How Can You Tell If Your Roof Has Wind or Hail Damage?

By Nancy B
March 11, 2019

You can probably safely say winter weather is over in Virginia! But that does not mean you will not still see ice. Tornado and severe weather season are here and that means hail storms are more likely. Hail and straight-line winds are equal opportunity destroyers. Damage is nearly impossible to prevent and while maybe obvious most of the time, sometimes it's not. Years in the home insurance business have taught us how common hidden weather damage can affect a home roof. 

                             Hail damage to the vinyl siding on my Stafford, Virginia home, March 2017

In March 2017, parts of Virginia experienced fierce storms that unleashed 60 mph straight-line wind gusts and this type of damaging hail. Here in Stafford, the winds blew large jawbreaker size hail completely horizontal and straight into our home denting our air conditioning units, shredding window screens, punching holes across our vinyl siding, and sending roof shingles flying around the yard. It sounded and felt like the polar express was roaring past us! I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. 


I could see pieces of roofing shingles from my roof scattered around the yard, but I did not see any noticeable roof damage from the ground. So I asked some of our home insurance experts here at NNINS for help. They know exactly how hail and wind can damage a roof. Here’s what I found out.

How can you tell if you have roof damage?

Generally, damage can be seen as indentations and/or fractures on the shingles' surface. Hailstones vary in size, shape, and hardness and can create a random pattern of dents or depressions. If damage to shingles is not evident, look for indentations on metal flashing, siding, chimney caps, or even skylight flashing.

What are the most common types of weather-related roof damage?

Hail and wind can compromise your home's roof in a variety of ways and some may be difficult to identify without a trained eye. The most common types are:

  • Cracks in the granule-asphalt surfacing may radiate outward from points of impact. Cracks may be present especially if high winds blew the shingles back.
  • Exposed fiberglass mats from hail shattering the granule-asphalt surfacing causing it to break away from the fiberglass mat.
  • Fractured fiberglass mats may or may not be immediately visible. A fractured mat may result in tears radiating out from the points of impact.     

Can several individual shingles be replaced or will you have to replace the entire roof?

It is possible to replace individual storm-damaged shingles. If individual shingles are being replaced, any nails that were removed from surrounding shingles must be replaced and the surrounding shingles must be resealed by hand for the best results. If a significant number of shingles are damaged, replacement of the entire slope is sometimes recommended for the long-term performance of these roofs.

Does home insurance cover weather-related roof damage?

Homeowners insurance does usually cover roof and other damage from severe weather like wind and hail. Some areas of Virginia are more prone to high wind damage and may warrant a special deductible on your home insurance policy. In specific severe weather instances, your standard deductible would not apply and your wind deductible would be in effect for your claim. 

It's very important to keep up with annual roof maintenance to ensure your home insurance will protect you when needed. The most common reason roof insurance claims are denied is due to poor maintenance. This goes back to the potential for hidden damage. If you experience a severe wind and/or hail weather event, it is important to have a professional inspection even if you do not see physical damage. Schedule routine roof and attic checks every year especially as your roof ages. 

Avoid roofing repair and replacement scams

NoSolicitingIt sure is good to be informed! One more insider tip: After the storm, we were inundated with door-to-door roof repair storm chasers and politely sent them away. Don’t enlist the help of a drive-by roof/home repair contractor. There are many roof replacement scams out there that sell subpar hastily assembled roofs and then quickly disappear with no recourse for you if there's a problem later down the road.  If a contractor is as good, they wouldn't need to chase down business by going door-to-door. Instead, rely on a referral from a friend or family member or sound online reviews. We found a local Virginia licensed and bonded roofing contractor with excellent reviews online and what peace of mind that provided when getting our roof repairs done.


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