Answering Your Questions About Roofing

The Claim After The Storm: Vital Steps You Need To Take After Your Roof Suffers Storm Damage

by Donald Evans

Storms are a major source of severe roofing damage. High winds can turn tree branches and yard debris into flying projectiles that can crack or displace shingles, and heavy rain or lightning can cause trees to fall on your roof. If your roof has been damaged in a storm, there are several things you must do immediately in order to maximize your chances of being reimbursed by your insurance company, even before you call a roofing contractor like Todd Harkleroad Roofing Inc. to receive an estimate for storm damage roof repair.

Safety First

The very first thing you should do is survey your home and your yard for potential electrical hazards; if you see any downed power lines, call your electric company first and have them fix the issue before you proceed any further. The electricity from downed power lines can travel easily through gutters and siding and may be fatal. In a similar way, if any trees have fallen over and come to rest against a power line, you'll want to wait until the power company can come trim them away. Electricity from a power line can sometimes arc to the leaves on a wet tree.

Take An Inventory

When filing an insurance claim for a storm-damaged roof, the first thing that you will want to do is to note all the damage that occurred and take pictures if at all possible. You are looking for signs of damage such as cracked or missing shingles, shingles that are bending at odd angles, damaged rain gutters, or holes in the roof. Your insurance company will need notes on all the damage caused by the storm when you file your insurance claim, so it's important to be thorough. In addition to any damage to your roof, you'll also want to note any damage to windows, doors, or personal property.

One thing that people often miss after storm damage is water intrusion on the inside of the home. Use a flashlight to check the ceiling in every room of your house for discolored areas. Water damage often occurs far away from where the roof has actually been damaged, so make a full inspection of your home.

Make Some Calls, And Then Begin Emergency Repairs

When your roof has been damaged by a storm, you'll first want to call your insurance company, then the county emergency management agency, and then finally a roofing contractor that has experienced in storm damage roof repair. Since severe storms affect a large area at once, it's likely that both your insurance company and the contractor you call will be very busy adjusting claims and making estimates elsewhere in your neighborhood. While you are waiting, you will need to begin emergency repairs; you will be reimbursed by your insurance company for the cost of materials associated with these repairs.

Why is this important? Your insurance company will cover all damage that resulted from the storm; however, that is the only thing they will cover! If you neglect to make emergency repairs and a later rainstorm causes water damage, you will be fully liable for that damage. Emergency repairs do not need to be extensive; all holes in the roof, along with areas that have cracked or missing shingles, should be covered with a tarp. Make sure the tarp lays flat on the roof and is slanted in such a way that rainwater is directed away from the roof; you definitely don't want water pooling on the tarp. Similarly, board up or place a tarp over any broken windows or doors.

Following these steps after a storm ensures that you will have the greatest chance that your insurance company will fully cover your storm-damaged roof. After you have successfully made your emergency repairs, contact a roofing contractor as soon as possible to receive an estimate for the cost of repairing the damage.