When it rains, it pours. Especially in Florida. Known as the hurricane capital of the USA, the Sunshine State is renowned for named storms and even pop-up thunderstorms that occur on a daily basis during the long hot summer. Any squall can pack a punch that combines wind, rain, and hail. If you’ve ever hunkered down to weather a hurricane, then you know the aftermath of a storm can leave downed trees and power lines in its wake, along with a fair share of property damage.
At RoofCrafters, we've serviced homes in the Southeast for nearly 3 decades, so we know just how bad these storms can get. We've even had storm damage done to our own roofs, and the stress of what to do next is enough to make anyone go crazy. That's right, Mother Nature spares no one. Not even the experts.
All of this being said, should you find yourself in a situation where your home sustainsroof storm damage, do you know what to do to minimize the damage and how to file a claim with your insurance company? If not, it's a good thing you're here. In this article, you'll learn what storm damage looks like, what to do once you spot it, and what your next steps should be. Let's get started!
Fallen Tree Limbs
One of the things that strikes fear into the heart of any homeowner is the threat of a tree falling onto their house. Since some oak trees weigh almost as much as a loaded Mack Truck, it should come as no surprise that if one were to fall atop your home, the damage it can inflict could be catastrophic. Even branches on many full-grown oak trees weigh as much as a tree themselves. That means if one comes crashing down, don’t even think about trying to move it. You’re going to need a chainsaw and a crane to safely shift a fallen oak. The best you can hope to do in the short term is to try to cover the hole it makes with a tarp to keep the water from entering your home.
You've Got Hail
Another common cause of roof damage is hail. Depending on the size of the hailstones and the duration of the hailstorm, your roof can wind up as dimpled as a golf ball. Hail damage can sometimes seem inconsequential. Unlike wind or tree damage, most of the time, hail-damaged shingles remain in place. What most people don’t understand is the way in which shingles are constructed. Asphalt shingles are made with granules that block harmful UV rays which would otherwise dry them out. These granules are gradually lost over the lifetime of a roof system. Hail damage, though, can accelerate the aging process or even invalidate the warranty. Hailstones can also dent or damage flashing.
While hail, windblown debris, and falling tree limbs can do a number on your roof, so too can the wind alone. Depending on the age and condition of your roof, strong winds can bend, crack and even break your shingles. If roof damage goes unchecked, this can result in leaks that can take weeks or months to surface inside of your home. Internal water damage can cause more than just unsightly stains on the ceiling. It can lead to everything from rot and mold to electrical short circuits. The problem is, that even if you walk your roof, you may not be able to detect the signs of roof damage. If your home’s roof is more than 5-years-old, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your roof inspected by your local roofing contractor for damage that you may not be able to detect before more serious complications arise.
Another potential hazard with any electrical storm is the possibility of a lightning strike. A lightning bolt can pack more than a million bolts and be hotter than the surface of the Sun. Should a bolt from the blue strike your home, it can cause serious damage to your roof, as well as the contents of your home. It isn’t unusual for a lightning bolt to drill a hole in a roof or even set one on fire. It can also melt asphalt shingles in and around the area of the strike. If your home is struck by lightning, you should call a roofing company to have them send someone over to give your roof the once over.
How Can I Spot Roof Damage?
While a tree limb sticking out of your roof is obvious, not all roof damage is readily apparent. Other than detecting a leak from inside your home,the way to spot roof damage is to inspect the roof. This can sometimes be done from the ground. If you stand in your yard and look up at the roof, shingles that are bent or missing should be readily apparent.
Sometimes after a windstorm, you won’t even need to look up since displaced shingles usually wind up in your yard. If you detect roof damage, the first thing you need to do is to cover the damage to prevent leaks. Then, you need to have the damaged or missing shingles replaced as soon as possible.
Should I File a Claim With My Insurance Company
Filing a damage claim after a storm has damaged your roof is always a good idea.Get a local roofing contractor out first to assess the damages to make sure the damages exceed your insurance deductible. You would not want to file a claim if the damage is less than your deductible. One of the things that homeowner’s insurance is designed to handle is sudden damage due to wind, hail, or a bolt from the sky.
Just make sure you document the damage before you tarp it or repair it if you want to get full value. Also, make sure you document all of the damage, including any water damage that was caused after the fact. Whether the damage to your roof is significant enough to warrant a replacement or a repair is in the hands of the insurance adjuster.
Provided the roof was properly installed and maintained, and the damage exceeds 25% of the roof area, you could wind up only having to pay the cost of your deductible to make your roof whole again. If you think you're in need of a professional inspection just to be sure, drop us a line on our contact page. One of our friendly representatives will schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.