Hailstones can be catastrophic, but usually hailstones that exceed the size of 1 inch are deemed to be destructive. So to answer the question – hailstones that are larger than 1 inch in size can cause damage to your rooftops. Hailstones are formed when water droplets in a cyclonic rainfall system are thrown so high up in the atmosphere that they freeze and when this continues ice layers keep on adding until they are heavy enough to free fall from the sky through the storm.
The damage caused by hailstones would, however, depend on a lot of factors such as the materials from which the roofs are made, the duration for which the hailstones were falling, and so on and so forth. So how much hail does it take to damage a roof?
Factors that can cause roof damage from hail
Hail storms can prove to be pretty destructive in certain cases and the extent of the damage caused by them will be depending on the following.
Size of the Hail – The size of the hailstones is the biggest factor on which the extent or the scale of damage depends. Hailstones of all sizes can cause damage and hailstones are of various sizes. The following size classifications of hailstones can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of damage with the varying sizes:
Dime-Sized (0.70 inches) – Though these tiny dime-sized hailstones are usually harmless and non-threatening, they may be just enough to damage roofs. These can easily tear off asphalt shingles if they are already damaged or old.
Quarter-Sized (0.75 inches) – The hailstones that have sizes ranging from 1 inch to 1.25 inches or quarter size may still be harmless as well, however they possess all the ability to wear your roof and erode your roof. They may be able to tear up asphalt or break slate roofs to cause extensive damage.
Half Dollar Sized (1.25 inches) – Any hailstone size greater than 1 inch can prove to be highly destructive. They can cause significant damage to your roof and are large enough to damage asphalt roof shingles and in cases where the impact speed is too much can cause dents to metal roofs or can even break the tiles on your roof that may be made of slate or other materials.
Apart from the above sizes, hail stones more than 2 inches in size are also seen but are not so common and such sizes of hail stones coupled with the high impact speeds can cause heavy damage to roofs and other parts of your property. Most hailstone, include hail in the size of a golf ball, baseball, tennis ball, softball, etc. Imagine a hailstone the size of a baseball falling on your roof from 30,000 ft at speeds greater than 70 mph, the damage can be huge.
- Present condition of the roof – Apart from the size of the hailstones, one other important thing on which the damage caused by them depends on the condition in which your roofs are currently in. For instance, in case of asphalt roof shingles, if your roof is already damaged, there are chances that a spell of hailstorms can cause further damage to the roof and may even completely tear them apart. The same is the case with slate tiles on the roofs. Already broken roof tiles will see more damage due to hailstones and you may see further cracks and broken tiles all over.
- Material from which the roofs are made – The next very important factor on which the damage due to hailstones will depend are the materials from which the roofs are made. The ability to withstand the hailstorm depends largely on the roof material. The size and the material damage are related to each other and can be illustrated in the chart below:
1-inch hailstones – 3-tab shingles of asphalt
1.25 inch – Cedar Shingles
1.75 inch – Concrete Tiles
2-inch – Gravel Roofing (Built Up)
- Duration of the Hailstorm – The time for which the hailstorm was active and the duration of one spell is also an important determinant of the damage that it will cause. For instance, hail storms that last a few minutes will cause less damage than hail storm that, last beyond half an hour and more. Your roof may be able to withstand a few minutes of hailstorm impact. But it may not be able to bear the hailstorm impact that continues for half an hour or more.
- Speed and intensity of impact – When talking about damage caused due to any moving object we often talk about the speed at which it was moving and the force of the impact on collision. The same is true with hailstones as well. The damage will certainly be more in case of the speed at which it collided at the time of impact. Though this is something that is difficult to gauge, the damage that a hailstone may cause is an indicator of the speed and the impact. The speeds at which hailstones can impact can vary from 20 mph to 130 mph based on their size.
Hailstones can be pretty devastating due to the destruction that they can cause. It is, therefore, a major concern for many homeowners. Many homeowners do not have clarity on whether hailstone damage is covered by homeowner’s insurance coverage.
Is hailstone damage covered in the homeowner’s insurance policy?
Hailstorms are unavoidable and are unpredictable. But that is nothing to worry about as most homeowners insurance policies cover the damages caused due to hailstones. The coverage provided to hail is different from hurricane coverage. Hurricanes are a predictable phenomenon in states like Florida and wind damage is not a part of most homeowner policies.
However, since hail is not a frequent phenomenon and is not that predictable, it is part of the basic coverage of most homeowners’ insurance policies. But there is always a question around the extent of the coverage provided and the amounts.
And answering that question is tough as no one would know the amount unless the damage is actually caused. So, only the extent of the damage can decide the amount you get. This is also based on your deductible for the policy.
Some homeowner policy providers offer deductibles that take care of some percentage of the damages that are paid. While some have a decent deductible amount others may have a high deductible that is not going to save any money for you anyway.
It is therefore important to assess and know the extent of the damage so that you can know how much you will get as part of the coverage. Let us see how you can go about checking and assessing damages.
How to check the damage?
Damage caused due to hail on a roof is very difficult to find out. It is because it may get as late as two to three years before any leaks in the roofs can be observed. It is, therefore, best to have a professional come and check your roof for any damages.
If you plan to inspect and examine your roof yourself. You can check certain areas such as chimneys, vents, shingles, skylights, etc. However, there are certain ways you can check the damages yourself as well. Different roof types will have different types of damages. Some of the damage may be completely visible whereas some other damages may not be that evident. Based on the material types, the damage examination and assessment techniques will differ.
Let us look into these checks and examination techniques
Check the Ground – After the storm subsides ensure that you go, on a stroll around your house and the vicinity to check any signs of damages. If your fence, sheds, gutters, can show signs of damage, it is an indication that your roof may have been damaged as well. If you see fragments of your roofing material on the ground, it suggests you should go up and check.
Check the metal components on your roof – Scratches, dents, and appearance of small holes are evidence of damage to your roof. You will find the signs of damage on all such metal components such as vents, railings, linings, etc.
Checking the Asphalt Roofs – Asphalt is a common roofing material that is found in most homes. When examining the asphalt roofs you must follow the steps as listed:
Check gutters for granules and pieces of roof parts dislodged and accumulated.
Check the asphalt shingles overhead to check traces of damage if you find accumulated granules in large numbers. Check for bare spots and asphalt substrates if any.
Check shingles for any kind of dents which can be oval or round in shape. You may also find some other type of pit due to the hail impact.
Mark shingles having a visible substrate, cracks, and pitting. Take pictures wherever necessary as they may come very handy for filing insurance claims.
Checking ceramic or slate roofs – Though slates and ceramic roofing are pretty strong and durable roof installations, they may still get damaged due to hailstones. They may cause outright breakage and cracks along with subtle damages that may not be visible to the naked eye. You can look for the following signs for hail damage on slate or ceramic roofings:
Visible holes that look sharp-edged means that the hail has caused damage to the tiles. These small cracks and punctures can weaken the slate tiles, even if they are shallow.
If you see cracked or shattered tiles they need immediate attention so that any further structural damage can be avoided due to any weather conditions. Finding chipped and broken edges and corners are also considered as telltale signs of damage due to hail.
Checking Metal Roofs – Metal roofs are supposed to be the strongest and most resilient of all roof types. Metal roofs can be the toughest options for roof coverings. But the moisture due to hailstorms can lead to rust and can damage the metal. However, most of the damage caused by hailstones in metal roofs are of the following two type’s
Scour Marks – You would see those scratches on the metal roofings after the first impact of hailstones on these metal surfaces. The impact scrapes away the protective coating of the metal.
Dents – You see dents on your car roofs after a hailstorm. The same may happen with your metal roof as well. They can get marked and get dented by hail. These dents can be light to heavy based on the speed and impact of the hailstones.
Things to do when your house is hit by a hailstorm
So as a homeowner what shall you do if your house is hit by a hailstorm? Not all hail storms will cause damage. By now you know what sizes of the hail can cause damage. You must have a clear idea as to how much hail does it take to damage a roof?
Once you know the basics, the next thing to do is to check your coverage. Make sure that you thoroughly review your coverage to check if you are covered for hail damage and to what extent and if there are any conditions in the fine print. Though most homeowner insurance policies cover these damages there are often complaints from homeowners that the damages are not enough to cover all the damage costs.
The next thing that you must do is to do a thorough inspection of the property and your roof and by now you already know how to go about doing that. However, if you are still unsure, consider hiring a professional to do the inspection. And then comes the most important step – file a insurance claim with your insurance provider. So next time when your house is hit by a hailstorm, you would know what to do. Keep this article handy as your reference.