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FAQ & Glossary: Frequently Asked Questions and A Glossary Of Roofing Terms

Q: What does hail do to my roof and why will my insurance company pay to replace my roof?

A: Hail damages the shingle mat, which holds the granules that protect the mat from the elements. As the shingle expands and contracts it will lose granules thus, exposing the mat, which in turn dries out and allows moisture to enter causing leaks and an eventual complete roof system failure.

Q: How do I know if I have hail damage to my roof? Can I tell from the ground?

A: If you've had hail in your area, to determine if the shingles have been damaged a close inspection of the shingles has to be made from the roof. Usually you cannot tell from the ground.

Q: In my adjustment, my insurance company deducted some money for depreciation, what is that all about?

A: Different insurance companies call the amount that they hold back different things. Some call it depreciation; other companies figure it in as a dump and removal fee. What it represents is the amount of money the company will hold back until they receive a signed contract from you and a contractor for the work. When they receive a signed contract, you will receive another check for the amount they have held back.

Q: My insurance adjuster said there was no hail damage on his first inspection, I asked an Insurance Specialist to call him and request to walk through a reinspection with him. On the reinspection the adjuster concluded that there was hail damage and "totaled" the roof. Why such a dramatic turn around?

A: In some cases the first adjuster has seen so many houses that day, he was fatigued, and at times smaller hail is harder to locate. Another possibility is that the adjuster could have not been experienced enough to determine the damage, so a more qualified person would need to be sent out. In some cases damage does not show up right away.

Q: What does hail do to a roof?

A: Shingles are designed so that the granules block the UV of the sun and protect the asphalt underlayment. As the shingles age the granules falloff over time. As the asphalt is exposed the UV, it dries out and the shingle gets a "potato chip" appearance as the corners start to curl up. A shingle at the extreme end of its life is bubbled in appearance and is brittle to the touch. A 20year shingle is warranted by the manufacturer to have a useful life, under optimal ventilation conditions, of 20 years. Hail does several things: Accelerates granule loss. Accelerates shingle aging. Voids manufacturer's warranties. Leads to other associated problems.

Q: Do I need to get my roof replaced right away?

A: The insidious nature of hail damage is that it may pose no immediate threat to the structural integrity of the roof. However, many insurance companies have a "statute of limitations" of how long a hail claim is viable. If you have experienced a loss such as hail damage it is prudent to take care of the problem in a timely manner before it leads to other associated problems.

Q: What does hail hit look like?

A: A hail hit on a shingle looks like a "bruise" or a dark spot where the granules on the shingle have been knocked off and the asphalt underlayment and sometimes the fiberglass mat is exposed. New hail hits will have a shiny appearance because the asphalt has been freshly exposed and has not had time to weather to a dull color.

Q: If I think I have hail damage what should I do?

A: Sometimes adjusters get to a roof too soon after the actual damage and the hits haven't had a chance to weather yet. Sometimes the adjusters are inexperienced. Sometimes they were tired after looking at so many roofs that day. Sometimes they just make mistakes. The best results for the benefit of homeowners seem to be obtained when an experienced roofer walks through the inspection with the insurance adjuster and calls to the adjuster's attention any damage that he sees.

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