Expert Advice: 4 Tips for Spotting House Damage After a Storm

Stephen Hadhazi, a public insurance adjuster, offers his top tips on how to spot and document storm damage.

  1. Checking for Common Signs of Hail Damage:
    • Windows and window frames are cracked.
    • Air conditioner’s open coils show dents or pings from hail.
    • Small pings in aluminum, garage doors, other metal trimmings.
    • Dents in the metal of your home’s fascia board, gutters, downspouts and drip edge.
  2. Checking for 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, checking it shingle by shingle. (Have a professional roofer take a look!!)
    • Use a piece of sidewalk chalk or a wax pencil to 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).

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