Identifying hail damage to your roof

Do you know what hail damage looks like?

When hail hits, it can strike your roof and may damage your shingles or other property. Although hailstorms can be destructive, the amount of damage can vary.  The type and degree of damage may be impacted by the following factors:

  • Wind – During a hailstorm, wind direction and wind speed may vary.  Changes in wind conditions may affect the location and severity of hail impacts. 
  • Size and density – The size of the hailstones can affect the degree of damage, if any, to your property.  A hailstone can be as small as a pea, or as large as a softball.  Most hailstones do not have smooth edges, which can impact the type of damage they may cause.
  • Building  materials – Building materials absorb hail impacts differently.  For example, hail may cause dings in aluminum siding, gutters or asphalt shingles, whereas it may  crack vinyl siding or wood shakes.  Alternatively, softball sized hailstones may be dense enough and strong enough to puncture a roof.   Additionally, the age and condition of a roof could also affect the degree of damage.
  • Barriers – The position of neighboring structures and natural barriers, like tree cover, landscaping, fences or adjacent homes may reduce the ability of hail to cause damage.


What does hail damage to your roof look like?
Shingles may react differently when struck by hail. For example, hail damage to asphalt and composition shingles may look very different than hail damage to wood shingles.

Hail damage to composition shingles

The main characteristics of hail damage to asphalt and composition shingles include:

•  Random damage with no
   discernable pattern
•  Hail hits that are black in color
•  Loss of granules, which may
   expose the roof felt
•  Asphalt and/or mat that appears
   shiny
•  Hail hits that are soft to the touch,
   like the bruise on an apple

Hail damage to wood shingles

The main characteristics of hail damage to wood shingles include:

•  Random damage with no 
   discernable pattern
•  A split in the shingle that is
   brown/orange in color
•  A split in the shingle that has sharp
   corners and edges
•  A split in the shingle that has little to
   no deterioration at the edges
•  Impact marks or dents along the
   splits

Other types of damage to shingles may be mistaken for hail damage. For example, exposure to inclement weather and sunlight makes shingles brittle and gives them an aged appearance.  This normal wear and tear of shingles, which is sometimes misidentified as hail damage, may also include:

  • Blistering  
  • Cracking  
  • Granule loss

 

  • Flaking
  • Algae

Manufacturing defects and mechanical imperfections in shingles may also be mistaken for hail damage.

If you believe you have damage from hail, call your agent or insurance representative to discuss possible next steps.

How damaging is hail?

Watch the world's first indoor hailstorm simulation

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