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Hail damage to asphalt shingles includes severe granule loss, material removal at the edges of the shingles and penetration. Loss from asphalt after pounding from a hailstorm. New asphalt shingles are more resistant to hail impact than older shingles since the asphalt becomes more brittle with age. Warmer shingles are more compliant and more resistant to fracture from hail when compared with colder shingles. Shingles rely on a structurally sound substrate for hail damage resistance. Flexible roof sheathing allows the shingles to flex during impact causing damage, while more rigid roof sheathing supports the shingle during impact resulting in less shingle damage.  

In recent years, roof shingle manufacturers have been listing products that conform to Underwriters Laboratories test standard UL 2218, which classifies the resistance of a particular product to hail damage. The test entails dropping steel balls on samples and observing the damage. A Class 4 rating is the most resistive to hail damage, while the Class 1 rating is the least resistive. Some insurance companies are reducing premiums when Class 4 shingles are used. The roofing industry takes issue with some of the testing methods, indicating that shingle aging and thermal environments are not taken into account.  

Most hail related damage is cosmetic and does not affect the useful life of roof shingles. In other cases severe wood splitting, significant granule loss, penetration of the shingle and fracture may require shingle replacement.  

Once hail hits the roof, the protective granules are knocked off at the point of     strike, and these damaged areas are the sources of roof leaks in the future, if the roof is not fixed within a few years.  

The roof does not leak immediately. It often takes years. It makes sense to check your roof and get in line for a roof replacement covered by your insurance company.

If you think you may have hail damage, it is best to call a local contractor you trust to check your roof. It's best to work with well known and reputable local companies even if you have to wait a while.

Even a roof paid for by your insurance company deserves to be the best; beautiful, installed correctly, free of leaks, and with a warranty from a contractor you know will be there for you in the future to actually honor the warranty.

Stormchasers subscribe to hail tracking services which tell them roughly where hail has hit, and they have computer printouts which show the bands of hail coverage with approximate sizes of hail. This brings in the Out of State companies who come into town, some of them with as many as 50 salesmen who set up base to come and work the storm. Many of these companies operate under their own name, but 

many also operate under license or under some form of agreement with local roofing companies, that give them cover.

Anytime you see a flood of flyers at your door or mailbox, or salesmen knocking on your door, or yard signs popping up in the neighborhood everywhere, this is basically what is happening before you.

When it comes to selecting a contractor in the aftermath of a storm, "caution" is the key word. Many "storm chasers" flock to areas of damage, and do as much work as possible before they leave for the next storm. Some of these may be legitimate, responsible companies that have chosen this way of doing business, but they leave when the hail claims dry up. Some set up partnerships with local contractors to get the work done much more quickly.

However, there will be plenty of unscrupulous fly-by-night contractors that you need to be aware of. Work with your local contractor. It may be that he is booked up, but you have plenty of time to wait for the best contractors, because hail damage does not cause your roof to leak immediately. It can take years to leak, but it certainly shortens the life of the roof drastically, so you should make a claim, but there is no need to panic or to rush to get the job done with contractors who prey on you.

Check with your insurance company to find out how much time you have to file a claim. Don't be pressured by anyone else telling you something contrary to your insurer.