Q & A on Hail damage:
Q: A hail storm went through my neighborhood. Most of my neighbors have gotten new roofs. I received a denial letter along with a check for $300 to repair damaged fascia. What’s the deal? Should I call a roofer? A lawyer? The state insurance commissioner? What gives?
A: First, just because your neighbors are getting new roofs doesn’t mean it’s an entirely due to hail. It can be the age and condition of the roof. For example, your neighbor may have a 25 year old roof with one hail strike. The shingle may not be made any more. That can be grounds for replacement of a whole roof.
If you have a new roof, with only one hail strike, it also can be grounds for not having the roof replaced. Furthermore, there could be wind damage, which is an entirely different animal.
It can be very difficult to see hail damage. Generally, you are looking for missing granules and gouges in the shingle. If you see a little round spot with granules missing, it may be hail, but you need to look at what the granules surrounding the hole are doing. If the granules are coming up above the surface of the surface of the shingle, it’s called a blister, and is not hail related.
There can also be building code requirements, such as what’s called a 25% rule*. Finally, insurance companies have different standards. Some companies want 16+ hail strikes per 10X10 area, others want less. Next, the quality of the shingle can make a big difference. A 3-tab vs. a laminate shingle can make a huge difference in hail damage. Finally, shingles are rated for some quantity of hail damage. The thing many insurance companies are concerned about is when the hail actually pierces the matte of the shingle. Many insurance companies do not care that some of the granules were rubbed off (although some do). These standards have been developed by a company called Haag engineering.
If you’re really motivated, look at the metal items on your roof, the furnace caps, turret vents, and even the AC fins. These items ALWAYS dent before the shingles. By looking at these items, you can get an idea as to the size of the hail. If the dents are only pea sized up to marble sized, and your roof is in good condition, it’s quite possible you do not have a lot of hail damage; although you may, depending on your shingle type, age and quantity of hail. If looking at your own property, and not your neighbors, you actually have hail damage; nicely ask for the adjuster to come back out. If that doesn’t work, offer to send in photographs of the damage to your vents, and examples of where hail strikes have actually pierced your shingles.Finally, if they still won’t send someone, grab your policy and look for a section called Appraisal. It explains what to do if you and the insurance company disagree. Sending letters to the state insurance commissioner generally doesn’t help unless you’ve exhausted all options in your insurance policy.
*25% Rule deals with older lower-valued structures; generally, if work would not exceed 25 percent of the structure’s value, then a contractor and building officials could negotiate what work was required to comply with the local code. For work that would cost between 25 and 50 percent of the value of the structure, the contractor had to meet building codes for all planned work. If the planned work exceeded 50 percent, then the contractor had to bring the entire building into compliance with the current building code.