by Kenton Shepard and Nick Gromicko
The purpose of the series “Mastering Roof Inspections” is to teach home inspectors, as well as insurance and roofing professionals, how to recognize proper and improper conditions while inspecting steep-slope, residential roofs. This series covers roof framing, roofing materials, the attic, and the conditions that affect the roofing materials and components, including wind and hail.
Identifying Elevation Damage
HAIL DAMAGE on the ROOF
When inspecting for hail damage, it’s important to understand the methods used by insurance claims adjusters because if damage for which an insurance company will pay exists, it should be identified and documented using insurance company criteria.
Claims adjusters mark off test squares on a roof to document the extent of damage. The size and locations of test squares are the same no matter what roof-covering material is installed. Here are some test square details:
Number of Hits
Once the test square has been created, the adjuster counts the number of hailstrikes within the square. These hailstrikes have to meet the definition of functional damage. The number of hits required to replace that slope of roof will vary. Different insurance companies have different policies. Eight hits is a common number.
The decision of whether to replace individual slopes or to replace the entire roof requires weighing a number of factors. The age of the roof will be one factor. Older roofs are more likely to be replaced. Some insurance companies use a formula in making the decision.
Occasionally, a disagreement will arise among insurance companies, roofers, home inspectors and policy holders about whether damage meets the criteria for roof replacement.
One area with a lot of potential for disagreement is whether the damage meets the description of “functional damage.”
The characteristics of hail-caused functional damage vary with the different types of roof-covering materials. It is easier to identify functional damage on some materials than on others.
There’s more potential for disagreement with a material such as asphalt composition shingles, which may be damaged to some degree. It may be light damage, which does not meet the criteria for functional damage, or it may be serious damage, which does.
These issues are discussed in detail in InterNACHI's courses on the individual roof-covering materials.
Learn how to master a roof inspection from beginning to end by reading the entire InterNACHI series: Mastering Roof Inspections.
Take InterNACHI’s free, online Roofing Inspection Course
Mastering Roof Inspections
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