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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).