How Long Do You Have After a Hail Storm to File a Claim with Your Insurance?

If you live in Colorado, you’re probably already familiar with hail storms and all the problems they cause. As long as these destructive storms keep coming through the west, homeowners need to be on the lookout for hail damage.

Homeowners in Denver know their homes are in danger of getting impacted by hail at some point in the future. If you notice any hail damage right away, you can stop it causing further damage to your roof. But what if you don’t? If you’re just now finding out that a hail storm did damage to your home, you probably have a lot of questions. 

How long do you have to contact your insurance company?

Right off the bat, you’ll probably want to know how long you have to file a claim after finding hail damage.

Even though it’s best to file your claim right away, there are many things that could make that hard. For example, you might not have known your home was damaged until a long time after the fact.

Each state has its own rules about how long you have to report storm damage to your insurance company. Colorado residents have two years from the storm date to file a claim through their homeowner’s insurance, but that doesn’t mean you should wait to take care of it.

Hail damage on asphalt shingle roof in Denver, CO

It’s important to fix hail damage sooner rather than later

When hail damages your home, especially your roof, it’s best to fix it as soon as possible. Here are a few examples of how even small hail damage to your roof can cause big problems in the future:

Shingles that are broken or missing

The shingles on your roof are a big part of how safe your home is. Large pieces of hail or the strong winds that come with these storms can do a lot of damage to shingles by cracking or ripping them off. In either case, this leaves your roof open to the weather, which lets water into your home.

This moisture causes mold, mildew, and rot over time. All of this means that you will have to make a lot of expensive repairs to your home that could have been avoided.

Exposed fiberglass mat from under roof shingles

Most of the time, the fiberglass mat on your roof is hidden from view by the shingles. If high winds blow these shingles off or if they get damaged enough to let the mat show, the mat can be damaged.

If the fiberglass mat gets damaged, it can crack and tear, which makes it easier for water to get into the insulation and into your home.

Loose or dented gutters

During hail storms, your gutters can get pretty banged up and also quickly fill up with debris. If the gutters don’t drain well, they overflow onto your roof, leaving standing water that will eventually get under the shingles and into your home. If gutters are damaged they won’t properly drain water away from your home, this can lead to foundation damage.

These are just a few of the ways that hail storms can damage your home, but they don’t always show up right away. Sometimes, you might not even realize there’s a problem until a lot of damage has already been done and is clear.

Even after the storms have ended and the sky has cleared, these unpleasant surprises can still happen. Don’t let yourself be surprised! The best way to protect your home is to find problems as soon as you can.

How to Spot Early Hail Storm Damage

As soon as a hail storm is over:

Get a roof inspection

Roofers are well trained in spotting hail damage, schedule a roof inspection for hail damage with a local Denver based roofing company. For storm damage it is vital to work with a local company. 

Before your scheduled roof inspection, you can assess some damage yourself. Walk around your property to see if there are any signs of damage. Look for pieces of shingles or granules on the ground. Definitely look up, look for signs of storm damage like missing shingles, exposed wood, or spotty coloring.

Inspect your gutters closely

Keep a close eye on your gutters as you walk around your home. Look for places where they’re sagging or signs that they’re full of tree debris. Heavily dented or loose gutters will not drain water properly and can cause water damage to your home, from the roof to the foundation. Look closely at your downspouts to see if they are still securely attached to your home and make sure they are still directing water away from your house. If you see granules, which are the little specks that protect your shingles, there is damage to your roof that needs to be fixed.

Check out any visible metal parts of your roof

During hail storms, your roof’s metal parts, like the fascia, soffit, and roof flashing, can also get damaged.

Soffits are small holes in your roof that let air in and out. If these are broken, your home won’t be able to “breathe” as well, which can cause problems down the road, like ice dams.

Flashing is a thin piece of metal that keeps water out of your house. If you see broken metal under your roof shingles, you’ll need to call for help.

The fascia is a piece of metal that looks nice and is where your gutters attach. This metal piece, which is also called “transition trim,” gives you a safe place to attach your gutters without hurting the roof. If you see any damage in this area, you should fix it before water damage happens.

When it comes to taking care of your home, nothing is too small to fix if you notice any of these problems or anything else that doesn’t look right. It’s better to be safe than to have to deal with bigger problems down the road.

Lightening strike in a dark sky over Denver, CO

What if you find damage well after the storm is over?

It’s easy to miss damage to your roof, especially in places that are hard to see. If that’s the case, I can see why.

Talk with your agent about your options. Most of the time, temporary fixes are fine, but if you try to make permanent fixes on your own, it could invalidate your claim and cause it to be denied. Before you try to fix anything in your home, talk to your insurance agent.

Make sure to write down every step of the process, including the dates and times of everything, in case you need it later. Start with when you first notice the damage.

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