Will my insurance pay to replace my roof if there is wind damage?
There are innumerable ways your home can be damaged. You may immediately think of fire and storm damage like a tornado or hurricane. However, there can be water damage from a broken washing machine or ice maker line, vandalism, sinkhole, hidden decay, hail damage, tear gas (yes, tear gas), sewage back-up, damage from blasting nearby or even from vibrations sent through the earth by heavy equipment being used in the vicinity.
What if I Suspect Wind or Hail Damage?
If you suspect your roof has been subjected to high winds or hail, you need to have it examined by a qualified and experienced roofer immediately. You can have severe damage to the tiles or shingles on your house even if no tiles or shingles are actually blown off the house. Many roofs look absolutely fine from the ground even though they have been totally compromised by storm damage.
Shingles have a sealing strip between them. Many times, wind will lift the shingles and break the sealing strip during a storm. After the storm, the shingles simply lay back down in place – looking fine. If that sealing strip is compromised, then your roof likely needs to be replaced. This sealing strip is critically important to the integrity, functionality and longevity of your roof. If the sealing strip is compromised you roof will likely start leaking within a year or two of the wind event. That is why you need to have it examined immediately, before it starts leaking.
Likewise, tile roofs suffer from a similar plight. The tiles themselves on a tile roof system are simply decorative. The water barrier for a tile roof is the underlayment – the paper below the tiles. In a strong wind, the wind can “chatter” the tiles on your roof. This means the wind gets up under the tiles and repeatedly “jiggles” them up and down during a storm. After the storm, the tiles look fine. However, during the storm the chattering tiles have also “jiggled” the nails securing them to the underlayment causing the holes around the nails to open up wider than they should. This allows water to seep in around the nail holes throughout the roof. As with shingles roofer, many times, the water damage does not begin to show up for a year or two from the wind event.
If your home is subjected to hail, you should also have your roof examined by a roofer. Some hail damage is easy to spot – like when it knocks holes in your pool screen, or dents the metal or lead boots on your roof. But, just as significant is hail damage that can only be seen close up. Often when hail hits a roof it causes what is known as “degranulation” of the shingles. Degranulation can only be seen on close inspection by someone who knows what they are looking for. When hail causes degranulation the integrity of the shingle is compromised, and the serviceable life of the shingle is significantly shortened – all of which warrant roof replacement under your homeowners insurance policy.
Choosing a Roofer
If your roofer identifies wind or hail damage, then call your homeowners insurance company. Do not delay. There are certain time limits set forth in your policy that may prevent a recovery if you wait too long after discovering a problem. Ask your insurance company to send an adjuster out to inspect your home. Make sure the adjuster coordinates the visit with your roofer so that the roofer can show the adjuster the damage.
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