HOW INSURANCE COMPANIES EVALUATE STORM DAMAGE TO YOUR SHINGLES
Introduction to Shingle Wear & Tear:
The typical shingles on most homes in the Carolinas are asphalt composition, and most of those are of a type known as three-tab standard. Another popular segment are the Architectural laminated shingles.
There are other types made with other materials and processes but all of these most common shingles are made of fiberglass or organic materials, a waterproofing (the asphalt), and a variety of minerals and granules that form a protective surface and the colored finish.
How a roof weathers has a lot to do with the original quality and weight of the shingle, and other factors like which direction is the roof slope facing, and a key factor: the attic space ventilation. (We talk about attic ventilation and our position on the importance of Ridge Venting elsewhere on this site) Simply put, poor attic ventilation greatly reduces the life of roof shingles and adds costs to your ventilation and air conditioning bills.
If your roof slopes to the south, they will typically deteriorate more quickly than the shingles on other slopes that may be more sheltered from direct sun exposure. During a hail or wind storm, depending on the direction of the wind, some slopes may be damaged while other slopes may have minimal or no damage.
Hail storms are quite common in the Carolinas. The conditions that make for a hail storm are present in the South: high temperatures and humidity. As warm air keeps ice and moisture suspended in the upper clouds, hail stones grow larger and larger. When hail falls on a roof, the number of hailstones, their size and even their hardness can vary all in the same location. The speed and the direction can also be factors on how much damage hailstones can cause to a home’s roof and other components like siding, screens and gutters. Hail hits on a roof look like splatters of a dark paint ball gun. The hits leave an impression into the shingle, shallow craters and dimples are left behind on the surface and often right through into the mat material. The surface granules are blown off. These bruises cause the shingle to quickly fail, long before the normal life expectancy for that shingle, leaving holes and leaks into the interior of your home. While no company wants to pay out thousands to replace a policy holder’s roof, Insurors are often happy to stop their losses at just a roof. All roofing companies have seen client homes that the Insuror was called in too late, and there was significant interior damage, like spoiled insulation, stained and crumbling sheetrock, electrical shorts, ruined paint, and damaged flooring and carpets. The Insuror would gladly replace a roof to avoid replacing extreme damages like these, and in some cases putting the family up in a hotel while work is done.
A lot of the shingle damage seen around the Carolinas arises from high speed winds that occur during intense thunderstorms, or other vicious micro-bursts resembling tornado strength storms though often of a much briefer nature. Shingles are not made to survive through intense winds, though shingle design and warranties in that area have been improving every year. Sustained winds above 60 knots, about 65 miles per hours, are capable of loosening shingle and allowing them to crease and flap back and forth. If you’ve ever held an asphalt shingle and folded it back and forth, you know that it will not last long before it snaps and separates. Missing, creased and uplifted shingles are precursors to the same serious leaks and interior losses that severe hail damage allows. When several shingles are broken or missing on a roof, it is only a matter of time before the roof fails to protect and must be replaced.
There are many other reasons that shingles begin to age, wear out and fail. Blisters in the asphalt can be caused by poor ventilation. Cracking is a premature aging due to high attic heat and natural weathering. Cupping and curling of the shingles can be normal as a shingle ages in the hot Carolina summers. Even foot marks of handymen and technicians working on the roof can leave marks and damages on shingles. Nail “pops” as nails work their way out of the roof decking can raise up through the shingles, or lift the shingle up, can look like a serious problem but is usually repaired easily.
Your Right to a Licensed Adjustor:
Your licensed Insurance adjustor will be trained to see the differences in the damages to your roof. He or she will climb the house and look at all the evidence and then pass judgment on your claim. Most Insurors take this responsibility very seriously. State law requires your Insuror to send a licensed adjustor to your property. There have been cases of some Insurors sending less than qualified “climbers” out to look at storm damage and homeowners have been shortchanged as a result. Some of these “climbers” are un-trained and unlicensed and are routinely sent out to give reports that favor the insurance companies but are unfair to the homeowner.
If you have any questions, call us (704) 307-9171 and we will tell you if your adjustor is licensed or not; and what options you may have in these circumstances.