Spotting and Documenting Storm Damage

Stephen Hadhazi, a public insurance adjuster and publisher of DocuDamage.com, an educational consumer website, offers his top tips on how to spot and document storm damage.

  1. Common Signs of Hail Damage:
    • Windows and window frames being cracked
    • Air conditioner’s open coils can often get dents or pings from hail
    • Look for small pings in aluminum, garage doors, other metal trimmings
    • Check out your home’s fascia board, gutters, downspouts and drip edge for dents in the metal.
  2. Common Signs of Wind Damage:
    • Along with the more obvious things (tree debris, damaged exterior, etc.), check out any fencing on your property. Fencing can get bent or misshapen and insurance adjustors might issue a check to replace part or all of the fencing.
    • Look for small nicks in the siding of your home. After a strong wind with heavy debris, your home might need additional cleaning such as pressure washing and repainting.
  3. Documenting the Damage on Your Roof:
    • Have someone physically climb on and inspect the roof (have a professional roofer take a look!!)
    • Check the roof for damage by going shingle by shingle by shingle.
    • Take a piece of sidewalk chalk or a wax pencil and mark the damaged shingles (otherwise you might forget the location of the damages).
    • Check your roof for damages even if it is brand new. Just because it’s brand new, that doesn’t mean it can withstand 30+ mph winds.
  4. Documenting the Damage for an Insurance Claim:
    • Take photos – lots of them and from every angle. Use a smartphone or digital camera so you can immediately see the quality of your photos.
    • Again, use colored or white sidewalk chalk or wax pencils to mark damages as you go through your home.
    • Also, remember to take notes as you spot the damage so you’ll know what to tell the insurance adjusters when they arrive (e.g. There’s a crack in the wall in the kitchen, the bathtub tap now leaks, a window in the back bedroom is broken).
    • Grab as much documentation for your insurance agent as possible (e.g. home inventory list, old receipts, warranties, photos of possessions, credit card receipts of transactions).