Hail Damage Roof Assessment Tips

Roof Assessment1

If your roof has been damaged by hail, it’s essential to get a professional inspection as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help from professionals, the sooner you’ll be able to submit a Hail Claim with your insurance company.

When assessing hail damage on your roof, there are some factors to consider before making any decisions about repairing or replacing damaged areas of the roof:

When Does Your Insurance Policy Cover Hail Damage?

Some policies have separate deductibles for wind and hail damage while others combine them. Check your policy so you can determine how much you will be responsible for in the event of a claim.

As with any insurance, unless there is significant damage to your roof and the wood framing supporting it, no matter how extensive the hail damage may appear, your policy may not cover repairing or replacing your damaged roof if:  Your home is vacant Your roof has reached its useful life (usually 25 years) You have experienced multiple claims within an established time period You had prior knowledge that hail was possible on the date of loss The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) estimates each year as many as 3 percent of all houses in North America experience some kind of roofing or siding damage from hailstorms. If you decide to replace damaged composition shingles, you should replace with a similar composition.  Here are some tips and guidance for homeowners who want to make repairs and secure the structure of their home:

Assessment Process

The following is a recommended process for assessing damage from hail –  

Step 1

Examine the area carefully for additional telltale signs of possible hail damage such as popped nails in plywood sheathing, missing or loosened flashings around pipes or vents, broken sealant joints. Look closely at valleys where water may pool after a storm.   A visible hole in the roofing material with no other obvious cause (like wind) can indicate that it was caused by hailstones. Report any suspicious holes to your insurance company. 

Step 2

Make a list of affected areas or materials – roofing, siding, windows, glass block and other exposed components- -and note the cost to replace each one with new materials. If you have any questions about an item’s replacement value (for instance, if it is custom made), locate the receipt for that item and include its purchase price on your list. 

Step 3

Once you have established which items need to be replaced and the approximate costs for those items, contact your insurance agent to make a claim. Your policy may require that you get estimates from an approved contractor first before making a claim. The claims adjuster will review your information to help determine whether or not there is sufficient coverage under your policy and then will likely ask you to submit an estimate from a contractor.  If your coverage is limited, he or she may request approval to pay for the lesser amount. If the adjuster requires that you obtain estimates from several contractors before making payment, be sure each one is qualified and accredited by your state’s Contractors Licensing Board, as well as any other specific accreditation bodies relevant for your region.

Composition Shingles

A composition shingle roof consists of individual components, including a strong granular base and binding material (commonly asphalt emulsion), molded-in color shingles in one or more sizes/styles and a waterproofing membrane.  Damage to composition shingles can include popped nails or staples, blown-off nail strips or loose seals at seams.

If the damage is limited to just one area of the roof, it may be possible to repair by installing new shingle granules and reattaching the damaged section within each color strip. If there are multiple areas with similar damage why not consider having those areas replaced with an upgraded version of your existing roof system? For example, if you have cedar shake siding and it is hail damaged you might want to consider cedar shingles or shakes instead.

Metal Shingles

A metal roof consists of a durable steel substrate coated with pigmented enamel and usually comes in several different colors.  Damage to metal roofs can include popped-off fasteners and loose seals at seams, indentations in the coating and visible scratches or gouges under the coating.

Metal Roofs To repair minor damage from hail on a metal roof, first look over the entire structure for any other damage such as loose flashing around chimneys, vents or skylights.  For instance, if shingles are missing from one area of a roof, check another area near it to ensure that any other damage isn’t caused by strong winds. If the area is small, you may be able to re-attach the old metal roof material and add a new layer of coating over it.

Photo of toolbelt with instrument and nail gun lying on asphalt or bitumen shingle on top of the new roof under construction residential house or building
Photo of toolbelt with instrument and nail gun lying on asphalt or bitumen shingle on top of the new roof under construction residential house or building

Slate Shingles

A slate shingle roof consists of thick pieces of stone with cement between them.  If hail impacts break through or crack your slate, the underlying structure could be damaged.  Inspect entire roof surface for loose or broken materials like shingles, flashings or trim before making an insurance claim.

Wood Shake/Shingle

A wood shake or shingle roof is made up of ridged wooden planks secured together with a waterproof sealant.  Shakes made from cedar or redwood are substantially more fire resistant than the wood shingles of old, but if these shakes have been damaged by hail they may show visible damage including gouges or cracks in the ridged surface and broken fasteners.  


Tiles can be found as a primary material on several different types of roof systems although most modern tile roofs are laid over a composition base below the tiles.  Tile roofs can be constructed with clay, concrete or stone materials in multiple shapes and sizes, set into mortar/grout layers (set tile) or onto metal mesh sheets (laid tile). Tile Roofs If your brick patio was damaged by hail, have your entire roof inspected for missing or damaged tiles and loose flashings such as chimneys, skylights or vents.  Leaking water that has been trapped below the damaged areas can cause serious damage to your home’s interior so make sure all repairs are done correctly before that happens.

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