As a lawyer who handles property insurance claims I am often asked how to determine whether a roof has suffered hail damage.
Damage from hail usually has a distinct mark. Some examples are below. It will bruise or mark the granules or the gravel on a commercial built-up roof. It may also cause dents in the soft metals on a roof, including the vents or the fins of HVAC units. Finally, it may cause punctures or marks to the exterior insulation and finishing systems (EIFS).
As shown in the photograph, some hail marks can be difficult to discern. It is important that you conduct a thorough examination of hail. Left untreated, even a small hail mark can lead to problems. Once the fibers or the membrane of a roof are compromised by hail the erosion process will accelerate and lead to a shorter life span for the roof.
There are only a few things that will cause damage to a commercial roof. Oftentimes an insurance adjuster will examine a roof following a hailstorm and deny a claim by blaming the damage on “wear and tear” or “mechanical damage.” I have even had insurance adjusters deny a hail claim by blaming the damage on pigeon droppings!! If you suspect you have hail damage it is important to have your own expert examine your roof.
Your expert may indeed find wear and tear or mechanical damage, BUT your expert may also see evidence of hail among the other damage.
In order to have a claim, you must be able to prove that the damage occurred in your policy period and that it caused “functional” damage. Again you will need an expert to assist with this determination. An expert will mark a 10’ by 10’ section of your roof (called a test square). Then he/she will count the hits in that square. Keep in mind that not all sections of the roof will be struck by hail in a uniform manner. An entire section may have extensive hail damage while another section shows none. This may be especially true on sloped roofs.
I have worked with many of the most reputable and thorough roof experts in Texas. My experts typically represent only the policyholder and they are very good at holding property insurance companies accountable.
If you have a property damage claim, call me. I will help you navigate the claims process.