Hail is the scourge of summer in many parts of the country.

In fact, over the last five years, hail damage accounted for almost 40% of all insured losses nationally, costing more than $15 billion every year.

But determining the level of hail damage to your roof, garden or other areas of your property can be a challenge. You may not see any sign of damages on gravel and tar roofs unless you are not a professional, until the leaks start and it is too late.

It depends on these materials used in your home. For example, metal and asphalt shingles might have obvious damage after a hailstorm, but a tile or sturdier roofing material might show no adverse effect. But regardless of the material or damage, it’s important to remember that your property is vulnerable to long-term deterioration as the result of hail, including damaged siding, roof leaks, cracked windows, damaged outdoor lights and more.

Hail Damage: How Bad Is It?

The truth is, even minor hail damage can lead to big issues like water incursion or leakage down the road. To make the matters worse, many insurance policies only allow a limited period of time to submit a hail damage claim.

That is why it is important to determine the extent of hail damage on your property as soon as possible after a storm, even if there isn’t any obvious damage.

Here is a checklist of what to look for and what to do once a hailstorm hits your property:

Loose Shingles: Check the movement of roofing shingles. If you can easily pull up them or move them around, they may be loose and need a fix.

Dents: If you have a metal roof, look for dings and dents from hail. Sometimes using chalk to mark up the surface makes it easier to spot subtle damage.

Dented or Split Wood Shingles: Hailstorms can do great damage to wood shingles, cracking or splitting them up. This now only affects their appearance, but also their long-term strength. Replace immediately.

Missing Shingles: Sometimes hailstorms can blow shingles entirely off the roof, so inspect your roof carefully.

Dents on Chimney Covers: Look for dings and dents on chimney covers, particularly if you have a metal chimney. Check for damage to the flashing as well, which can allow water to seep into your home by running down the chimney.

Outdoor Furniture Damage: Don’t overlook outdoor furniture pieces. Hail can cause holes in plastic chairs or even crack them. It can also splinter wooden furniture or chip paint.

Outdoor Lights: Look for broken lights and cracks in the front and backyard. Bulbs can be damaged too.

Damaged Fence: Wood fencing is more prone to hail damage than many composites, so look for wood scraps, splintered wood, and dents.

Debris: Broken tree limbs, glass, windows, and stripped leaves on your property are all signs of a destructive hailstorm.

Water Leaks: If you notice a recurring water leakage problem in your house, it may be the sign of hail damage outside. Investigate immediately.

Ceiling Stains: Inspect ceiling corners for signs of leakage. If you see bubbling paint or staining, it can mean that water is getting trapped behind the wall due to hail damage.

What To Do Next

Assessing damage right after hailstorm is step one. You may also want to hire a professional to help determine total damage, particularly in hard-to-access areas of your house.

Hail damage can hit you two ways: with immediate property damage, or by contributing to longer-term damage due to water intrusion of other issues that can be costly to repair. Don’t risk it; take steps to address the situation right away.