What do I do When Hail Damages my Roof?

Davinci hail damaged wood shake roof
September 10, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.

By DaVinci Roofscapes.

Experienced roofer Erika Smith shares insight on what homeowners can do when hail damages their roof.

It takes only 10 minutes. A fast, unexpected hail storm pounds down hard. Suddenly you’re left with a pock-marked roof and months of headaches. 

It’s okay. We’ve got insightful tips from an experienced insurance agent and a qualified roofer to help get you through this problem. 

Take a deep breath 

Start by reviewing your insurance policy. More than likely, if you live in an area with the potential for hail damage, you may be covered. According to insurance veteran Brian Powers, here are some key things that people in the industry generally say to look for in your policy: 

  • Make certain wind/hail are covered and there is no exclusion.  
  • Determine what your wind/hail deductible is. Sometimes this is different from your other perils. Your main deductible may be $1,500, but wind/hail may be $2,500 or a percentage (i.e. 2%) of the value of your dwelling. 
  • Make sure you have the replacement cost for the roof in your policy. This means that if there is damage (not normal wear and tear) that your policy will replace the roof, not only pay the depreciated amount.  

Listen to an experienced roofer 

“After a rough storm, I always recommend a property owner contact a qualified contractor,” says Erika Smith, founder and owner of The Roofing Revolution in Denver. “That roofer can assess the roof damage before you file an insurance claim. 

“If the assessment shows significant roof damage from hail or another type of storm, that’s when the homeowner should contact their insurance agent.” 

Get your notepad and make the call 

It’s possible that the first call to the insurance company will be confusing and emotional. Tell your story clearly. Be ready with the exact date and time when the storm hit. This way the agent can research storms in your area on that day. 

Be prepared to answer questions from the agent about the age of your home and your roof. At the same time, Erika suggests asking a few questions of your own: 

  • What is the deductible amount on my policy for a replacement roof? 
  • Do I have a Replacement Cost Value (RCV), Actual Cost Value (ACV) or Roof Service Payment Schedule (RSPS) policy?  
  • Does my policy have any pertinent exclusions, such as soft metals or decking (sheathing)? 
  • Does my policy allow me to select the contractor of my choice? 
  • What is the loss assessment process with my insurance carrier? 
  • What are the loss settlement provisions in the policy? 

“About 85% of the roofing work we perform is through an insurance claim,” says Erika. “So we’re very familiar with the claim process. Find a roofer who works with insurance claim processes to make your life easier.” 

Be ready with your answers 

What type of questions might your insurance agent ask you? According to Brian, there are many. 

“We immediately get into whether or not the roof is leaking,” says Brian, a licensed property and casualty adjuster out of Georgia. “If it’s in a condition where it’s causing damage to the contents of the house, we need to know. I’m also interested to learn if they’ve had a local roofer come out to inspect the roof, and what they have to say. For example, how many missing shingles or sections are there? What is the initial damage report?” 

Once the preliminary conversations are held, the insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to the project. This person will visit the home to personally inspect the damage to the roof. (See “What Homeowners Need to Know About Working with Insurance Adjusters”) 

Know your role 

At this point, the field of players has expanded. Roofing Revolutions’ Erika says it’s important to understand that everyone has a role to play in a roof assessment and claim.  

  • A policyholder (homeowner) has the role of understanding the insurance policy, and which sections are applicable to the claim. The policyholder is the bridge that communicates with the contractor and the insurance adjuster.  
  • A contractor’s role is to identify damage to the roof. Then they create a written scope of work that follows local building codes and manufacturer’s installation instructions. 
  • An insurance adjuster’s role is to assess the damage(s). Next they apply the insurance policy language to the claim while following code and manufacturer guidelines. They do this while indemnifying the policyholder’s property to pre-loss condition(s). 
  • An insurance agent’s role is to advocate for the policyholder to ensure they are properly indemnified per the policy that they purchased. 

Upgrading to a composite roof 

After the insurance adjuster’s report comes back, the policyholder will either be approved or denied for a claim. If denied, it may be that there wasn’t “enough” storm damage to warrant a new roof replacement. Or, the roof was seen to only be experiencing normal wear and tear or age-related weathering. Here’s a key tip. It’s important to know that a homeowner can always request a second review by the insurance company. 

If a claim has been approved, homeowners can then work with a contractor on a roof replacement. Ideally this one will hold up better if Mother Nature decides to come pounding again on the roof! Composite slate and shake roofing tiles, like those from DaVinci Roofscapes, are Class 4 impact resistant. They hold up to even the fiercest hail storms

“Oftentimes a product like DaVinci is considered an upgrade from what a homeowner previously had on the roof,” says Erika. “It costs a little more. So we offer them financing support for the difference after the insurance money. This way homeowners feel comfortable investing in a roofing upgrade that will help protect their home in the future.” 

Investing for the future 

Upgrading to composite roofing can be a smart long-term investment. As Erika points out, many homeowners have insurance discounts from carriers because the composite roofing is Class A and Class 4 rated.   

“The Roofing Revolution performs an ROI with the property owner,” says Erika. “We show them if the upgrade is worth the investment over ‘x’ amount of years. Or it can be on how long the property owner plans to own the property.  

“There’s also the aesthetics to consider. The DaVinci products add tremendous curb appeal to a property. This helps increase both the immediate and long-term value of the home.” 

For more information on roofs that withstand hail, see Hail Story with a Happy Ending and Hail Headaches Eliminated with Composite Slate.  

Have a question? AskARoofer.

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory. 

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