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How to Deal with Hail Damage on Your Home

Storm seasons can leave a mark on your property, with hail damage to the roof and siding creating several different problems. Promptness and the help of a skilled professional allow homeowners to deal with hail damage, minimizing the expense and hassle of storm aftereffects.

Step 1—Identify the Signs of Hail Damage

Hail damage leaves several easy to spot signs on shingles and siding, including:

  • tiny dents, scratches or dings on the gutters, downspouts and air conditioner
  • damaged, bent or broken shingles
  • loose or fallen shingles and trim pieces
  • collection of granules in gutters and along the angles of your roof
  • staining or moisture markings on ceilings inside your home
  • cracking, dents and markings on siding and trim
  • shredded and broken foliage
  • collection of fallen leaves on the property
  • tiny dents and dings in vehicles parked nearby

Watch for signs of hail damage around the neighborhood, as well as on your own property.

Hail affects different types of siding in different ways. Vinyl siding often splits and cracks during a particularly heavy hail storm. You may also notice tiny holes or chips in the siding. Older siding breaks quicker than new pieces, and storms that include colder temperatures leave your vinyl siding vulnerable to hail damage.

Aluminum siding, on the other hand, often holds up better in a hail storm. Instead of cracking and splitting, you're more likely to see small dents and/or dimples in the siding surface.

Step 2—Contact a Professional For Inspection

Be very careful to avoid putting yourself in danger while looking for hail damage. Loose shingles and broken gutter sections offer very little support and you could quickly fall off your roof or place your ladder on an unsteady part of the siding.

Addressing hail damage right away helps to minimize overall damage and reduces your repair bills. Asphalt shingles begin to come apart during a hail storm, leading to degradation and leaking. Once water enters your attic or reaches the roof deck, the damage can spread rapidly and out of sight.

Some homeowners will do a quick inspection and assume their property is clear of any hail damage. Those same homeowners could be surprised when they attempt to sell their home and an inspection reveals previously undetectable damage.

Step 3--Avoid Attempting a DIY Repair

Just as performing the inspection yourself is dangerous, tackling the repair work could result in serious injury. Consider the risk and trust your hail damage repairs to a licensed, experienced professional.

Siding repairs can be tricky, and many DIY enthusiasts create further damage by attempting the repair. A professional siding contractor can spot the damage, remove the broken panels and/or trim and replace those pieces without damaging the balance of your siding.

Shingle repairs follow the same pattern. A knowledgeable contractor will remove the damaged shingles, handle any repairs to the roof deck and replace the roofing to create a solid protective layer you can count on. They will also handle this project in a reasonable time frame, reducing the risk of further damage to the inside of your home.

Step 4--Contact Your Insurance Company

You may want to do this earlier in the process, as your insurance company might have a list of specified, approved contractors. If you have not done this already, now is the time to contact your insurance company and get the ball rolling on a hail damage claim.

Most insurance policies have a storm damage section. Read through the fine print before contacting the broker or agent to understand what you're entitled to and how to go about making a claim. Remember that your policy may include a time limit for claims--just another reason to get on hail damage repairs quickly.

Be aware that damage resulting from delayed hail damage repairs may not be covered in your policy. For instance, avoiding the repairs could result in black mold and deterioration inside your home.

If you do not file a claim for all hail damage related repairs in the specified time period--including any resulting damage caused by the initial issue--your insurance company may cry foul and drop you. The industry term for this delay is "deferred maintenance" and countless homeowners have been left with expensive repair bills due to this situation. Get on your hail damage repairs and be as thorough as possible.

This type of damage is not generally covered in warranties offered by homebuilders, and will not be part of your new shingle warranty or new siding warranty. Storm damage is often severe and difficult to predict. New products are just as susceptible to damage as older materials, and most cases of hail damage repair need to go through your home insurance policy.

Step 5--Be Prepared to Negotiate or Deal With Hassles From Your Insurance Company

Unfortunately, many homeowners experience hassle during the repair stage. They've looked after inspections and found a reliable contractor, but dealings with the insurance company complicate the process and result in dangerous, expensive delays.

Hail damage on the roof could dictate an entire roofing replacement. This project runs in the thousands of dollars, and requires an insurance adjuster's assessment and report. Remember that you can ask to have your contractor present during the meeting, providing you with an unbiased, professional opinion to balance the scales.

Understand your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner and protect yourself and your property by enlisting the help of a trusted, experienced contractor. Deal with your insurance company fairly, keeping in mind they're out to make money and often have the ability to deny claims or dictate repair specifications. Work hard to have your home fully repaired by a trained storm restoration company in the shortest possible time frame.

Hail damage to your home should be handled quickly and with diligence. Roof repairs and siding repairs may be covered by your insurance policy, but it helps to know how to handle that experience in the most efficient way. Always hire an experienced storm restoration company to conduct the inspection and any subsequent hail damage repairs. Protect your living space from hail damage by tackling repairs thoroughly and on time.

Posted by: diana
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