Skip to main content

What to Look for After a Hail Storm

Hail storms can rip through a town quickly, damaging cars, windows, siding and roofs in just a few minutes. These storms can also leave very little or no damage if the hailstones are small or not very dense.

What might be scarier than the damage is that someone may try to tell you that your roof is damaged from hail when it’s not. These fraudulent contractors make a living by following storms around the country and asking to repair your undamaged roof. Their pitch may seem convincing, but it takes a trained eye to distinguish hail damage from other types of common roof damage. It’s also impossible to distinguish types of damage without climbing onto the roof.

“Most people don’t go up on their roof, which is a good thing considering it’s a risky place to be,” says Dave LeFaiver, ERIE’s supervisor of property claims. “But, that means most people aren’t sure what a truly hail-damaged roof looks like. Fraudsters can take advantage of this and often leave door-hangers that say ‘Your roof is damaged. Please contact us to help you repair it.’”

While there are many reputable contractors who do know how to identify and repair hail damage, the few disreputable ones can leave a mess and confusion behind.

Warning Signs

The best defense to this type of insurance fraud is to ask the contractor questions. LeFaiver suggests checking out any contractor through the Better Business Bureauand working only with local contractors. He also suggests asking for a list of references from the surrounding area and for identification, such as a driver’s license.

“Take you’re time in choosing a contractor,” LeFaiver says. “Don’t let anyone pressure you into signing a contract. With hail damage, you have time on your side.”

Unlike damaged windows, a damaged roof most likely will not disrupt normal life, according to LeFaiver.

“A hail-damaged roof can wait a few months before fixing as long as the roof isn’t leaking. If a contractor is pressuring you to fix the roof immediately, or if their address is from out-of-town, they may not be the contractor you want to work with.”

What’s Hail Damage? What’s Not?

There are also types of roof damage, such as normal wear and tear, that might be misconstrued as hail damage. It’s important to know the difference.

“Insurance is meant to cover unexpected and sudden damage, such as those caused by a hail or windstorm,” explains LeFaiver. “Damage caused by manufacturing defects or installation errors isn’t covered.”

Hail damage often is only on one side of the roof, and it’s a series of “bruises” that appear in a pattern based on the direction of the wind. It’s typically darker than the shingles.

Lighter marks left after a hail storm often mean algae or lichen have been knocked off—in most of these cases, the shingles themselves are not damaged.

Installation errors, such as nails poking through, and manufacturing defects in shingles can also be mistaken for hail damage. On newer roofs, the contractor should be expected to address these problems, rather than an insurance company.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.