Is Hail Damage Considered Granule Loss?
As we enter into “hail season,” we want to make sure our customers are prepared with all the information they need if they encounter any hail damage. A lot of people ask us if granule loss is considered to be hail damage. And, does hailstone impact cause granule loss? First of all, let’s consider the history and purpose of granule composition shingles.
Asphalt shingles were developed in the late 1800s. Roofing manufacturers soon learned that coating the asphalt roofing material with granules extended the life of the product.
What Are The Purposes Of Granules On An Asphalt Fiberglass Shingle? Granules On A Roof Have Four Main Purposes:
- They are the protection of the asphalt coating from UV light.
- They add coloring and beauty.
- They provide fire resistance.
- They add to the aid in shingle packaging.
In today’s market, shingles are available in a wide range of colors and styles with 20-year lifetime warranties. One fact remains constant: all asphalt shingles have granule surfaces and manufacturers recognize granule asphalt shingles will not last forever, thus the wide range of warranties. As shingle ages, it loses granules as the adhesion qualities in the asphalt dissipate. The older the shingle, the more granules are released, consequently, the less ability the shingle has to resist the weather elements. Hail impact can cause a certain amount of granule loss. With this in mind, does hail impact automatically constitute roof failure?
Hail Impact Is Not The Only Cause Of Granule Loss
Hail impact is not the only element that can cause granule loss. Normal rainfall, wind or temperature change, and even foot trafficking can cause granule displacement from a shingle. It is true, after a heavy rain or hail storm, an abnormal amount of granules may be collected in the gutter system. When this happens, your first thought might be, “my roof is damaged.”
Consider the following: an individual makes a routine maintenance check on his property and decides to clean out the gutters. A recent hail storm had occurred and a collection of shingle granules was discovered. The overall appearance of the roof remains the same, but now there may be a concern of roof failure.
The number of granules collected from the gutters filled two-gallon containers. A gallon of roof granules weighs approximately 15 lbs. An average size house has a roof square footage of about 3,000 square feet or 30 squares of shingles. There are about 86 lbs. of granules in a square which would be a total of about 2,580 lbs. of granules. If you collected two gallons of granules in the gutter system (30 lbs.), it would take 86 YEARS to lose all the granules from the roof providing the same hail storm occurs every year!
This scenario is extreme and unlikely but provides enlightenment to our discussion. So, does granule loss automatically determine roof failure and constitute roof replacement? No! Granule loss is part of the natural aging process of shingle and is recognized as such by the roofing industry.
What To Do If Your Automobile Is Damaged By A Hail Storm
If your automobile has been damaged by a hail storm call your insurance agent and report the claim. Your agent will set up a claim file that will include your claim number, the name of the adjuster assigned to your claim and their contact information.
After large storms, it is not uncommon for your claim to be assigned to a Catastrophic Claim Team. They will inform you of the method to have your car repaired. If you ever lose track of where your claim is in the repair process, don’t hesitate to contact your agent. They will be able to point you in the right direction.
Get A Hail Damage Repair Estimate
Hail storm damage is considered a Comprehensive or Other Than Collision coverage so that deductible will apply. The proper deductible amount can be provided by your agent or the claims adjuster.
Get an estimate for the repair of your vehicle. Depending on the insurance company, they might have a list of preferred repair shops for you to choose from. You will receive a free estimate of the cost to repair your car. Under certain circumstances, the repair estimate/settlement check will not match up with the exact repair cost invoice. This difference will be worked out between the insurance company adjuster and the repair shop.
If your vehicle is an older model or has high mileage, be prepared for the vehicle to be declared a total loss.
So Your Car has been Totaled Now What? is a great place to get more information on the topic.
Hail Loss Damage Can Be Expensive
Hail losses are not inexpensive repairs. The total amount usually reaches an average of $3,000 to $4,000 depending on the make and model of the vehicle. If it was a large storm that damaged your vehicle the repair work might take longer than anticipated due to the large volume of vehicles that need repairs.
How To File A Hail Damage Claim
If you’re at home and witness a hail storm, the first thing to do is make a note of the date and time of the storm and begin the process of filing a hail damage claim. Our agency keeps records of any substantial wind and hail storms in our area so if you forget, we may be able to help you establish the correct date and time.
Hail Damage Checklist
Once you’ve taken note of the date and time of the hail storm, you’ll need to complete a few more tasks in order to ensure proper coverage. Once the storm has subsided, you’ll want to take photos of the following:
- The size of the hailstones. Use any object as a point of reference or better yet use a tape measure or ruler.
- Look for any immediate leaks inside of your home.
- Take photos of any hail damage that is immediately apparent. Such as damage to gutters, exterior siding, roof flashing, etc.
- Check for damage to your air conditioner.
- Hail damage to your roof in the form of torn shingles, missing shingles or dented shingles.
- Broken windows.
- Hail damage usually causes severe damage to your trees, shrubs and the plants in your yard.
- Damage to your car.
If there’s readily apparent hail damage to your home make any emergency repairs first. You have the authority to make those repairs in order to mitigate any further damage. Make sure to temporarily cover any broken windows and utilize tarps to cover any leaks in your roof.
You’ll also want to have your roof examined by a reputable roofing contractor. The roof inspection and estimate for repair should be free. Beware of signing anything that will obligate you to pay for any services.
Contact your agent and file a claim with your insurance company. Your agent will set up a hail damage claim file that contains the claim number, the name of the claims adjuster assigned to your claim, and any contact information such as phone numbers and e-mail addresses that will be helpful throughout the claim process.
After you submit your claim, the insurance company will send an adjuster to determine the extent of the damage. It’s common practice for your adjuster to meet with the roofing contractor in order to accurately assess the damage.
What Are The Time Limits For Filing A Hail Damage Claim?
We’ve noticed an uptick recently with insurance companies denying hail claims because they were not reported in a timely fashion. The issue of timeliness is addressed in a section of the homeowners’ policy entitled Duties After a Loss. When checking with the individual companies that we represent, we were surprised at how vague the various clauses were written and the disparity in stated time limits to report a claim.
There Are Several Reasons That Property Owners Might Hesitate To File An Insurance Claim.
- Concern about a loss causing an increase in their insurance rates or possible cancellation.
- Confusion about who is responsible for filing the claim.
- The consideration that it might be cheaper to make the repairs yourself.
- Don’t understand the policy term limits or the claims process.
Recommendations For Filing Your Claim
The Insurance Information Institute, III, and most insurance companies recommend that you file a claim as soon as possible if you suspect there may be hail damage. If a policyholder does not file their claim in a timely manner, they run the risk of having their claim denied by their insurer.
Most insurance policies require filing a claim within one year after determining your home has sustained wind/hail damage. However, not all policies are the same. It is important to thoroughly read your policy and know exactly what your duties are after a loss. As an independent insurance agency, we represent several different companies. A quick check revealed that most companies require filing a claim within a one-year time limit. There are, however, companies that have time limits as low as 180 days or as high as a full two years.
We recommend that you contact your agent if there is the slightest chance that you may have sustained wind/hail damage. We keep track of all of the local storms, dates, and severity. We’ll help you decide how and when to turn in a hail damage claim.