After a storm passes, many homeowners can be found walking around the exterior of their home and looking upward at the shingled roofs of their houses and garages. This type of visual inspection takes only minutes to do and provides an opportunity to spot any early signs of damage. If any damage is found, such as one or more missing or broken shingles, this early detection method can allow repairs to be made quickly before major leaks occur and water damage is sustained.
Homeowners who find that they have a missing shingle or two may want to make the repairs themselves right away. While the actual repair is relatively simple to do, there are some important things that homeowners must know before they get started.
Have you called the home insurance provider?
Even small amounts of roof damage should be reported to your home insurance agent or broker as soon as they are found. Taking this action is important because it documents that a storm incident has occurred, along with the date and time. Many roof failures due to storms do not show signs of damage or leaking for weeks or even months after the initial storm damage event occurs. Your notification of the event creates a file entry that may help you to prove your claim should issues with leaking occur later.
Has the inspector or insurance adjuster been there?
One of the first things to consider before grabbing the ladder and climbing atop the roof to replace a single missing or damaged shingle is whether more serious damage might have occurred. While your own visual inspection may not detect serious damage, the inspector or adjuster sent out by your insurance company may still find telltale signs that damage did occur. Replacing the missing shingle or taking other steps to repair the damage before the inspector arrives may skew their inspection findings and negatively affect any claim you may need to make.
Instead, consider covering the damaged area with a tarp or requesting that the insurance company send a roofing contractor to do so until the full inspection or assessment has been made.
Was hail involved in the storm?
Storms that included hail may have left few signs while still causing extensive damage to all or most of the roof. Homeowners who noted hail falling during the storm may be facing a roof replacement instead of a repair to just a single shingle.
To get specific information about how storm damage might affect their home's shingled roof, including any damage that may have occurred due to hail or wind, homeowners should meet with a roofing contractor to ask questions about roof shingle replacement.