Hail Damage

Recently I did a presale inspection and subsequently came across hail damage. I had been recommended by the neighbor whom only knows be through a mutual friend.

The home owner notified their insurance company which came out and validated my findings. Word got out and other people in the neighborhood started getting their roofs inspected and replaced. I advised the neighbor who recommended me to contact his insurance as well.

They came out at first and couldn’t get on the roof,…eventually sent out one of their specialist who said no damage. I did an investigative inspection (no charge) and noted hail damage. Advised owner to contact his agent and give report to same and that should clear it up…so far I have been batting 100% on these type of inspections.

I was contacted by an Erie Ins. adjuster / investigator to meet him at the site to evaluate the roof. I got there early and marked up same…of course when he got there it was evident that his mind was already made up by the statements and questions he asked.

The jist of it all is that this is your typical Haag inspector (3 day school) who works for insurance companies and claims everything is “heat blisters”. Obviously I disagreed asked if he new what causes blisters…other than heat and some manufacturer defects he couldn’t answer. I asked him if the course he took went over how anomalies are caused as well as any extensive discussions on proper venting… other than a deer caught in head lights, he said very little. (I would be curious to find out if they do explain how improper ventilation can severely impact a roof and who to look for).

I pointed out both anomalies (scuffs, tears, faster burns etc) and hail damage as well. He did not like that I had a large drywall knife to lift up shingles, he said was invasive however I advised him that my investigative inspections are more extensive and can be invasive.

He stated several of my alleged hail damage marks were simply fastener burns…of course with knife in hand it showed him that indeed they were not…he then tried to explain that it was heat blister (I call this leap frogging…jumping from one lilly pad to the other).

It was like a verbal chess game except I could answer his questions but he could not answer mine. It is obvious that some of these guys that work for insurance companies can not deviate from their learned script.
After I enlightened him on the importance of establishing weather the roof was properly ventilated (which it was) he finally asked his cohort to join him upon the roof to which the guy (probably a rookie) only said that it was blisters which is common on southern side of roofs in the south and that 95% of roofs look like this. I advised them I have installed thousands of square of shingles, built over a hundred homes from Ohio, Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina…not to mention the number of homes I have inspected and have yet to see a pattern where 95% of all southern slopes have heat blisters…talk about BS.

He asked my opinion on Haag (course) for which I told them they have some good material from what I have seen however many of their students are parroting the premise that Haag uses to help insurance companies negate a claim that being that granule loss is not important and furthermore that just because the mineral mat is exposed does not adversely affect the roof to which I disagree (I didnt even go into detail about the purpose of granules).

I advised him that there is no way a person who has no understanding of roofing systems, including ventilation systems etc… can take a 3 day course and be an expert. Its no different than a person getting their GC license here in NC and then taking a 1- 2 day seminar in becoming a home inspector and then presto…they are magically knowledgable inspectors…its simply crazy. He advised he is not an expert or an engineer. I told him strange how your company tells that to their clients…that their roofing expert or engineer will be out to review same.
(all got quite again…)

After awhile it was obvious that these guys were not going to jump from their heat blister lilly pad.

When all was said and done the homeownes were livid at the insurance representatives and is looking at contacting a lawyer and suing them.
(the homeowner himself is a master carpenter with over 20 years of experience…from framing, to roofing, remodeling…so you can imagine he was not happy about their BS).

I can not speak for others but it is my experience that Erie Ins. has an highly unusual rate of denying hail damage claims…especially one where it is evident. I would be curious if any other inspectors have come across similar experiences.

Strangely I did speak with another adjuster today who handles about 30 insurance companies and he said off the record that there is quite a bit of pressure put on by some claim managers to deny or negate as many claims as possible which is what I suspect is happening with Erie, especially in this area where we have been hit my at least 4 extensive hail storms that I know of within the last 14 months.

Anyway, now that I am done venting I think I will go play chess… and eat my Oreo cookies…mmmmmmmmmmmm : )



90% of a claims adjuster’s training is in policy and law. Many insurance companies require that they have a college degree, so most haven’t spent a lot of time on roofs. It’s not surprising that they have a tough time making decent calls, especially when the company puts on pressure to deny claims.

Ken, you have been to the school…how much to they cover over roof systems…in particular ventilation?

Not a lot, Jeff. I don’t remember the extent to which they discussed it in the classroom.

I just looked thorugh the course book. There are about 155 photos but only 2 of blisters. Their text on ventilation is 5 bullet points… standard stuff…

  • Attic ventialation is important to remove heat and moisture.
  • 1 sq. ft “net free” vent area per 150 sq. ft attic floor area, if balanced (no vapor barrier in ceiling).
  • 1 sq. ft “net free” vent area per 300 sq. ft attic floor area, if balanced (vapor barrier in ceiling).
  • “Net free” means without vent area obstructions
  • Don’t cover vents in winter.

Blisters don’t look very much like hail damage at all. Blisters are usually smaller and the pockmarks have steep sides with a loss of some asphalt material and all granules. The mat may show.
It’s not unusual for hail strikes to remove some granules and expose asphalt but hail doesn’t remove asphalt.
Really big hail with a lot of impact energy might smash a shingle enough to expose the mat around the edges of the indentation, but a blister looks like someone took a little spoon and scooped asphalt out right down to the mat. Or they look like little volcanos which have blown their stacks. Blisters and hail don’t look the same at all.

Precisely, pitting is one (from blistering) thing but when you look at the roof as a whole paying particular attention to various slopes and separating anomalies (which he failed to do) or worse call hail damage fastener burns when after showing fastener was no where near the damage after lifting up the shingle tab…it gets a little ridiculous.

I advised the owner to send off several tabs to the manufacturer.
He had already took several to ABC roofing supply who quickly discounted blistering.

It goes back to the old saying that a little knowledge can be dangerous…especially when one has a hidden agenda; that being denying as many claims as possible.




92222 Hail Damage.jpg

Good info, guys. Thanks.

We don’t get hail up here much. :smiley:

How would you identify this? I inspected a roof Monday for a client that had a recent hail and high wind storm. An inspector from their insurance company looked at it for less than 5 min. and told them there wasn’t any damage on there 2 yr. old roof. A few weeks later they received a letter and check from the insurance co. that said it was a total loss and they needed to replace the entire roof.

They did not want to replace a new 30 yr. roof if it didn’t need it.

I walked the roof for over an hour and did a pretty invasive inspection and all I found was 2 dimples and a 6" tear that was not storm related.

Note the house had aluminum facia that still looked new without one single dent.

First 2 are the (damage), the next 2 overall view of the roof.





Did I miss the hail damage?

We have a hail damage section of our inspection graphics gallery: http://www.nachi.org/gallery/roofing/wind_and_hail_damage

I had forgotten about that, thanks. :smiley:

The gallery is starting to look good.

It’s a little hard to tell from the photos, Chris. The damage in lower photo looks like hail. It still has some granules, which is typical. Exposed asphalt in old hail hits will look grey from oxidation and UV damage and this one looks grey/old, but it might be the photo.

The damage in the top photo, because of the sharp, horizontal mark, looks more like mechanical damage, like a gouge from a dropped tool or piece of equipment. It’s difficult to see clearly. Hail damage is more often than not somewhat uniform, and it’s usually roughly spherical.

Here are a couple of photos of hail damage for comparison- one older, one newer. You can see the difference in the color.

Older damage - Copy.jpg

Fracture 2 - Copy.jpg

Thanks Kenton. I agree with being more uniform. I thought it was a little odd in only finding what is pictured for the insurance co. to declare it a total loss.

Hail is not isolated to one area as is blisters are at times (exceptions of course)…slopes yes, but not a particular area.

What was surprising about my meeting with the Haag trained adjuster is that he did not measure off any areas…it took a few selected pictures that he wanted and commented on several spots he said was fastener burns or damage where fastener was trying to come through…until I showed him by prying up the tabs that he was wrong.

It is not Haag’s protocol to measure off at least 1 square area (10x10) on all slopes…I know that is what I do and then I start accounting for anomalies FIRST.

If you get a chance Ken, go through your material and see if their is anything taught about heat blisters occuring on southern slopes (I would be surprised by such a statement)… the homeowner is still ticked at this guys comments, how he handled himself and how he conducted his evaluation.

I suspect that if this guy is using his creditentials to simply negate claims then Haag would decertify such a person…I may be wrong on that one though.



Haag is just a company that offers classes in roof inspection.
Insurance companies use them because they don’t want to have to develop their own comprehensive training courses, although I know that at least the larger companies do to some extent anyway.

The protocols, like marking out the 10 x 10 square, and the number of hail hits required to appear within that square to warrant roof replacement varies from one insurance company to another. I know that some claims adjusters don’t do test squares and some don’t do elevation inspections.