What is Storm Damage?

lightning above house

Roof Damage From Storms

It happens primarily in the South, in what is known as Tornado Alley, but it can happen anywhere at any time. We’re talking about roof damage after storms and the burden of filing a storm damage roof claim with your insurance company. This isn’t something any homeowner wants to deal with, and yet, when you own a home, you need to be prepared in case it does happen.

To the insurance industry, it probably isn’t as devastating as it is to those who are living the nightmare, and to that end, not all insurance companies have empathy in answering questions. In our article today, we are going to answer some of the most frequent asked questions of homeowners that have experienced roof storm damage.

What kind of roof damage is covered by insurance?

Homeowner’s insurance policy coverage typically provides financial protection of your home’s structure. This includes the roof in case of any damage sustained from certain perils such as fire, hail, and wind damage or any roof storm damage. Depending on the cause of the damage sustained, your homeowner’s insurance should cover any repairs or replacement needed because of roof damage.

Some considerations that are taken in by the insurance company when you file a claim, is a tree(s) falling on the roof must be from caused by wind, which will be considered roof storm damage. If any of your personal contents inside your home are damaged or ruined, your homeowner’s insurance will pay to have them repaired or replaced.

For any structure on your property that is listed on your homeowner’s insurance policy sustains roof storm damage, the claim will be filed under “other structures”. These structures would include a detached garage or shed.

When you file a claim for roof storm damage, remember that you will be required to pay the agreed-upon deductible and the insurance will pay the balance of any repair or replacement. Each homeowner’s policy has different coverage limit and you should become familiar with that before the need arises to file a claim. You should also confirm what, if any, exclusions may be written into your homeowner’s insurance policy.

What causes roof damage?

In Tornado Alley, the most common cause of roof storm damage comes from hail and high winds, not direct storm damage. The most vulnerable roofing materials are tiles and wooden shingles because of the debris the wind blows in.  

While a homeowner expects their home to sustain storms and protect them and their contents, a home’s exterior is exposed 24/7 to the elements. This makes it subject to the weather conditions that Mother Nature sends. Of any home, the roof is the most susceptible, thus the need to file roof storm damage claims with an insurance company.

When storms are in progress, a home can be subjected to the harshest conditions which result in roof storm damage and other damage. When you combine the daily exposure a house already experiences and the average wear and tear, it is imperative that a homeowner be diligent with routine inspections and maintenance, including any subsequent roof storm damage repair or replacement.

The high winds from a storm can result in storm damage roof shingles or the entire roof being ripped off during a storm. Roof storm damage also happens when the wind knocks trees down on top of them or blow other heavy debris onto them.  Even one or two shingles blown off can be where a leak starts, which is why the homeowner needs to inspect their home after a storm and file a claim if necessary.

During a hailstorm, roof storm damage is always a strong possibility. Hailstones can impact a roof and compromise the integrity and protective coating, especially with asphalt shingles. Many times, the effects may appear as cosmetic, but upon closer inspection, a roofing contractor or insurance adjustor may find there are shingles missing or torn. There may be damage to the flashing or vent caps as well.

How do I know if my roof has wind damage?

There are obvious signs of roof storm damage such as curled, dented, missing, or torn shingles. Inspection of the gutter system and roofing accessories can find more damage, as well as inspection of the windows. Even if the shingles seem to have escaped damage from a storm, any dents in the gutters or roofing accessories could be an indication of roof storm damage.

Here we offer a checklist of sorts that you can use after each storm to assess any possible roof storm damage exists:

1). Take a walk around your home’s exterior and take a picture of any damage you see.  This includes any curled, dented, missing, or torn shingles.

2). Check the gutters, roofing accessories, and windows. Damage to any of these can be an indication of roof storm damage.

3). Walk around inspecting the area looking for broken or fallen tree limbs, broken fences, even any damaged lawn decorations or furniture. Examine your decks and patios too.

4). Look for any leaks or water spots in the attic and on the ceilings. There may not be obvious roof storm damage on the exterior of our house, but the hail and wind can get up under eaves and shingles and into your house.

5). Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent or company and file a claim if you find any roof storm damage. Make good notes and be ready to schedule an inspection appointment with an appraiser. And if the damage is excessive, ask them “what you should do about the storm damage to my roof”? Depending on your coverage, they may make arrangements for you to stay in a hotel until the roof is repaired.

6). Your homeowner’s insurance company may refer contractors to you, but you have the right to seek your own contractor as well. Be cautious of any contractor you call or that contact you. Sadly, stormy weather brings out the fly-by-night crooks that will take your money and never return.

7). Never at any time do we recommend or suggest that you climb up on your roof yourself. Leave this for the experienced, trained contractor.

What should you do if a storm is damaged?

There is no doubt that it will be challenging, even difficult to deal with water, wind or roof storm damage after a hailstorm, hurricane, tornadoes, or high winds. We have gathered some tips that help you and your family stay safe while you start getting your life back to normal.

  • Stay tuned to the radio for community advisories and instructions
  • Stay indoors until authorities have given the all-clear announcement.
  • Do not attempt to pick up or touch any downed power lines.
  • Do not stand in water, close to downed wires or any metal objects.
  • Get out of any building that has sustained any damage.
  • Stay away from broken or dangling limbs and damaged trees.
  • Never drive, swim or wade in flooded areas.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially those any disabled or elderly.
  • Be aware of snakes and wild animals.
  • If you smell natural gas, turn it off at the meter.
  • Unless it is absolutely necessary, do not drive.
  • If you do drive, do not drive through high water, stay off roads covered in water and damaged bridges.
  • Do not use candles or any open flames indoors.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby at all times.
  • Test all CO and smoke alarms.
  • Before you flush any toilet, make sure the sewer system is clear and working.
  • Bring all your pets indoors and when you take them out, use a leash.
  • If you have a generator, operate it outdoors only and away from the house.
  • Do not eat any perishable food.
damaged roof

Is roof damage covered by insurance?

As we have covered earlier in this article, a homeowners insurance policy may provide coverage to repair or replace a roof if your home as a roof leak from roof storm damage, which would be considered a covered peril, unless your homeowner’s policy has an exclusion for hail or wind damage. Therefore, it is important to read over your homeowner’s insurance policy and anything you don’t understand, ask your agent for clarification. You should also keep in mind that lack of homeowner maintenance that results in hail, wind, or roof storm damage will not be covered, nor will normal wear and tear.