Massachusetts Hail Damaged Roofs
If you live in the Metrowest area of Massachusetts there is the strong possibility that the roof on your home may have been damaged by the hail storm that took place in May of 2009.
You may be thinking to yourself that you remember the hail storm but looked up at your roof and did not notice any damage. The fact of the matter is you can’t see hail storm damage from the ground. The truth is many home inspectors do not even know what to look for because they receive no formal training on hail damaged roofs.
A homes roof must be physically inspected by a person who has training and experience to determine if there is actual hail damage. Insurance companies send their adjusters to special training so they can properly identify hail damage to a home.
With hail damage you will see some of the tiny granules of a roof missing. Over time the roof damage will get progressively worse and shorten it’s lifespan. Eventually your roof will end up leaking.
Even if your roof has minimal damage you have a valid insurance claim and should file with your insurance company. The damage caused by a hail storm might not cause your roof to leak for years. This makes it critical to have someone who is qualified inspect your roof. Figuring out whether you need a new roof is important when the damage takes place not at some point in the future. You will see below when we discuss insurance ramifications why this becomes so important.
As a Realtor, I have seen hail damage become a tremendous advantage to someone who is thinking of selling their home in the near future or even a few years down the road. You may be wondering how roof damage could possibly be advantageous? The answer is simple….a new roof has one of the lowest returns on investment in a home. The is no question that replacing a roof is expensive! For a decent size home of around 3000 square feet you could easily be looking at $10,000 – $15,000 for replacement.
When you go to put your home on the market you can forget about tacking on that money to your asking price. Buyer’s are not going to pay for your new roof. Are you beginning to see the picture why the hail storm was a boon to home owners? In the last year I have been able to save a few of my clients a boat load of money because of my knowledge about the hail storm and insurance claims.
I had a couple home owners in Hopkinton Massachusetts that were selling their home and it was clear to me that their roofs were nearing the end of their lifespan. They had not gone through a home inspection yet but there was a strong possibility the home inspector would fail the roof. It would not be unreasonable for a buyer to ask for a replacement which would have cost the seller thousands of dollars! Instead I had the seller file a claim for hail damage and they got a free roof less their deductible. You can bet the seller and the new owner were both thrilled.
Making a Hail Storm Damage Roof Insurance Claim
In the streets leading up to the neighborhood where I live there were at least fifteen homes that had roofing contractor signs in the front yard. This has been big business for the roofing contractors in the area. In fact the damage was so wide spread there were even contractors from out of state getting into the fray. Out of state roofing companies are often known as “storm chasers”. It is not uncommon for home owners in areas where damage has occurred to be offered a “free” roof. You may find that roofing companies call you or stuff your mailbox with their fliers looking for business.
So what do you do if you think you may have hail damage to your roof and want to file an insurance claim? You should 1st check your home insurance policy and make sure you are covered. As long as you are, put in a call to your insurance agent. They will get a claim started on your behalf and ask an insurance adjuster to visit your home and look at the roof.
At the same time you will also be wanting to get in touch with a local roofing contractor to give you an estimate on replacement. You should actually have the roofing contractor/contractors visit 1st to verify you do in fact have hail damage.
Often times the insurance adjuster is going to want to get together with the roofing contractor to make sure they are on the same page. The roofing contractor you are hiring should have no problem meeting the adjuster with you. The adjuster will take pictures of any damage and then explain what the next steps will be. Some adjusters may give you a settlement quote right on the spot while others may take up to a few weeks. The adjuster and roofing contractor are more than likely going to compare notes to see if the total roof measurements are about the same.
If the insurance adjuster happens to think there wasn’t any significant damage you will need to have your contractor debate it with them. If you are not able to have your roofing contractor at the home when the adjuster can be there most insurance companies will agree to have the adjuster come back at a later date.
It is as simple as that! You should also keep in mind that many insurance policies have some kind of deductible that you will need to pay. In my experience quite a few of the local roofing contractors will absorb that fee in order to get your business. As with any other business it would be prudent to get references and make sure the roofing contractor is licensed and insured.
If you don’t ever remember any hail storms but have been approached by a roofing contractor for a new roof don’t fool yourself into thinking you are going to get one if there is no damage.
The other thing you need to keep in mind is that your insurance premium is going to rise when you put in a claim. When there are numerous insurance claims being put in by other home owners in your area, your rate is more than likely going to go up anyways.
Other useful Real Estate articles:
- Home warranty benefits
- Staging a Massachusetts home
- Massachusetts bedroom misrepresentation with septic systems
About the author: The above Real Estate information on hail damage to roofs|Insurance claims from hail was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out ofmany Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Upton, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Douglas.
Great article on hail storm damage to your roof Bill. I am one of the lucky home owners who put in a claim with my insurance company and was able to get a free roof. It would not have been too many more years before I needed a new roof so this was a blessing!
Thanks Tom! There have been quite a few people I have told that did not realize they could get a roof replacement because of the hail storms.
Hi Bill, This is a great article on hail. We don’t get much hail out here in Oregon and it tends to be small. Insurance is something that most homeowners take for granted. It is very important to understand what is covered and what is not covered. Reviewing your policy with your insurance agent is a good thing.
Wayne – We don’t get hail in Massachusetts all that often either but when it does hit there is a decent chance that it can be big enough to do some serious damage!
Bill, As a contractor who is the largest residential roofer in the United States, ( in 42 states under same name), I think your blog makes some fabulous points. It nonetheless, also makes a point about your rates going up for filing a claim? Hail is an act of God covered by your home owners insurance policy. It is NOT your fault the hail storm hit your neighborhood, nor did you go out and pick up golf balls and throw them up on your roof to create damage. Insurance companies, LIKE OURSELVES, track storms, and they KNOW, where the hail storm hit, and what areas. I have maps of recent storms dating now in 2011., and we help thousands of home owners get what they rightfully deserve. Many have been paying their premiums for years and years without ever filing a claim, and now because they file one, their rates go up? Their rates have been going up for years and years, why not have them get what they insured their house for. Protection against catastrophes. Insurance, is passing the risk, for a fee, to someone else. hereby called ” the insurance company.”
I hope you don’t think of me as bashing your blog. Quite the contrary, I just find that all my customers have had their usual rate increase every year, even after receiving a new roof, siding , and gutters.
MY advice to all is, don’t neglect having your roof looked at after any storm. That word NEGLECT will come back to haunt you when used by the insurance company. Stand outside and look up at your contractor and make sure HE is not the one causing the damage. Peace of mind in 2011 does come with a slight price. You must be careful.
Al homeowners insurance does go up as a general rule every year but I have personally seen home insurance rates going up substantially just because someone put in a claim for one event like a hailstorm.
Generally a good article. I few key thoughts to keep in mind if a large storm does happen. First, you can’t see the majority of damage from the ground. Even if one does inspect a roof up-close, unless you know what you are looking for, the difference between normal wear, tear and age to true hail or wind damage can be slight but distinct, and yet subjective.
Also, when a large storm does cause thousands of homes to be damaged the local roofers, who are accustomed to installing 30 to 50 roofs a year, can’t handle the volume of work. And unless they are experienced with the insurance process and or even with dealing with mortgage companies they can hold the insurance funds for weeks which can causes the local roofers will fall short on properly managing the cash flow and with keeping up with all the calls and requests.
Another point, most insurance companies have a time limit for the repairs to be preformed in order to request the “hold back” amount, otherwise known as the depreciation amount. If a homeowner who is insured with Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Erie and many others, one year to file a claim and in some situations 6 months. In the northern states the winter season can play a large time factor in getting those repairs done.
Now, a word about the deductible or the “free-roof” pitch. Homeowners are contractually bound to pay for the deductible, the insurance company is bound to pay for everything else that is damaged or part of the repairs up to the coverage limits. Any homeowner and/or contractor who agree to “eat the deductible” agrees to insurance fraud in most cases. If an insurance adjuster estimates that the replacement of a roof cost a certain amount that is what it cost. If a contractor agrees to do it for less then some cost of performing the work is not being paid for like good material quality, using old roof accessories like the vents or pipe jacks, or maybe not having all the required licenses and insurances, like workmans compensation. So, in essence, the homeowner is receiving a lessor roof or service.
That is may 2 cents. Something to consider.