Storms are a way of life in Florida.
In fact, according to The Florida Climate Center, our state has more thunderstorm activity than any other in the U.S. – and this year is no exception. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that between 353,994 and 2,851,642 Florida homes could be damaged in the 2020 hurricane season.
Even a Category 1 hurricane can damage your roof by blowing off shingles, and in a Category 2 storm, your home could suffer major roof damage. As you prepare to protect yourself and your loved ones from storm damage, saving lives, saving your home, and saving money should be at the forefront of your mind. Whether you choose metal, asphalt, tile, or bitumen, a well-kept roof is your first line of defense against the elements.
Storm damage can damage your roof in Florida
It’s important to educate yourself on the types of storm damage your roof can sustain, so you can help prevent a roofing emergency. Those types of damage include the following:
Strong winds can damage your roof in numerous ways:
- Asphalt shingles are particularly susceptible to wind damage. They can get loose, become detached, peel off, and the crushed stone or mineral granules on individual shingles can loosen and fall off, weakening the structure. Missing or damaged shingles, of course, leave your home vulnerable to further weather damage, so it is critical to repair damaged shingles as soon as possible. If you’re greatly concerned about wind damage, you may want to invest in a metal roof.
- Gutters, soffits and fascia can be damaged or torn off by strong winds, leaving your home vulnerable to water damage and creating inviting entryways for opportunistic animals to take up residence. You’ve no time to lose when this type of damage occurs.
Of course, the worst-case scenario is that your entire roof is torn off by hurricane-force winds or a tornado, causing catastrophic damage to your home. And while you cannot prevent tornado damage, you can make sure you have good homeowner’s insurance to cover any potential losses.
Weather.gov lists 14 different sizes for hail, the smallest being a “¼-inch pea” and the largest a “4 ½ inch softball.” In between those we have moth balls, ping pong balls, hens’ eggs, golf balls, tea cups, and grapefruit. “Cloudy with a chance of golf balls” might be an amusing weather report, but hail is no laughing matter. Smaller hail can leave dents, while larger-sized hailstones can actually puncture holes in your roof.
Metal roofs are especially susceptible to hail damage. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors explains that hail can cause “functional damage” to roofs by denting and distorting “metal shingles so severely that interlocking seams lose their integrity and leak, or they may lose much of their wind resistance.”
Insurance companies won’t always pay for cosmetic damage to a roof, so if you plan on filing a claim, make sure to have a licensed roofing inspector determine if the damage has actually compromised the integrity of your roof.
Damage to your roof from rain can be less evident than damage from wind or hail. As explained in the Popular Mechanics article, “8 Things Your Roof is Trying to Tell You,” if you see water spots or stains on your ceiling, you have a roof leak; if you see spots on exterior walls, you may have a problem with damaged flashing; and if granules are flowing down your downspouts after a rain, your shingles need replacing.
To prevent such issues, you should replace the following:
- Curled or buckled shingles, which cause leaks where rain can seep in and cause water damage
- Missing shingles, which allow rain to saturate a roof with water
- Damaged roof flashing (galvanized steel that deflects water away from the roof) can allow water to seep in and cause roof rot and mold
Because roof leaks are not always easy to diagnose, be sure to hire a licensed roofer to check for leaks so you can nip problems in the bud.
Falling Debris and Signs of Storm Damage to Your Roof
What signs of storm damage should you look for after your roof has been struck by falling debris? Here are a few:
- Missing shingles or granules
- Clogged or damaged gutters
- Visible water damage
- Pitting from hail
- Torn off roof sections
What to do after a storm has damaged your roof
When your roof suffers damage in a storm, keep the following in mind:
- Tempting as it may be to climb on the roof and look for yourself, this is not advisable because of the danger of falling. It’s best to hire a qualified licensed, bonded, and insured professional roofer to take a look.
- Check your homeowner’s insurance policy. Investopedia writes that most all-perils homeowners insurance policies cover your roof and the cost of replacing it when damage is caused by a sudden accident or act of nature. However, such policies do not cover problems caused by wear-and-tear or age, as it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the roof.
- According to the Florida Building Code 708.1.1, heavily damaged roofs must be replaced entirely rather than just repaired.
- Get several opinions and repair quotes; your insurance agent may have a list of recommended and trustworthy contractors.
Our skilled Florida storm damage attorneys can help
If licensed roofing experts have determined that your roof was damaged in a storm, and your homeowner’s policy covers the damage, you are entitled to compensation.
If your insurance company denies your claim or offers only a partial payout, our knowledgeable lawyers at Johnson & Williams, P.A. can help. Contact us online or call us at (407) 245-1268.