Your roof helps you stay comfortable and safe indoors. It protects you and your family against extreme temperatures and weather conditions. However, this part of your home can only take so much. When a severe storm hits your area, it can experience damage from hail, wind, or debris. If this is the case, you must have your roof checked by a residential roofing professional following a weather event. Keep in mind that not all signs of roof damage are apparent until it has escalated.
Here are essential steps to take if your roof suffers from damage due to a storm.
Make Safety Your Priority
Only go outside when the storm has cleared or when the conditions are safe. Once you have made sure that there are no longer dangers outdoors, go out and check your home’s exterior for damage. Immediately call emergency services if you see fallen power lines, flooring, or electrical hazards.
The roof is usually the most risk-prone area after a storm because it can cause structural problems. It’s also often out of your visual field. From the ground, check your roof for heavy debris, fallen trees, damaged shingles and ice dams if it was a snowstorm.
What to Look For
Heavy winds can potentially knock over trees, harm roofs and break windows. Once the shingles become loose and fall off, the underlayment will become exposed to the harsh elements. If this happens, your home will be susceptible to water damage, which can be costly to deal with.
For those with shingle roofs, check the system for missing, cracked, or curling shingles. Look for granule buildup in gutters if you have a composition roofing system. Rotting and mold are the most common signs of wind damage in wood shingles and shakes. Moreover, in flat roofs, check for tears, cracks, or bubbling of the material.
Hail damage is typically easy to spot. Hailstones will hit your roof and windows and you’ll notice the pieces of ice on the ground. When large enough, the ice pellets can leave dents on your siding and even cause cracks on your windows. Most importantly, they can dent your roof and loosen shingles.
When checking your roof for hail damage, look for gaps in the pattern or exposed areas on the roof. You may also notice some shingles that have fallen on the ground. Hail can also cause cracked, curled, buckling, or dented shingles. Following a hailstorm, see if there’s a buildup of asphalt granules in the gutters. You also shouldn’t forget to check if the flashings are dented or missing.
It can be more difficult to detect water damage than hail or wind damage. When left unaddressed, it can result in leaks, mold and structural problems. You should wait for your roof to leak before having a professional residential or commercial roofing contractor check it.
For your safety, avoid climbing up the roof, especially after a storm as the surface can be slippery. You can actually check for signs of leaks or water damage inside your home. See if your ceilings have dark yellow or brown stains or water spots. Check your walls for cracking, peeling, or bubbling paint or wallpaper. Bring a flashlight with you and look for signs of mold, wood rot, and leak in your attic. A musty smell can develop in your attic around 24 to 48 hours if you have a leaking roof.
Filing a Storm Damage Insurance Claim
After the Storm
If your home has been damaged during the storm, contact a professional to make temporary repairs. Take photos of the damage because they are useful when filing a claim. Don’t throw away anything until your insurance adjuster has assessed your claim. A lot of insurance companies cover storage costs incurred while your home is being repaired.
Consult your insurance agent about the necessary repairs in your home, if you choose to stay. It’s important to keep receipts of any repairs you had done for your claim. If you need to find another place to stay while your home is being restored, keep receipts of your expenses. Homeowners insurance may provide limited coverage for the cost of lodging, meals, utility installation, and transportation.
Filing Your Claim
Many insurers have deadlines for filing a claim. Immediately contact your insurance provider via phone and email. Keep all your contact in a folder, to keep your conversations, dates, and other information organized. Give them the picture documentation and receipts of your expenses.
To make the process easier, start making a home inventory or list of items in every room of your home. Your insurance provider will ask you to make a list of all the affected parts of your home as well as damaged items.
Looking for a Reputable Contractor
Beware of storm chasers after a weather event or contractors who suddenly appear on your doorstep, claiming your roof needs repair. You can avoid them by hiring an established, local roofing company. Obtain at least three quotes from different contractors to get an idea about your roof repair costs. Reputable roofing contractors usually have experience with storm damage, so make sure to ask your roofer to be present during your appointment with the insurance adjuster for a fair assessment.
Dealing With Your Insurance Adjuster
Your insurance company will set an appointment for an adjuster to visit your home and evaluate the roof damage. While you can have a public adjuster do this for you, you’ll need to cover fees associated with hiring one.
Remember that you’re not obligated to agree to the first offer of your adjuster. Attempt to resolve disagreements with your insurer, if there are any. Your insurance provider may give you multiple payments, with the first one being an emergency advance and added living expenses.
If your roof gets affected by a storm, you can always count on Atrium Roofing for fast and efficient repair services. We specialize in residential, commercial, and metal roofing systems. Call us at (210) 807-6767 or fill out our contact form to get a free estimate.