How To Identify Wind or Hail Damage
A large storm came through with damaging winds and/or hail, but how do I know if there is damage to my home? You have come to the right
A short walk around your property can help you to identify if there is a need to bring in a professional or submit an insurance claim to your carrier. Some signs of a storm are fairly obvious, such as fallen trees or debris in your yard, but other signs of more major damage may be less obvious. We will highlight some of the most obvious items to look for below.
Parts of Your Home Exterior
While you may not be prepared to climb on the roof of your home, there are some signs you can look for from the ground level.
- Missing or creased roof shingles
- Dents in the soft metals on your roof are often visible from the ground level (examples: vents, chimney caps, skylights)
- Dents in gutters and downspouts
- Dents in window and door wraps
- Holes in screens, or chips/cracks on frames
- Chips or cracks in your siding or other wall coverings (including bricks)
- Chips or missing stain on your deck, fence, or other wooden surfaces
If you discover any signs of damage, we highly recommend finding a professional to complete a thorough inspection of your property. Harder-to-see damage on your roof can cause major issues if not repaired in a timely manner.
Experienced Storm Damage Restoration Contractor
Most companies offer free consultations prior to potentially expensive home repair projects. The storm restoration industry is no different. Often this is the fastest and easiest way to determine whether filing a claim with your insurance is necessary at no cost to you.
It is important to find somebody local that you can trust and to avoid storm chasers who will be long gone if you run into problems down the road. Locally in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, we have an abundance of exterior remodeling contractors. Reviews are a fantastic resource to find somebody with a proven track record.
A public adjuster works on your behalf to identify all reasonable and legitimate damage on your home. While this does incur an additional cost, it can expedite your insurance process by ensuring nothing is missed and all policy requirements are being met.
Their fee is often deducted from the total claim paid, which means you will not end up paying anything additional out of pocket. This will ensure you have adequate funds to find the best contractor available and not have to select the cheapest contractor who will most definitely be cutting corners.
They are directly hired by you, as well as trained to understand, and licensed to discuss insurance policies. Because of this they are one of the best advocates you can have prior to starting the claims process or bringing in at any point if you are receiving resistance from your insurance carrier.
Well educated or experienced contractors can also assist with the claims process. However, general contractors are limited by law from discussing or adjusting insurance claims. Any policy specific or pricing issues may need to be handled by you.
Often on smaller, under $15,000 claims, a public adjuster may not be available or willing to handle your claim. There is a shortage of licensed public adjusters compared to the number of claims, therefore they often focus on larger losses in which there is the most resistance from insurance carriers to payout what is necessary to complete repairs. In this case be sure to have a knowledgeable contractor on your side and assist as much as you can as your own advocate in the process.
File A Claim
Your carrier will then typically assign you an adjuster employed by them to access the damages on your home. Always request an in-person inspection with your own representation if possible (such as a trusted contractor or public adjuster). It is important to know the specifics of your insurance policy prior to submitting a claim to ensure there is enough damage to warrant a claim.
Know Your Rights
Review the full text of the Minnesota Fair Claims Practices at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/72a.201.
The American Policyholder Association is a non-profit 501c4 watchdog organization that promotes integrity, honesty and best practices in the property loss adjustment sector of the insurance industry. More information can be found on their website at https://apassociation.org/.