How can you tell if your roof has damage from hail?

Last night, we had a pretty good storm with 1" hail. It went on for about thirty minutes. My roof, about twenty years old or more, looks like it did the day before, but I don’t know how to check for damage. We get rain very rarely in the summertime, so I don’t want to wait until the next time it rains to know if we got damage. It may be difficult to point to hail as the cause of the leaks if the hail storm was months before the damage became apparent.

So, does anyone out there have some experience with this?

We were blasted last October. I thought the roof looked good, but the insurance adjuster told me otherwise. He pointed out little craters here and there that did indeed penetrate the shingle and into tar paper/wood. Not good.

Have your insurance company come over and inspect. That’s part of what you pay them for. I got a new roof (it was old anyway) for the cost of my deductable.

When you say the roof looks like it did before the hail storm, does that mean you went up there and inspected? Because that’s probably what you’ve have to do. Assuming you don’t have shingles lying in your yard, which would be a sure sign of damage, you could go up there and look for missing or badly damaged shingles (or tiles or whatever is on your roof).

Yeah, call your insurance company. If you want a second opinion, call a roofer.

This is all you need to say. Call your insurance agent.

1 inch hail for 30 minutes is likely to cause damage. have the insurance company come and inspect.

you might not see craters straight on but you might looking at a very shallow angle. the angle of the sun and wetting the roof also helps see the damage.

how much you might get depends on your policy.

I check my roof every year after the Spring storms are done. Broken shingles are easy to see if you are up there walking around. I sweep the pine needles off it in the Fall. If I see shingles curling up then I seal them back down before the hail can break them.

My roof is single story and a gentle slope. There’s No problems getting on it.

I have seen roofs with ridiculous slopes that I wouldn’t get on. Use common sense.

We’ve had a lot of hail this year, some big hail, though it only lasted a minute. We had a new roof put on a couple years ago. I remember, though, one year when there was a really bad storm (for this area) with monster hail that decimated our flowers (except the tuberous begonias that came back to life almost the next day) and the insurance company didn’t even come to take a look, but sent out an insurance adjuster who went door to door to the customers, and handed everyone a flat amount check! Just in case of hail damage. (about $1000 as I recall). I don’t know if they do, or would do, the same now. We had someone not afraid of heights climb up and take a look, he did a little minor damage repair, but there wasn’t $1000 worth. (and yes, we did call our insurance company and try to return most of the money, but they said it would be easier all around if we just kept it all.)

30 minutes of 1" hail? Can’t say I’ve ever heard of that before - I’m surprised you still *have *a roof.

I recently had a couple fights with my insurance company on this and if you get anything out of it will depend on your specific inspector.

The easiest way to determine hail damage is to look for dents on your sheet metal - flashing, around vents, stuff like that. Really bad hail damage will also put dents into shingles deep enough that you can see the fiberglass under the pebbles.

Whether or not the company pays technically comes down to your policy and how many hail strike damage divots you her per 10 square feet, IIRC. Allstate’s, for example, is way high. It can go from five strikes to the more average eight.

Allstate’s is like 17, which suuuucks.


Thanks for the advice, everyone. Sounds like I need to take a look around some more and probably call my agent. I’ve been with them for a loooooooong time and I have never made a homeowners claim, so hopefully they will be gentle.

It seems to me that the hail part of the storm was about thirty minutes. I didn’t think to time it at the time. I’ve seen worse hail, but it was coming down pretty good for a while. Thankfully, my cars spend the night in the garage, so there was no damage to them.

Some of this depends upon the slope of the roof. If the slope is steep, you can see better from the ground with a telescope. And a steep sloped roof is less prone to this damage because of the angle of impact, depending upon wind direction.

If the slope is very low, you can’t see much from the ground anyway. The chances of damage with a walkable roof are much greater.

The clearest way to find damage is to walk the roof looking for it. Generally, the damage would be fairly uniform across the roof. If the roof is too steep for you to walk, at least getting up to the edge and leaning over would allow direct inspection of an area that might give a good indication.

You were interested in hail. The damage would be in the form of cracks in the shingles. Shingles could have tiny cracks that won’t become evident for months. If you don’t see cracks and no shingles are missing, it’s going to be hard to pin latent damage on the insurance company later.

INspect as well as you can yourself. Any indications of damage suggest a roofer’s inspection, which some will do as a free service hoping for business later. And go on record now with your insurance company to support a later claim of latent damage.

PS. Shingles are great protection for a home. They are not designed to be leak proof. They breath. Water is blown up under them. The real leak protection comes from the proper underlayment. Sometimes entire roofs are underlayed with weather guard covering that never leaks no matter how many damaged shingles you have.

A couple years ago, my entire neighborhood got new roofs because of hail damage that had happened at least a year before that. One homeowner questioned his insurance agent about possible damage, and suddenly everyone had their insurance people out checking their roofs. (The insurance company will check weather reports to verify that you had hail of a certain magnitude within the recent past.)
I was a little hesitant because I didn’t want to just scam the insurance company out of a new roof if there wasn’t real damage – and we hadn’t detected any leaks or other signs.
But they sent out an inspector, who got up on the roof along with the roofing company rep we had contacted, and they agreed that there were undeniable signs of hail damage. They paid for an entirely new roof, which was great because the roof was about at its age limit anyway. I usually hate insurance companies, but I thought they really were generous this time.
So definitely worth contacting your insurance company. If they say there’s hail damage, you can save yourself many thousands of dollars.

Last time my roof was done they did it “old school”. Heavy tar paper first. Then the 30 year shingles.

The tar paper alone is a decent roof. I’ve seen shotgun shacks in rural areas that only had tar paper roofs. It’s a cheap way of roofing that only lasts for a few years. First hard hail storm and a tar paper roof is shot.

The shingles are there to protect the tar paper from sun and hail. So, I really have two layers of protection from leaks.

Next roof I do (assuming I out live my current one) will be the new steel roofing panels. I think they have a 50 year warranty. More expensive to buy and install, but hopefully the cost will drop after it’s been on the market a few more years.