It’s springtime again and Mother Nature is already sending us strong winds and hail that may affect the one thing that offers the greatest protection to our home: the roof. Most of us have many questions when it comes to our roofs. What type of roof do I have? Did the recent bad weather affect my roof? Will my roof leak? Should I contact my insurance company and file a claim?
The first thing you should do after a storm is perform a visual inspection of your roof. Do you see any missing shingles or visible damage? If the storm included hail, you should check your windows, garage doors, and outside air conditioner condenser for damage. You should also check the condition of your fences, outdoor buildings and play structures. If the storm had heavy rains, check your ceilings for water stains and drywall damage.
If the hail was larger in size and lasted for an extended period of time, you may have damage to your roof that you cannot see from the ground. If you think there’s damage you should call your insurance agent to discuss your options. You will need to consider if the anticipated damage will exceed your deductible when deciding whether to file your claim. Your agent may advise that you call a roofing contractor to check the roof prior to filing a claim with your insurance carrier. Depending on the number of claims the agent has received in your area, the agent may recommend that you go ahead and file a claim.
Once you file a claim, most companies will assign an adjuster. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to educate you on your roof and the claims process. They can tell you the difference between a twenty-year, three-tab shingle and a thirty-year dimensional shingle. They can tell you if your roof can be repaired or if the damage is significant enough to warrant replacement. They can also advise whether they see any areas on the roof that may be trouble spots for leaks.
If your roof requires replacement, you will need to find a contractor to perform the work. It is very important that you do your homework as a consumer when choosing a roofer. Talk your neighbors for referrals, or Google the company for information. Check the contractor’s references, or utilize companies such as Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau for information about these companies. Once you’ve found a roofer, ask them about warranties on the roofing material and their workmanship. The roofer may also make recommendations for better roofing materials or materials that may provide better ventilation in your home.
Your insurance agent, your insurance adjuster, and your roofing contractor can all guide you through the claims process, but you can do your part by doing your research and asking questions when something is unclear. If you’ve experienced a roof claim, what words of wisdom can you share?