Living in an area that is prone to tornadoes and severe storms can result in roof damage. Tornado winds are measured using the F-scale (Fujita Scale). The F-scale rates the intensity of the wind and the likelihood of damage after the storm.
If you hear of an F-3 or higher tornado in your area, you can be sure to receive some damage. Here are some tips to help you navigate roof damage after a storm.
Assessing Your Roof For Damage
The first thing you want to do after a storm is assess your roof for damage. High winds can remove or tear shingles. Lifting and curling shingles can have broken bonds between the shingles which can cause leaking later on. It is common for shingles or parts of your roof to be missing after severe storms.
Check your roof for hail damage. Hail can leave dents or pockmarks which dislodge the protective granules on the shingles. That protective layer of granules helps to prevent sun and rain damage on your roof.
Check the gutters and roofing accessories, like exhaust pipes and chimneys. Damage in these parts of your roof may indicate hidden damage of the actual roof.
Look for leaks and/or water spots in your ceiling, light fixtures, and attic. Your roof may appear undamaged from the outside, but leaks can wreak havoc later on.
As you are inspecting for roof damage, make sure to document all damages and take pictures if possible. Keep yourself safe by staying off of your roof while assessing, especially if tree branches have fallen on or near your roof. Structural damage to your roof may not be visible or the shingles may be slippery. Contact a trusted roofing contractor to help with your assessment.
Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company
If roof damage or hail damage is suspected, call your insurance company as soon as possible and they will send a claims adjuster to take a look and assess the damage. To ensure your protection, get an estimate from a licensed roofing contractor as well. An estimate may help in arguing your case if the insurance company tries to deny your claim.
Keep accurate records of repairs done and amount spent on repairs for reimbursement. Also, check with your claims representative before throwing away any item you plan on claiming as damaged.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover storms, including tornado, wind, and hail damage. However, levels of coverage, exclusions, and limits of liability all vary from policy to policy so make sure you read your policy to determine your coverage. The declarations page of your homeowner’s insurance policy will help you determine the type of coverage you have. Homeowner’s insurance will cover repair or replacement of your damaged roof up to the defined limits in your policy.Your insurance policy should cover loss of use (up to applicable limits) in case your house is uninhabitable as well. Again, check your policy to confirm the details of your coverage.
If repair or replacement is deemed necessary, your insurance provider will either pay the roofing contractor directly (minus the deductible) or the contractor will receive payment from you after you receive payment from the insurance company.
Something To Think About
Since your insurance company is paying for all or part of your roof repair or replacement, this may be an opportune time to consider upgrading to a more durable roofing material like metal or tile. You may have to pay something out of pocket, but the insurance funds will cover a substantial portion of the costs, making it worth it in the long run. Metal roofing and tile can last over twice as long as asphalt shingles (sometimes longer for well-maintained tile). In addition to longevity, both tile and metal tend to be more durable in extreme weather so roof damage will be less likely to occur.