Roof Storm Damage? Don't Panic: Here's What To Do First
Roofing

Roof Storm Damage? Don't Panic: Here's What to Do First

By Angelina Zhuravleva  •  June 01, 2024  •  6 min
Roof Storm Damage? Don't Panic: Here's What to Do First

Navigating roof storm damage can be overwhelming and confusing. From assessing the extent of the damage to dealing with insurance claims, homeowners often need clarification about the best course of action. But don't stress; we'll walk you through what to do step-by-step.

Assessing Roof Storm Damage - What to Look For

Once the storm has passed, it's time to inspect your roof for damage. You'll want to do this as soon as possible to minimize further issues. Look for visible dents, holes, or tears in the roofing material and any loose, damaged, or missing shingles. Check where the roof intersects with walls, chimneys, or vents—these areas are especially prone to leaks.

Shingles and Flashing

See if any shingles have blown off, become loose, or broken. Look for dents or holes in metal flashing around chimneys, vents, and the roof's edges. Damaged or loose flashing can allow water to seep in, even if the shingles appear intact.

Gutters and Downspouts

Make sure rain gutters are securely attached and downspouts are clear of debris. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool on the roof, while detached gutters won't channel water away correctly.

The Attic and Basement

Head into the attic and basement to check for signs of leaks, such as water stains on ceilings and drips from pipes or light fixtures. If left unaddressed, even a small leak can lead to costly water damage over time.

If you see any concerning signs of damage, it's best to call a professional roofer for an inspection. They can assess the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of action. 

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What Does the Insurance Claim Process Entail for Roof Storm Damage?

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If your roof sustains damage from a storm, you should file an insurance claim as soon as possible. Most standard homeowner's insurance policies cover storm damage, but you'll need to provide details about the damage to get reimbursed. Follow these four steps to get started:

1. Gather Evidence of the Damage

As soon as it's safe, head outside and take photos of your roof from multiple angles to document the damage. Get close-ups of holes, leaks, or missing shingles and snapshots of water damage inside your home. Your insurance company will need visual proof of the damage to process your claim.

A professional roofing contractor can help you with your insurance claim in several ways when you have storm roof damage:

  • Inspection and Documentation: They can thoroughly inspect your roof for storm damage and provide detailed reports with photos to support your claim.
  • Accurate Estimates: They can create estimates for repairs or replacements that align with industry standards, strengthening your claim.
  • Insurance Knowledge: Reputable roofers often have experience working with insurance companies. They can guide you through the claim process and answer your questions.
  • Negotiation Assistance: In some cases, they might advocate on your behalf if the insurance adjuster's initial offer seems too low.

However, it's important to understand that a roofing contractor cannot directly approve your claim. The final decision rests with your insurance company's adjuster.

2. Contact Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company or file a claim through their website or mobile app. They'll assign an adjuster to evaluate the damage. Provide the details of what happened and share the photos. The adjuster will schedule a time to inspect your roof in person.

3. Meet the Adjuster and Get an Estimate

When the adjuster visits, give them access to your roof and attic so they can assess the full scope of the damage. They'll determine whether your roof needs minor repairs, partial replacement of shingles, or total replacement. You'll receive a written damage estimate, which your insurance company will use to determine how much they'll reimburse you.

4. Negotiate and Finalize Your Claim

Review the damage estimate carefully. If anything seems amiss, discuss it with your adjuster before they submit the final report.

A professional roofing contractor can help you at this stage by reviewing your insurance adjuster's roof storm damage estimate. 

Here's how:

  • Reviewing the Details: Roofers can ensure the estimate accurately reflects the extent of the damage and the repairs needed. They can identify missing items or inconsistencies in materials or labor costs.
  • Industry Expertise: They understand industry standards for materials and labor costs, allowing them to verify if the adjuster's pricing seems fair.
  • Negotiation Support: If you have concerns about the estimate, a roofer can help you communicate them effectively to the adjuster and advocate for a more accurate valuation.

Here are some things to keep in mind when working with a roofer on the roof storm damage estimate review:

  • Transparency: Share the adjuster's estimate openly with the roofer for their review.
  • Second Opinion: Consider getting estimates from a few qualified roofers for comparison.
  • Don't feel pressured: The final decision on accepting the estimate rests with you.

Once you and the insurance company agree on the necessary repairs and costs, they'll issue you a check to cover a portion or all of the claim amount minus your deductible. You can hire a contractor to repair or replace your storm-damaged roof.

What Roof Storm Damage Is Typically Covered by Insurance?

Your homeowner's insurance policy typically covers roof storm damage. Most policies cover physical damage from hurricanes, windstorms, hailstorms, and heavy snow.

Wind Roof Damage

High winds from storms like hurricanes and windstorms can rip shingles from your roof, damage vents or skylights, or even blow sections of the roof completely off. As long as you have adequate wind coverage limits, the cost to repair or replace your roof should be covered.

Hail Roof Damage

Hail can dent, crack, or puncture shingles and other roof components. Hail damage is usually not covered by homeowner's insurance; check your policy to be sure.

Snow Roof Damage

Excessive snowfall can damage your roof in a couple of ways. Heavy snow loads can cause shingles to buckle or slide off the roof. As snow melts, water can seep into tiny cracks and then refreeze, causing ice dams and leaks. Snow damage coverage depends on the specifics of your policy, so check with your insurance agent.

To prepare for potential roof storm damage and ensure maximum coverage, consider the following tips:

  • Increase your coverage limits, especially for wind and hail. Higher limits mean less out-of-pocket cost if there is major damage.
  • Consider separate wind/hail insurance or a "rider" on your existing policy.
  • Have your roof inspected before storm season and make any needed repairs to prevent further damage.
  • Trim or remove trees that could fall on your roof during a storm.
  • Take photos of your roof and any recent upgrades or repairs—this documentation can help support your claim.
  • Report any damage to your insurance company promptly and provide thorough details, like photos.

With proper preparation and understanding of what kind of roof storm damage is typically covered, you can feel more at ease when those threatening clouds roll in. And if the worst does happen, you'll know how to file an effective insurance claim to get your roof back into shape.

How Do I Find a Qualified Roofer To Get Repair Estimates?

Use Directorii to find a competent roofing contractor. We list only licensed, certified, and pre-screened roofing specialists near you. Get free quotes from several roofers and a $20,000 guarantee.

Can You Make Temporary Repairs to Your Roof Yourself?

You can attempt temporary roof storm damage repairs yourself, but weighing the risks and rewards before proceeding is important. 

Here's a breakdown of what to consider before repairing your roof yourself:

Advantages of DIY Temporary Roof Storm Damage Repairs:

You can use a DIY temporary fix if you have minor roof storm damage and don't want to wait for a professional roofer. This can be a faster option and save you money compared to hiring a professional.

Disadvantages and Risks of DIY Temporary Roof Storm Damage Repairs:

  • Safety Hazards: Roofing can be hazardous without proper safety measures. Falling from heights is a significant risk.
  • Improper Techniques: A poorly executed temporary fix can worsen damage by trapping moisture or creating new leaks.
  • Insurance Issues: Check with your insurance company before attempting DIY repairs. They may deny or limit your claim payout.
  • Limited Effectiveness: Temporary repairs are just that—temporary. They might not last long, especially in harsh weather conditions.

Here are some alternatives to consider before attempting a DIY temporary repair:

  • Tarping by a professional: Hiring a professional roofer to secure a tarp over the damaged area can be a safer and more reliable option.
  • Seeking alternative shelter: If the leak is significant and your home is not habitable, consider finding temporary accommodation until the repair is completed.

Ultimately, when deciding whether to make temporary roof storm damage repairs, consider your comfort level with heights, the damage severity, and budget. Call a qualified roofer to assess and recommend the best course of action if unsure.

How Much Will Repairs of Roof Storm Damage Cost?

The cost of repairs for a storm-damaged roof varies depending on several factors:

  • Severity of Damage
  • Roof Size
  • Roof Material
  • Labor Rates
  • Deductible

Here's a rough roof storm damage cost estimate:

  • Minor Repairs: $400 - $1,900
  • Major Repairs: $1,100 (average) - $7,400 (extensive hail damage)
  • Full Roof Replacement: $5,900 - $13,000 (average)

However, these are just ballpark figures. Get inspections from qualified roofers to get a more accurate estimate for y our specific situation.

Find the Best Roofing Contractors for Roof Storm Damage on Directorii

If you're looking for the best roofing contractor near you, use Directorii. Find only top-rated, licensed, and vetted roofing companies. Our platform offers free estimates and access to honest reviews from past clients. Additionally, we back up each roofing contractor with a $20,000 guarantee. To get started, enter your zip code and access a list of top-rated roofers near you.

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