When we think of severe storm damage, hurricanes and tornados usually come to mind. Those two types of storms certainly do cause a lot of damage, and they get a great deal of attention. But the truth is, you are much more likely to experience property damage from hail than from a hurricane or tornado.

According to statistics published by the Insurance Information Institute, hail is responsible for about $1 billion in damages each year. In bad years, like 2016 when NOAA recorded more than 5,600 severe hailstorms, damage claims topped $3.5 billion.

Unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent damage to your roof due to hail. There are, however, steps you can take once the storm has passed that will ensure that your roof doesn’t have lasting damage.

Hail Damage Inspection

Unless you are experienced and trained in evaluating roofs after hail storms, you may not be able to evaluate the extent of damage your roof has sustained. You can, however, look for tell-tale signs in the surrounding areas such as shingle granules in your gutters or on the ground. Signs of possible damage are dents on vehicles, gutters or siding, broken or cracked windows or skylights. Pay attention to obvious damage to trees and landscaping surrounding the home. Inspect for loose shingles or some shingle debris on the ground.

Take Photos and Videos

As you are taking stock of the damage, take photos and videos of what you see. This documentation will come in handy when it comes time to file an insurance claim. If there are still hailstones on the ground, be sure to take photos of these as well; include a tape measure or a coin for scale. This size reference will be helpful to the inspector.

Call a Qualified Professional

Hail damage can be hard for the untrained eye to diagnose. Even if you don’t detect visible damage to your roof, you should contact a qualified professional roof repair company to make sure you aren’t missing anything. Small cracks and holes not easily detected could possibly cause leaks afterwards. If you wait too long, you may end up with additional damage due to water leaking inside the home. Worse, your insurance company may not honor your claim because of the delay in reporting.

Your main priority when a severe hailstorm strikes is the safety of your loved ones. Once the danger has passed, you can turn your thoughts to your property. First, assess and document the damage and then consult with a qualified roofing company. If it’s necessary to file an insurance claim, your roofer can help you get the process going. In no time at all, you’ll find your home is back in order, and you’ll once again have a solid roof over your head.