What To Do When Your Roof Is Damaged by Storms

damaged house roof with missing shingles after hurricane Ian in Florida

When thunder rolls and lightning strikes, rain and wind can do serious damage to your home and its roof. If your roof is severely damaged in a storm, tornado, or hurricane, we’ll walk you through what to do – and how to prevent future storm damage.

In the wake of a powerful storm, the first thing you need to do is assess the wind damage.

Roof Damaged by a Storm? Here’s What to Do

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Thunderstorms and hailstorms are stressful. Your dog is shaking, the kids are scared, and if the power goes out, you’re scrambling to find batteries in the dark. Afterward, you may find your home was damaged.

What to do? Take a deep breath and follow these steps if your roof was damaged by the storm.

Assess Wind Damage

The first step is to assess the storm damage. Grab your camera and a notepad, and walk around your property. Take pictures and make notes of as much roof damage as you can, so you can use these when discussing damages, common roof repairs, and claims with your insurance company and roofing contractors. If you have access, use your camera’s zoom feature, binoculars, or a ladder to check out your roof.

Apply Temporary Fixes

If your roof damage is severe, water leaks can wreak havoc on the interior of your home. Put a bucket under dripping water and remove any valuables. Waterproof by strapping a tarp across any leaky areas. Just be cautious – an average of 150,000 people fall from roofs every year.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance company to make a claim as soon as possible. Your home insurance company will send out an appraiser to assess your damage. After the inspection, the appraiser will either approve the claim with a payout or deny your claim. If you disagree with the findings, request a second inspection with a different adjuster. Home insurers typically cover the roof inspection cost, which averages $215.

Sign your contract after you have claim approval. You handle paying the difference if the contract exceeds the approved amount from your insurance company. If your insurance denies your claim, you’ll have to cover the entire bill.

Find a Contractor

Once you have your insurance payout, choose a roofing contractor that meets your repair needs. Ask friends or neighbors for roofer or roofing company recommendations, or check out reviews online. Be sure to hire a licensed professional, or you may encounter additional problems.

See Related: 6 Tips for Choosing a Roofing Contractor

Factors That Affect Storm Damage on a Roof 

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The severity of your roof damage varies because of several factors, including storm strength, wind, hail size, roof materials, roof slope, and barriers. Your neighbor down the street might need a new roof after a storm, while your roof has only a few missing shingles.

Let’s look at why storms cause variations in roof damage.

Storm Strength

The strength of the storm makes a big difference in the severity of storm damage. If the storm is relatively mild, you may lose granules from your shingles, but if your home is damaged by a tornado or hurricane, you might need a roof replacement.

Pro Tip: Pay attention to the weather and local news as the storm approaches to be as prepared as possible.

Wind

High winds spell trouble for your roof. During a thunderstorm, wind direction and wind speed are constantly changing. The faster the wind, the faster hail or debris flies and crashes into your roof. When the wind changes direction, your roof can sustain damage from multiple angles.

Hail Size

Hailstones can pummel your roof. Hailstone size corresponds to the amount of roof damage. Weather experts measure hailstones by diameter, with most ranging from a pea-size 1/4-inch to grapefruit-sized 4.5 inches or larger. A pea-sized hailstone won’t damage much, but an apple-sized one will. Hail-damaged roof repairs cost an average of  $11,750.

Roof Material

Roofing material significantly affects storm damage. Because of affordability, many homes have asphalt shingles, but this is the least storm-resistant roofing material.

What is the most hail- and wind-resistant roofing material? Metal, but metal roofs often are not aesthetically pleasing.

Tile roofs are gorgeous and long-lasting, but hail is a problem.

Pro Tip: Consider the weather in your area when choosing your roofing materials.

Roof Slope

Your roof’s slope also makes a difference in storm damage. A lower-sloped roof takes a more direct hit from the wind and hail than a steeper-sloped roof. A roof with a sharper angle can deflect the storm more, causing less damage.

Barriers

Nearby structures or natural barriers can shield your roof from damage. Trees will slow the speed of hail. A neighbor’s home can shield the wind, and a next-door business can block the rain.

How to Prevent Storm Damage

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Most storms are not severe enough to demolish your house, but there are plenty that can cause roof damage. Here are some actions you can take to help prevent roof damage during a storm.

Replace Damaged Shingles

If you have any damaged or missing shingles, replace them immediately. A damaged shingle will break free, becoming a hazard. A missing shingle exposes the underlayment to the elements, increasing your chance of rot and leaks. It’s important to fix roof leaks and minor roof problems before they become big ones. 

Clean Your Gutters

Clogged gutters cause issues for your roof. If the rain cannot drain away, pools of water will form, causing rot on your fascia and roof. To prevent water damage, keep your gutters clean and free-flowing.

Trim Your Trees

Trim trees to reduce the risk of branches snapping off in a storm. Broken limbs harm your tree, and the loose wood is now a flying projectile that can damage or pierce your roof. Professional tree trimming costs range from $315 to $700

Check Your Property

If you know a storm is coming, walk around your property and identify potential problems. Bring in or secure hazards like lawn furniture, a trampoline, flower pots, and other debris. Any object lying around can be a hazard to your roof and windows in the right storm conditions.

Cost to Repair Storm Damage

Homeowners can expect roof repairs to cost between $348 and $1,186, or a national average of $767. However, this price varies based on materials, roof size, the extent of damage, and more.

Let’s break down some average prices based on material:

Roofing MaterialAverage Cost
(includes labor
and materials)
Asphalt$450 – $825
Metal$550 – $1,350
Slate & Tile$575 – $1,750
Wood$450 – $825

Homeowner’s Insurance and Storm Damage

Most insurance policies cover storm damage. If you suspect storm damage to your roof, call your insurance company as soon as possible. Your home insurer will send out an appraiser to identify and assess the damage.

Most insurance companies cover the following storm damage:

  • Hail
  • Wind
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Wildfires
  • Lightning
  • Water damage
  • Ice Damage

However, most home insurance policies do not cover or require additional insurance for:

  • Flood
  • Earthquakes

Things to Consider Before Making Your Claim

The world of home insurance is full of intricate details. Let’s break down some of the complex topics: 

  • Flat deductible: Insurance companies have a deductible you have to meet before insurance pays for your repairs. For many, the deductible for their homeowner’s insurance ranges from $500 to $2,000
  • Percentage-based deductible: Sometimes, the deductible is based on a percentage of your home’s value. For example, if your home is worth $300,000, and the deductible is 2%, you handle $6,000 before your insurance company pitches in.
  • Claim approval first: Never sign a roofing contractor’s contract until your insurance company approves your claim. Your insurance provider will give you an approved payout amount, and you handle the difference.
  • Second inspection: Like everyone, insurance adjusters make mistakes. Insurance adjusters may deny your claim or approve it for less than your repair costs. Ask for a second inspection from a different insurance adjuster.
  • Understand your cosmetic coverage: Most insurance companies don’t cover cosmetic damage, including pits, scratches, and other surface damage that doesn’t affect performance.

Best Practices for Filing a Claim

Here are some best practices to follow when making your insurance claim:

  • Document as much damage as possible using your camera and a notepad.
  • Know and understand your policy
  • Don’t wait to call your insurance company. Waiting leads to delays and possible further damage.

FAQ About Storm Damage to Your Roof

What wind speeds damage a roof?

Winds as low as 45 mph can lift shingles, potentially leading to minor damage. 60 to 70 mph winds cause moderate damage like missing shingles, while severe damage occurs with winds between 70 to 90 mph or more. Hurricanes and tornadoes with even higher-speed winds can do even more damage to your roof and home.

Storm TypeAverage Wind Speed
Thunderstorm20 – 60 mph
Tornado70 – 300+ mph
Tropical Storm40 – 75 mph
Hurricane100 – 150 mph
Blizzard35+ mph

Can ice damage a roof?

Yes, ice can cause significant problems for your roof, including added weight, ice dams, and shingle loss.

  • Weight: The weight of ice and snow can exceed 50 lbs, putting a strain on your roof’s structure.
  • Ice dams: Your attic’s heat can melt the ice only to have the frigid temperatures refreeze it. This creates icicles and loosens shingles, enlarges cracks and dents, damages gutters, and creates backwash that leaks into your home.
  • Shingle loss: Heavy snow and ice will often slide off your roof, taking shingles with them and damaging other shingles on the way down.

What is the strongest component of a roof?

Roof decking is the strongest part of the roof. It is the foundational layer of material installed on top of your roof’s framing. Roof decking provides a flat, level surface for the roof to be built upon. 

How to Find a Roofing Contractor

A storm-damaged roof often is just the tip of the iceberg. While dealing with your roof, you are likely facing other damage to your home, an insurance company, and contractors turned salespeople. Don’t stress. Roof Gnome connects you to the best roofing professionals near you to help you navigate the complex process quickly and to get your damaged roof repaired or replaced.

Main Photo Credit: Bilanol / Canva Pro / License

Nicki DeStasi

Nicki DeStasi is a writer, author, and teacher who grew up in western Massachusetts and currently resides in the Austin area. She enjoys flower and vegetable gardening, reading, cooking, listening to true-crime podcasts, and spending time with her husband, three children, dog, and cat.