No matter how durable your roof is, it’s bound to suffer some form of damage after a storm. What are the steps you should take if your roof suffered storm damage?
Do: Contact Your Insurer
Standard insurance policies usually cover storm damage, although coverage does vary depending on your provider. That’s why you need to contact your insurer to find out if storm roof damage is covered by your insurance policy. Your agent should walk you through the application process for filing a claim.
Warranty vs. Insurance Policies
Some homeowners make the mistake of thinking a warranty provides a similar level of protection as an insurance policy. However, warranties only cover roof repairs and replacements caused by manufacturer defects or installation errors.
Tip: filing a claim with your insurer isn’t as straightforward as it seems. If you’re having a hard time filing a claim, you can consult a roofing contractor. Some contractors, including Orion Home Improvements LLC, offer insurance claims assistance.
Do: Document Signs of Damage
As soon as the weather clears up, make sure to take pictures of leaks, water stains or any sign of moisture damage. Check your backyard for pieces of shingles that may have been dislodged by gale-force winds. It would also be a good idea to see if other parts of your exterior were damaged. Before processing your claims, your insurer will require you to submit documentation of storm damage, which is why you need to make sure you take note of every sign of damage.
Tip: Don’t attempt to climb onto your roof to inspect it – since you can’t tell which parts of your roof have been damaged, you may inadvertently hurt yourself. A smarter and safer way of inspecting your roof would be to look through your attic. Since it’s located directly under your roof, the first signs of water damage usually appear here.
Do: Take the Necessary Steps to Mitigate Storm Damage
Cover holes in your roof with a tarp to keep your home from getting soaked. Remember: your insurance policy only covers storm damage, not damage stemming from any neglect on the homeowner’s part. However, don’t attempt to fix the leaks, no matter how minor they may seem. It’s always best to let roofing professionals handle roof repairs.
Do: Have a Contractor Inspect Your Roof as Soon as Possible
Keep in mind that it’s easy to miss the warning signs of moisture damage, which is why you should have a professional roofing contractor inspect your exterior as soon as possible?
Tip: Keep your contractor’s contacts in a notebook, or take note of it in your phone. That way, you can immediately call them in the event a storm damages your roof. Ideally, your contractor should be based near your area so travel time between their office and your home can be reduced. Remember: the longer it takes for a contractor to inspect and repair a leaky roof, the higher the risk storm damage will affect other parts of your home.
What if There Aren’t Any Roof Leaks?
As a rule of thumb, you should schedule a roofing inspection after an extreme weather event. That’s because it takes some time for moisture to accumulate in parts of your roof and signs of moisture damage to appear. And, by the time they do appear, it’s already too late to mitigate storm damage.
Don’t: Delay Filing an Insurance Claim
File an insurance claim as soon as you finish preparing the necessary documents. The time limit for filing an insurance claim can last anywhere from 30 days to an entire year, although this depends on your policy. Even if your insurer has a fairly long time limit, we’d still recommend you file a claim as soon as possible. That’s because if you wait too long, you may have to prove to your insurer that your roof was damaged by an extreme weather event and not by a secondary cause. Not to mention you may have to shoulder some of the repair costs if an appraiser notices that some of the roof damage could have been prevented if it was repaired more quickly.
Tip: It’d be a good idea to keep all of your roofing documents, including your roofing insurance policy, in a cabinet. That way, you’ll know where to find them in case your roof is damaged during a storm.
Don’t: Put Off Scheduling Repairs
The same goes for roof repairs: don’t put off scheduling roof repairs. The sooner you can have your roof inspected by a professional roofing contractor, the better.
Don’t: Attempt to Repair Your Roof Yourself
It can be tempting to try and fix a small roof leak yourself. If the damage is this small, you shouldn’t need the help of a contractor, right? Water follows the path of least resistance so the location of a leak or your water stains might not be the source of rainwater. Patching a leak in your ceiling will temporarily prevent your interior from getting soaked, but it doesn’t fix the underlying cause, which in this case is a hole in your roof.
Don’t: Forget to Check Your Gutters
Aside from your roof, you should also have your gutters inspected. Wind-driven debris might have punctured holes in your gutters or loosened some of its fasteners. Your gutter system diverts rainwater away from your roof and foundation, and towards drains. If your gutters are neglected, it’s only a matter of time until your roof suffers moisture damage. That’s why it’s important to have a roofing professional inspect your gutters along with your roof.
The Advantages of Installing Seamless Gutters
If you need a gutter replacement, you may want to consider a seamless gutter installation. A conventional gutter system is composed of several sections, which are connected by seams. The seams are considered to be the weak point of a standard gutter system. Under excess weight load, these sections may start to pull apart from each other at the seams. As the name suggests, seamless gutters lack seams because they’re made of a single metal piece that’s custom-designed for your roof. Since they don’t have any seams or joints, seamless gutters are more resistant to leaks.
Don’t: Forget to Vet a Prospective Contractor
Always vet contractors before hiring them. It takes a certain level of expertise to spot all the warning signs of roof damage, after all.
Avoid Storm Chasers
You should be wary of storm chasers – out-of-state contractors who follow storms in the hopes of making a considerable profit by doing as many repairs as quickly as possible. They’re notorious for their shoddy workmanship. Storm chasers will often knock on homeowners’ doors, offering to fix their roof for cheap, only to do a poor job or in some cases running away with the money without doing any work.
Keep in mind that a contractor showing up on your doorstep is a red flag in itself – no professional contractor will go door to door to offer their services. If you encounter a storm chaser, kindly decline the offer.
How to Tell if a Contractor is Reputable
How can you tell if contractors are qualified for the job? Ask for their license number and proof of workers’ compensation. It’d be better if you can hire local contractors since it’s easier to cross-check their references. Not to mention local contractors have a reputation to uphold in their communities so you can expect a high level of service from them. You can also look for an accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Only contractors that consistently provide a high level of customer service are accredited by the BBB.
Orion Home Improvements LLC, an accredited business with the BBB, offers a wide range of professional roofing services, including storm damage restoration, insurance claims assistance and seamless gutter installation services.