? If the damage to the roof is not consistent in these factors, it is probably not hail damage.

As you can see in this image, a hammer was used to create this. The edge of the hammer is used to create these marks and is not consistent with traditional hail damage.

8. How do you approach the policyholder? 

The best thing to do if the damage doesn’t indicate hail damage would be to let the policyholder know that the damage on their roof is not consistent with hail damage. Then the questions will start to come. You can then explain that there is no damage to the other parts of the home and show them what hail damage looks like. Stick to the facts and stay calm when explaining this.

Thanks for reading, we hope this was informative. Good luck out there! 


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