PVC membrane is a tough and long lasting single ply roofs but it can become fractured by hail if the hail stones are large enough. In many cases building owners are unaware that there commercial roof has sustained hail damage. The hail hits or fractures will eventually cause leaks at which point a roofing contractor is called. This is usually when building owner finds out that their PVC flat roof has hail damage and that they will need to file and insurance claim.
The way you handle your roofing insurance claim can make a big difference on the outcome. Here are 4 Tips to handling an insurance claim for hail damage on your flat Roof:
1. Identify and Mark Hail Hits
Finding the hail hits on the roof can be one of the most challenging and time consuming part of the process especially on older pvc roofs that are dirty or that have some ponding water on them. At a minimum you will have to bend over to see the fractures but more times than not you will have to be on your hands and knees in order to closely examine the PVC membrane. Pay very close attention to low spots and areas that hold water as hail fractures that are covered in water will be the first to leak and can cause the most damage to your building.
You can use a squeegee to push standing water towards a drain or gutter, this will also help to remove dirt and grim making hail hits easier to find. Once you have found a hail hit use a colored crayon to circle the fractured membrane.
Helpful Hint: Use your fingers to squeeze around the hail hit and watch closely for water or water bubbles to come out of cracks. This will tell you if it has penetrated all the way thought the membrane and is in fact leaking.
2. Document Each fracture
Once you have found all or the majority of the hail impacts on the PVC membrane be sure to document the damage. Take a picture of each fracture close enough so that an insurance adjuster or engineering firm can clearly see what has happened. Organize the photos in to a thumbnail pattern and place as them on a few pages that the document can be emailed or printed. Doing this work can greatly speed up the process and get your flat roof replaced or repaired much faster.
Taking video can also be a great way to document hail damage on a flat roof. You can easily use a smart phone to video hail damage and upload it to youtube. The video link and photos of damage can then be emailed to your insurance agent and/ or adjuster.
Helpful Hint: If you or your roofing contractor does a good job of documenting the hail damage and can put it into electronic form, the flat roof may be approved for replacement before the adjuster comes out. This means your roof will be repaired or replaced much faster and all the adjuster has to do is measure the building and reach and agreed scope of work with roofing contractor.
3. Temporarily Repair damage
After you have Photographed or videoed the damaged pvc membrane roof, use caulking to temporarily seal up the fractures. The best thing to use is the elastomeric caulking from the roof manufacture but you may also use caulking from other PVC roofing membrane manufactures such as Duro-Last, Carlisle, Johns Manville, Versico, or Sarnifil. Never use a tar or tar based caulking on PVC membranes and keep in mind that silicone based caulking will usually not adhere well to the PVC.
Helpful Hint: Never permanently repair or attempt to replace the flat roof before that adjuster has has had a chance to inspect it.
4. Working with the Insurance claims Adjuster
Once you have filed a claim with your insurance agent and submitted the photos and video of the damage, an insurance adjuster will be called out to inspect the roof. The insurance adjusters job is to evaluate the extent of the damage, measure the building, and determine whether or not the flat roof should be repaired or replaced. We encourage building owners to have their commercial roofing contractors meet the adjuster on site. The roofing contractor and the claims adjuster can work together to quickly and effectively resolve the claim. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster are there to help and should be treated with respect. Trying to bully or intimidate the insurance adjuster is never a good approach and is not recommended.
Helpful Hint: Insurance Adjuster are just people trying to do their job, anything you can do to make that job easier is always appreciated. Try setting up a ladder for the adjuster to get meeting started off in a positive, helpful way.