You just moved into your new house. Everything is unboxed and put in the perfect place.
Then one night you abruptly awake to what sounds like the big bad wolf tearing up your home’s exterior. With a heavy sigh and a hand on your forehead, all you can think is, “what damage is this hail doing to my house?” Then you think, “how much damage can a little hail really cause?”
First, how little actually is the size of the hail?
Here’s a list of hail sizes according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
- Pea size = ¼ inch
- Mothball or marble-size = ½ inch
- Dime/Penny size = ¾ inch
- Nickel size = ⅞ inch
- Quarter = 1 inch
- Ping pong ball = 1 ½ inch
- Golf ball = 1 ¾ inch
- Tennis Ball = 2 ½ inch
- Baseball = 2 ¾ inches
- Tea cup = 3 inches
- Grapefruit = 4 inches
- Softball = 4 ½ inches
Dime-size hail or larger is considered severe. Quarter-size hail will damage older asphalt shingles. Ping pong ball-size hail causes severe roof damage and dented wood. Dense material for roofing, such as clay or concrete, may shatter with larger hailstones.
Home repairs are the one thing you didn’t have to fret about as a renter. Now, the game is much different. It’s your job to take care of all the home repairs. You are solely responsible for its maintenance and all that it entails.
The morning after the storm you may notice some damages at first glance:
- the air conditioner,
- your mailbox
- the paint on your front porch
Your roof is the first part of your home to encounter hail and the one most likely to get hit the hardest. Don’t underestimate the damage your roof may have received during the storm.
Signs of Roof Damage
- Broken skylights
- Dents in the flashing
- Roofing material remnants in the downspouts and gutters
- Small indentations or cracks in the asphalt or cedar roofing
- Broken or cracked tiles
- Scrapes and dents in metal roofing
Look inside your attic for signs of damage as well. Leaks are evidence that your roof may have been affected by hail. Check where your roof and siding meet and where water can seep in. Take pictures of all the affected areas for your claim with the insurance company.
If you don’t find any immediate signs of leaks — that’s great! However, if not dealt with immediately, damaged roofing can lead to a leaky roof.
Signs of Siding Damage
- Dents in the metal or wood siding
- Holes, cracks, or chips in vinyl siding
- Buckled or warped pieces
- Chipped paint
Do you see small pits and chalky silt on your aluminum siding? Can you run your hand over it and feel it? This silt is oxidation. Try washing it off with a low-pressure rinse.
The best time to check your siding for damage is in the early morning, or at dusk, when the sun is lower in the sky.
If focused on the siding in the early morning light, and are still not sure if you see any damage, use a hose to spray the siding. The water will make it more apparent.
Signs of Other Damage
Look at window sills and window casings for dents and other damage that may have happened during the storm. Do screens on your doors and windows have new holes or rips? Or does the glass in the doors and windows have new cracks, chips, or holes? These holes, tears, and chips are noticeable signs of hail damage as well.
Splatter is another telltale sign of hail damage. Splatter is essentially the “cleaner” spots on your driveway. As the hailstones hit, they remove dirt, oil, and other residue left on the driveway.
What To Do After Spotting Hail Damage
You are confident a repair of some sort is needed. Before doing anything else, check your insurance policy to determine if they cover the damage. If you are new to all of this, call your insurance company and speak with your agent. They are trained to know what is and isn’t included.
- Document the date and extent of the damage with pictures. Any hail remaining on the ground, take photos of it as well.
- You may either call your insurance company, or a professional not associated with your insurance company, to inspect the damage and get a repair estimate.
- Report the damage to your insurance company.
Do not repair any damages before reporting it. Let your insurance agent know that you had your inspection done, and have an estimate on the repair cost.
Understand what your deductible may be and check with your agent about any limits you may have in filing a claim. Don’t forget to include all the items damaged — siding, windows, doors, fencing, furniture, landscaping, as well as the roof.
Now get those repairs done as quickly as possible, so that damaged roof doesn’t turn into a bigger problem. Then you can go back to spending time enjoying that beautiful home you have created.