Roof is the largest single surface and the first line of defense in protecting your home. Insurance carriers tend to see a lot of damage to roofs in those instances where they also have structural claims. Obviously certain portions of the country get very different climate and different winter weather. The northern states will have heavier snow and ice, where the south may get more rain.
Here are top 5 recommendations to homeowners to prepare for winter:
- Do a visual inspection of your roof to look for maintenance issues or things that could make it more susceptible to hail or wind or other damage — like missing or damaged shingles or tiles on sloped roofs. Or if it’s a flat roof, look for surface bubbles in the membrane material or missing gravel.
- Look at flashing along the roof to make sure it’s in place and in good condition. The flashing is where you transition between vertical places and the horizontal roof — things like around skylights, vents or chimneys. Anywhere where you have a change in roof elevation, you’ve got flashing there and that’s a typical source or place for water to penetrate into the roof covering.
- Take a walk around the home and look for overhanging trees and branches. Trim trees back and remove dead branches —things that have the potential to fall when you get high winds or heavy snowfall to keep from damaging your roof.
- Check downspouts and gutters to make sure that after the leaves fall the gutters get cleaned out — anything with the potential to freeze and exacerbate the problem with ice damage. Keep the drainage of the water off the roof and not clogged in the gutters.
- Consider impact-rated roofing in parts of the country more susceptible to hail storms. If agents have customers already in the market for or considering replacing their roof, in certain areas of the country, we would suggest they at least consider it.