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What Is Considered Roofing Hail Damage In An Insurance Claim

There are a lot of discrepancies of opinion related to what is considered roofing hail damage in an insurance claim. These differences of opinion exist from roofing contractor-to-roofing contractor, adjuster-to-adjuster, between contractors and adjusters, or between insurance companies and pretty much everyone involved in the hail restoration business. The trouble is that determining what is, and what is not considered hail damage on a roof, is a difficult matter that must take into consideration a number of factors. These factors add complexity to clearly defining what is and what is not hail damage, and create a subjective grey area between them. What could have been a dropped hammer during installation could very well look like a hail hit, and vice versa. Are those hail hits, or blisters caused by poor attic ventilation? Is that dark spot bruised, or just missing granules? Word Jumble Depicting Hail Damage Factors

What Is Considered Hail Damage In An Insurance Claim

Without going down the rabbit hole of what is and what isn’t, let’s focus on the basics of what is considered hail damage in an insurance claim. There are four primary indications an insurance adjuster will take into consideration when determining if a roof has been damaged due to hail. Depending on the insurance company and the insurance adjuster’s standards, they may require one, some or all of the primary factors in order to consider a roof damaged by hail.
Primary Factors
When inspecting a roof, insurance adjusters will look for hail damage in the following order:
  • Missing Granules: Missing granules are typically the first thing that an insurance adjuster will look for when inspecting a roof. Reason being, these areas are usually the easiest to spot. When a hailstone (or whatever) strikes a shingle it can either knock loose the small granules that give a roof its color or push them into the shingle itself. Either way, this exposes the black substrate layer below the granules and will show up as a dark circle or scuff.
  • Bruising: When more closely examining the missing granule spots described above, an insurance adjuster will then check for bruising. Does the spot in question feel soft and spongy? Much like a tomato will bruise when bumped or struck, asphalt shingles will do the same. If the missing granule spot feels bruised, it is further indication that it was the result of hail.
  • Mat Breakage: When struck hard enough, the fiberglass matting that an asphalt shingle is built around will break and create cracks clear through the shingle making it open to water intrusion. If the “spots” in question are missing granules, show bruising, and have a broken fiberglass mat, chances are good that it will be considered hail.
  • Damage Pattern: If the above three criteria are met, and a random pattern of similar damage emerges throughout the roof surface, an adjuster will most likely determine that it is due to hail damage and recommend full replacement to the insurance company.

The Wild Card: Collateral Hail Damage

One major wild card that can weigh into an adjuster determining whether or not a roof has been damaged due to hail, is collateral damage. Collateral damage is indication of hail hits to other areas of the house including dents to fascia, gutters, vents, valleys, windows, siding, etc. Taking collateral hail damage into consideration is a “big picture” approach that many fair adjusters will take when not all of the primary factors may be present. If obvious sizeable damage has been inflicted to other areas around the home, but the shingle mat isn’t completely broken, the existence and extent of any collateral damage can sway the approval or denial of the roof insurance claim either way.
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