What Does Hail Damage Do to a Roof?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 36 seconds

All Hail

All Hail

Here in the Treasure Valley Idaho we had a big hail storm September 5th 2013. It came in from South West and clobbered the North West end of the valley hard, especially Eagle, Idaho. Roofers all over the region started licking their lips and scouting out the areas worst hit. As soon as spring arrived, the insurance claims started rolling in for roof replacement.

Why you ask should hail damage warrant a roof replacement? I got an education from a major claims adjustor, Mr. Mark Kim from Farmers Insurance, an expert in the field for this sort of catastrophe. We walked a roof together and I got to see hail damage first hand.

Not every home in the area was damaged, large trees sheltered many homes and the storm was spotty.

Levco works with insurance companies and local reputable roofers to evaluate possibly damaged homes and to replace hail damaged roofs when they are found.

What causes hail?

According to a wonderful local meteorologist, Scott Dorval, here is his “on air” explanation of how hail forms.

Basically atmospheric conditions must be just right:

  1. You’ve got to have thunderstorms. This means big updrafts and down drafts that recycle moisture up into freezing temperatures. As the pea size hail stone falls, sometimes they get wet again and lifted back up into freezing temperatures and refreeze, they grow this way until it weighs so much it cannot be held up any longer. Then they fall.
  2. We usually only get the pea size stones, however, this storm was more ferocious, had much larger hail stones, “golf ball size” according to some reports, and did quite a bit of damage.

What does hail do to the shingles?

Hail Damaged Roof

Hail Damaged Roof

Most of the shingles made these days are impregnated fiberglass with tar and rock chips imbedded on top. When significant size hail stones hit a roof they bruise the shingles causing an indentation much like a divot. This dent causes premature failure. The roof may not look that bad and may only have a portion of it damaged. Insurance companies would not be replacing your entire roof if it was not necessary.

How can you tell if you have hail damage?

The only way to determine if hail damage has occurred is to physically look at the shingles. If you see possible damage, file a claim and have a trained expert insurance adjustor do a “boots on the roof” inspection to determine if you have a worthy claim.

An experienced roofer may be a good judge of this sort of damage, especially if they come from a geographic area where hail damage is common. Roofers do not have the last word. Only an insurance adjustor can confirm a claim. (I recently inspected a roof that was made of an obsolete type of shingle that looked hail damaged but was not)

Can hail cause other damage?

Yes, hail can destroy plastic roof vents, it can ruin window screens, it can ruin patio covers and awnings, and can dent the heck out of vehicles and landscaping. In fact the collateral damage is often tell tail signs. The insurance adjustor will look for this on the ground long before they even get up onto the roof to confirm things.

Why does the entire roof need to be replaced?

As it was explained to me, the entire roof needs to be torn off and replaced because if you shingle over a faulty roof it will shorten the life expectancy of the new roof.

How do I choose a roofer?

orangelogo-smallRoofers come in all sizes and shapes, finding a reputable one starts with looking in your own back yard. We have many wonderful roofers to choose from. Roofers from out of the area are here to make a buck and take it back home to wherever they come from. Keep it local.

An experienced roofer will have an established business registered with the Idaho Secretary of State who issues a registration number when they prove annually that they have workers compensation and general liability insurance. They will also take out a permit for the project and have “third party verification” by a building inspector that the work was done according to local building codes.

Levco does hail damaged roof repairs. All of our roofers are registered with the state of Idaho and have the required insurances. We also do any gutter work that might be required. Best of all we also oversee the project from start to finish.

How much is my roof replacement going to cost?

The real answer is, “not a penny more than the insurance company allows, plus your deductible”

The insurance adjustor does an “estimate” based upon looking at your roof and measuring it. This is often done with the assistance of a computer program called Eagle View. It is an amazing program that can even allow an adjustor back east to know exactly what it will cost to replace your roof.

I’ll just have my buddy replace the roof

You may feel a temptation to have a buddy replace your roof, or get three bids and choose the lowest bidder to make a buck. You may even allow that contractor to put another layer on top of your existing roof (because it doesn’t look that bad.) You would not be the first one to have this thought. Buyer beware, the reason insurance companies pay top dollar for roof replacement is that they want it to be right. They also want a reputable company to do the work that provides a warranty.

Choose Levco for your hail damaged roof replacement.

Levco has a long history of working with insurance companies providing top notch results. We do the work for what the insurance company allows (they call it the RCV value) plus your deductible. This is regulated by law. Anyone offering to refund your deductible is likely breaking the law.

Bonus Round Questions?

  1. Who can tell me a real life story of hail damage storm chaser?
  2. Who as a good hail damage story to tell me?

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering replacing a hail damaged roof, needs remodeling, or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did. Here is a link to more insurance related FAQ’s

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.


  • Irene Ross says:

    I would like to schedule a time to have my roof inspected to see if it needs to be replaced. Also, what the cost would be. My phone number is 322-0759

  • Deanna Jones says:

    My area has also been seeing a lot of hail storms lately. My roof has taken a lot of hits from all of these storms, so I need to find a way to fix it. The information about how it can also harm plastic roof vents and window screens is quite surprising. I should check on those while I’m looking for a repair service to fix my roof. Thanks for the information!

    • Joe Levitch says:

      Thanks, unfortunately insurance adjusters are fairly subjective. I have had little luck guessing what they will cover and what they will not. Regardless, the concept is that hail diminished the life expectancy of the shingle. The mandate is to get you beck to the condition prior to the hail loss. I am reluctant to call in a claim unless the damage is quite obvious. best of luck

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