Identifying hail damage on something like your car, is relatively straightforward. The round dings in metal are obvious signs of hail damage. However, determining whether your roof has sustained damage from a hailstorm may be a little more difficult. It’s important to keep your roof in top condition to avoid structural deterioration that may cause leaks. Many insurance companies will pay for a roof that has been damaged by hail, but it must be correctly assessed. Insurance adjusters will require the opinion of a professional roofing contractor before they will consent to the work being done, but you can also check for hail damage yourself before calling a roofer by following these tips.

1. Search for damage on the metal. Check metal roof vents, flashing or metal valleys on the roof to see if there are any dents. Soft metal will show dents, and also indicate the size of the hail.

2. Set up a ladder to your roof to examine the top of the roof.
• Check the ridge cap of the roof for dents. This area of the roof will receive the most damage from hail since it is flat and will take a direct hit in a storm.
• Look at the shingles. Check the whole shingle, as well as the edges, for signs of damage.

3. Identify the types of damage caused by hail. The 3 major signs of hail damage include bruising, cracking and granules missing from asphalt.
• Check for missing pieces in the asphalt of the roof. Look for areas on the shingle that have exposed, black substrate. This means the granules of the asphalt have been compromised or knocked off by something.
• Search for bruising in the shingles. Dents from hail are not always completely visible. Run your hand over the shingle to feel for small dimples in the surface. Press 1 of the dimples to see if it has any give. If it does, this is a sign that the shingle has begun some deterioration.
• Look for cracking in the shingle. Large hail can make a circular crack if the hail hits it hard enough.

However, even the brave homeowner who climbs up a ladder to inspect their roof can overlook everything but the obvious severe (or aged) damage. New hail damage can be very subtle and typically only the trained eye knows what to look for.

Insurance companies understand hail damage only gets worse with time and are willing to repair it as soon as it occurs. Some insurance policies cover storm damage for up to one year from the date of the storm, some up to two years. If you (the homeowner) waits too long to file, your insurance company may deny the claim saying “Sorry, you should have called us when it happened.” Don’t delay, address your hail damage ASAP!