It may not be as spectacular as flooding, tornadoes, or hurricanes, but hail is consistently one of the most damaging weather phenomena every year. With estimates of damage in the billions of dollars, property owners face losses that only seem to grow with each passing year. Pennsylvania ranks among the top states in the country for hail damage claims and last year there were over 50 reported cases of hail occurrences, according to NOAA.
The aftermath of a hailstorm is often readily apparent, causing extensive damage to your roof, siding, exterior walls, and any detached sheds or outbuildings. There are important steps that you should take to ensure damage to your home is properly assessed, reported, and repaired.
Don’t Wait to Inspect Your Property
If you have experienced a hailstorm of any magnitude, it is important to pay attention to the possible signs of hail damage. Regardless of whether or not damage is suspected, you should inspect your property for any damage. Many homeowners wait or ignore hail damage which can end up costing them a lot more in the long run. When it comes to your home, it’s always better to be safe than sorry so don’t wait to check the interior and exterior of your property. And for your overall safety, consult a professional. Licensed restoration companies are trained to perform damage inspections. Here are some basic tips:
- Check your home’s exterior for damage, including checking for dimples or dents in siding (a common form of hail damage).
- Check for leaks in the attic, and water damage on the ceilings.
- Inspect the ground for pieces of roof shingles. This may mean your roof has sustained damage.
- Check the shingles, the gutters and the overhangs. Even a small hole can create devastating damages, so treat any lost shingles seriously.
- Visually inspect exterior exhaust fans, ducts and the area where your home’s siding meets the roof.
- Check your home’s windows for any chips or cracks.
Get Photographic Evidence
Something to think of before you are hit by hail in the first place is establishing some basic photo documentation of your home. By having “before” pictures, you make it much easier for damages to be assessed. After a hailstorm, taking pictures should go hand in hand with your entire hail damage inspection. Take pictures of any indicators of hail damage, both on and around your home. Use chalk to mark areas of impact, and also to make dents that are not easily seen more apparent. To do this, run the chalk sideways along the dent.
You will ultimately rely on the professional expertise of the restoration company and insurance adjuster in assessing damage, but documentation could provide valuable proof for your future potential claim.
Contact a Restoration Company
Your best bet is to bring in a property damage restoration specialist who can assess the damage, provide you with estimates for both the cost and time frame of the repairs, and perform the repairs. An experienced restoration service provider such as Xtreme Home Improvement will work with your insurance company to ensure the process runs smoothly. We will document all the property damage and it will be provided for your insurer to support your claim.
File a Claim
Homeowners insurance generally covers damage from hailstorms, but there is a time limit when it comes to reporting damage from a storm. Contact your agent or insurer to ensure you know the time limit for any claims. Waiting too long can weaken your claim so file promptly. Any damage that occurs because of delays on your end are not covered. For instance, if hail damage causes softening of shingles that eventually leads to more major problems with your roof leaking, you are going to have trouble making your case if you don’t do your part and both report and mitigate the damage early on.
Once you file a claim, your insurer will send an adjuster to inspect your home and determine the extent of the qualified damages. Skilled insurance adjusters can tell when hail damage occurred but if their assessment is different from your contractor’s, it may be appropriate to arrange for the two parties to meet to discuss the discrepancies.
If your home is damaged in a hailstorm, do not panic. You may have broken windows, siding with dents or holes or a roof that looks shredded. Take a breath and remember, this is why you are insured! A simple phone call will begin the process of fixing the damages and bringing your home back to the condition it was before the storm.