More often than not, bad weather, especially thunderstorms or hailstorms, can damage our homes in multiple ways. Not only are they sometimes scary to witness, but they can also be dangerous and wreak havoc on your property. Along with possibly breaking the windows of your vehicle (if it’s outside), hail can also severely harm a lot of prominent areas in your home. In fact, in 2020, there were more than 4000 significant storms in the US, and State Farm paid over $3.1 billion in hail claims.
Now that you know it’s not a small topic, let’s talk more about hail damage – which areas of your home it may affect, how you can deal with it, and what steps you should take if your house needs repair after a hail storm. If you’re not sure if your home needs repair or has suffered damage, we highly encourage you to take advantage of our free, no-obligation inspection by one of our licensed public adjusters.
5 Ways Hail Can Be Damaging to Your Home
When it comes to hail damage, some assume that it can’t cause significant issues, while others think it will affect only the roof of their home. However, these assumptions are false – let us show you why.
Hail Can Break Windows
Depending on how the wind is blowing during a storm, hail can cause damage to your windows. It may chip or crack them, and it can also tear the screens, damage seals, and break the glazing. If the wind speed is high, it can create even more extensive damage, sometimes even breaking the glass, leaving the inside of your home vulnerable.
As the storm is happening, there isn’t a lot you can do to stop the damage. The only thing you must do is cover any cracks as soon as you can to avoid water damage to the home. Also, if you live in an area where hailstorms occur more often, you should consider switching to impact-resistant glass, as it’s much more durable and, in most cases, can withstand hail damage without breaking.
Hail Can Damage Your Air Conditioning Unit
In Florida, it’s nearly impossible to survive the summers without air conditioning. And so it’s highly likely that you have one in your home. Unfortunately, it is one of the parts of your house that is susceptible to hail damage. Large-size hail pieces can damage your system’s fins, thus restricting airflow or completely stopping it from working. Additionally, improper airflow can cause the temperature in your house to fluctuate unpredictably – getting too hot or too cold. It also forces the unit to work harder than usual, which you will then see reflected in your electricity bills.
Furthermore, if the wind is stronger, hail can also dent the fans or blades – damage that’s more difficult to notice with the naked eye but can cause the system to shut down completely. That’s why it’s recommended that you inspect your unit right after the storm ends. You can also check other parts, like the thermostat wiring, that may be susceptible to hail damage.
Hail Can Cause Damage to Your Gutters and Siding
If hail is accompanied by strong wind (as it typically is), it can lead to holes and cracks in your siding. Depending on the material that it’s made of, the impact can differ – if it’s wood or metal, it will only show dents, while older vinyl sliding can lose some of its flexibility and may crack or fracture.
Additionally, if the exterior is painted, hail can lead to the paint peeling, thus exposing the wood or metal the siding is made from. If that’s the case, you should re-paint as soon as possible; otherwise, your siding might start rotting due to exposure to the elements.
Gutters are another part of your home that can be damaged by hail. Sometimes, it can loosen or dent the downspouts and gutter guards. If the gutters are damaged, that can cause leaks and even lead to foundation issues. If those are not taken care of on time, that can lead to expensive repairs in the future. Gutters may not be our first concern after a hailstorm, but they are always essential to inspect and ensure any damage is properly repaired.
Hail Can Ruin Your Roof
When it comes to hail damage, the roof is the first concern that comes to mind for most people. And for a good reason – it is the area of your home that is the most exposed to the elements and can be significantly damaged during strong hail storms. Firstly, hail can cause cracks and dents in your roofing. Larger pieces of hail may even tear asphalt shingles or break roof tiles. If the weather was particularly severe, you might also see missing shingles. Hail can also damage other parts of your roof, such as the vents, chimneys, and roof-mounted solar panels.
Hail damage can lead to bigger problems in the future, such as with water leaks, if repairs are not addressed quickly. Small areas of water intrusion will continue to get worse, and over time, your roof will become even more susceptible to damage from the elements. The best thing you can do if any damage occurs to your roof is to repair or replace it as soon as possible.
Hail Can Damage Your Freestanding Buildings
If you have any freestanding buildings in your yard, like an RV garage or workshop, for example, then they’re also prone to hail damage. Even though they are not technically part of your house, they are still within your property and may be covered by your insurance policy. Many freestanding buildings are made of metal and plastic, which means that hail, especially larger pieces, can cause dents, cracks, and damage to the roof.
When a hail storm occurs, you should inspect not only your home but all of your freestanding buildings. If any damage occurs and isn’t fixed, it could lead to other issues that could have been avoided.
What Should You Do If Your Home Gets Damaged?
People often wonder what steps they should take after discovering that a part of their home has been damaged by hail. Most assume that the first thing they should do is hire a contractor and get the damage fixed as soon as possible. And while that probably sounds logical, it’s not always the best decision to make. Quite often, after a damaging storm occurs in an area, contractors flood in, trying to get you to sign away your entire claim. (Important Message from DFS and Jimmy Patronis, Florida CFO – Click Here) If you fall into that trap, you might end up paying thousands of dollars that later the insurance company doesn’t pay back. By using a public adjuster, you’re not signing away your claim; rather, you are gaining an advocate to fight for maximum reimbursement for any needed repairs you have. With those funds, you get to decide which contractor to hire to fix and repair the damage you sustained.
Instead of hiring a construction company and then working with the insurers to get your paycheck, a better approach is to get a professional inspection and ensure you get the full value of the claim that you need to repair your property. Ideally, you will receive the funds from the insurance company first and then start looking for someone to perform the repairs. Whenever you’re negotiating, it’s always better to have cash in hand; that way, you have an idea of how much you’re willing and able to spend, and you may be able to negotiate a better price.
Now that we’ve established that you should first go to the insurance company and not directly to the contractor, let’s move on to the second point – properly evaluating your claim. If you’re not an expert on insurance policies, your insurance company may not offer a sufficient amount based on the damage your home suffered during the hail storm. That’s why working with a public adjuster from the start can help you navigate the process and receive the full value of your claim. The public adjuster will help evaluate the damage and lead the negotiation process with your insurance company, always working to ensure you get the best possible resolution. By working with a licensed public adjuster, you can be certain that your home will get fixed properly and that you will receive every penny you deserve from your insurance.
Whenever disaster strikes and our home or other property gets damaged, we’re always in a hurry trying to rectify the situation. This leaves many homeowners panicking and sometimes making rash decisions that aren’t always the best. In such cases, it’s crucial to slow down and make a plan of all the steps you have to take while considering all of the risks and issues you might face. If it seems daunting or you would like an expert opinion, call Ask An Adjuster for a free policy review and inspection. We will help you determine the extent of the damage and how much your insurance should pay to help you complete the repairs.