If you live in the Cornhusker State, it’s safe to say you’re already acquainted with hail storms, and all the issues that come with them. As these destructive storms continue to make regular appearances in the Midwest, homeowners need to remain vigilant.
Hail damage to your home is a serious threat. If you catch it early, you can prevent further damage, but what if you don’t notice it right away? If you’re just now noticing damage to your home from a past hail storm, you’ve likely got a lot of questions. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find the answers to the most pressing questions when it comes to dealing with hail storm damage to your home in the wake of a storm.
How Much Time Do You Have to Get Your Claim Filed?
Jumping right into it, the first question you’ll likely have is, how long you have to file your claim upon finding hail damage.
While it’s always best to file your claim immediately, there are a lot of circumstances that may make that difficult, the first one being that you didn’t even know your home was damaged until well after the fact.
Each state sets its own rules with regards to the timeframe for filing insurance claims for storm damage. In Nebraska, you have up to five years. Though that doesn’t mean you’ll want to wait to get it handled.
Why it’s Important to Deal With Hail Damage Quickly
When it comes to hail damage to your home, particularly to your roof, the sooner you can get it fixed the better. Here’s a quick look at just some of the ways that even minor hail damage to your roof can lead to major problems down the road:
Cracked and Missing Shingles
Your roof’s shingles play a big part in keeping your home safe. Large pieces of hail or the strong winds that come with these storms can take a serious toll on shingles, by either cracking them or removing them altogether. In either case, this leaves your roof exposed to the elements, allowing moisture to get in.
Over time, this moisture leads to mold, mildew, and rot. All of which means extensive and costly repairs to your home that could have been avoided.
Damage to your gutters isn’t isolated to just the gutters. Hail storms can weaken your gutters’ hold on your roof, causing them to break off, which can lead to damage.
Hail storms can also rapidly fill up your gutters with debris. If the gutters can’t drain properly they overflow onto your roof, leaving standing water that will eventually get under the shingles and into your home.
Damaged or Exposed Fiberglass Mat
The fiberglass mat on your roof is usually hidden away beneath the shingles. If these shingles are ripped away by high winds or damaged to the point that exposes the mat, it leaves it susceptible to damage.
If the fiberglass mat becomes damaged it can lead to cracks and tears and open up the possibility of moisture getting into your insulation and into your home.
These are just some of the ways that hail storms can cause damage to your home, but unfortunately, they aren’t always immediately noticeable. Sometimes you may not even know there’s a problem until extensive damage is done and has become apparent.
These unpleasant surprises can arise well after the skies have cleared and the storms have passed. Don’t get caught off guard! Early detection is your most powerful tool when it comes to protecting your home.
How to Catch Hail Storm Damage Early
Early detection is key!
Immediately After a Hail Storm:
- Perform an Inspection
Take a walk around your property to look for signs of damage. Check the ground for shingles or granules. Be sure to look up! Look for signs of missing shingles, wood exposure, or discoloration.
If you have a pair of binoculars, use them to get a closer look at your roof from the ground.
- Check Out Your Gutters
As you walk around your property, keep a close eye on your gutters. Look for areas of sagging or indications that they’re full of debris. Pay close attention to your downspouts. If you see granules, the little speckles that serve as a protective coating for your shingles, you’ve got some roof damage that requires attention.
- Inspect the Metal
The metal components of your roof, such as the fascia, soffit, and roof flashing are also susceptible to damage during hail storms.
Soffits are little vents in your roof that facilitate ventilation. If these are damaged it will affect how your home “breathes,” and can lead to issues later on.
Flashing is a thin metal layer that prevents water from getting into your home. If you spot any damaged metal under your shingles, you’ll need to get some help.
The fascia is a decorative metal area that your gutter attaches to. Also called the “transition trim,” this metal piece provides a secure place to attach your gutters without damaging the roof. If you see any damage in this area, you’ll need to get it repaired before water damage can occur.
If you notice any of these issues, or anything that doesn’t look right, no issue is too small to address when it comes to taking care of your home. It’s best to err on the side of caution rather than to deal with bigger concerns later.
What if You Notice Hail Damage After the Fact?
Damage, particularly to the harder to see areas of your roof, is easy to miss. If that’s the case, it’s understandable.
Talk to your agent about what you can do. Temporary fixes are often acceptable, but trying to make your own permanent fixes could invalidate your claim, causing it to be denied. Ask your insurance agent before attempting any type of repairs to your home.
Be sure to document every step of the process in case you need it later, to include the dates and times of everything from the moment you first detect the damage.