Hailstorms can be frightening and can damage window screens, shutters, cars, carports, roofs, landscaping plants, gardens and anything else that's outside and exposed to the weather. But once the storm has receded and you're left wondering if your home has sustained expensive damage, take these five steps to help you get from suspicion of hail damage to arranging a new roof or roof repairs.

1. Educate Yourself on What Hail Damage Looks Like

Some hailstorms leave unmistakable damage, such as shingles left askew or even torn off your roof completely. But smaller hailstones, especially if accompanied by less wind, can leave more sinister and less visible signs. Try to find some pictures online to help you become familiar with what hail-damaged spots on your roof may look like when the top layer of protective granules has been knocked off.

Finding out what hail damage is likely to look like will help you to perform your own pre-inspection to determine whether you need to have a professional inspection or not.

2. Look Closely at Your Roof

While inspecting your roof for hail damage, it's critical to stay safe yourself. Perform most or all of your inspection from the ground. Some signs of hail damage, such as granules being knocked loose, can be observed from the ground. Check below your downspouts to see if more granules than usual are gathering there. And to check the roof surface itself, use a strong pair of binoculars or a high-quality camera.

3. Get a Professional Opinion

While you can form your own opinion of whether or not your roof needs help, it's really your insurance company's opinion that counts as far as claims are concerned. So if you're hoping to get them to pay for the damage, you need to have the roof inspected by either an insurance adjuster or a roofing professional approved by the insurance company.

4. Call Your Insurance Company Pronto

Of course, you'll want to double-check that your insurance includes hail damage before trying to file a claim, but it's also important to get in touch with the insurance company about the damage as soon as possible.

Insurance companies tend to be suspicious of customers who try to make claims pertaining to storms that happened weeks ago. After all, leaving a damaged roof unrepaired is irresponsible because it can allow greater damage to develop. Damaged roofing materials may be compromised enough to allow water through to sub-roof layers, potentially even causing water damage in your attic and other parts of your house and making repairs and restoration much more expensive, which the insurance company won't want to pay for.

5. Choose the Right Roof Repair Company

The most important part of finding a roofing company, as far as payment is concerned (when your insurance company is paying for the roof), is making sure that the company is one approved by your insurance, because otherwise you'll have to foot the bill yourself.

But the most important part of choosing a roofing company as far as results are concerned is finding a contractor that has a positive reputation and a long history of working in the area.

It's easy to fall victim to a scam that involves cheap, low-quality roofing services offered by unqualified people who go around knocking on doors after storms. Avoid this mistake by doing your own research, using companies that have a strong local presence, and making sure the services you require are either recommended by people you know or highly rated by online communities you trust.

Eagle Home Restorations will be glad to help you with any roof inspections, replacements, or repairs necessary, whether due to hail damage or for any other reason. Feel free to contact us today for a free estimate.