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Home's Siding Damaged By Hail? Here Are Two Roadblocks You May Face

by Camila Holland

In Mount Vernon, golf ball-sized hail pummeled a home and created holes in the vinyl siding. A home's siding is a protective barrier against weather elements but, when damaged, the siding no longer provides protection. Holes in the siding allow water to enter the space between the siding and the structure of the home, which could result in extensive water damage. Because of this, vinyl siding that has been damaged in a hail storm will need to be replaced as quickly as possible.

However, there are a few things that can hinder the speed of the insurance company, homeowner, and siding contractor in getting the siding replacement done in a timely manner. Here are several roadblocks you may face if your home's siding has been damaged by hail.

Should you file a claim for the damaged siding?

Of course, one of your first thoughts after discovering the hail-damaged siding was likely that your homeowner's insurance company will cover the costs. Hail damage typically is. However, if you have already filed a claim (or several) against your homeowner's insurance in the recent past, regardless of the reason, it's important to understand that filing another claim may result in your homeowner's insurance company cancelling your policy. Filing too many claims is a common reason for coverage being dropped.

Before you file a claim, speak with your homeowner's insurance agent. He or she should be able to tell you whether or not you are already walking a fine line with your insurance company. If you have not filed any claims, take the costs of replacing the siding into careful consideration as there may be a more monumental homeowner's insurance claim lurking in your future, particularly if you live in an area that has a high potential of severe storms.

Will the replacement siding match the undamaged siding?

Whether you decide to file an insurance claim or pay for the costs out of your pocket, another dilemma you may face is finding siding that will match the undamaged siding that is currently on your home. Sometimes, manufacturers of vinyl siding stop production of certain types, styles, and/or colors—or go out of business altogether—which can lead you to have problems finding an exact match when only one or two sides of the siding is damaged.

So how do you find out? A very experienced siding contractor may be able to tell you the exact manufacturer of the siding as well as the exact color and whether or not the siding is still available. If not, don't fret. Remove the siding until you discover the barcode label on the back of the siding. Enter the barcode number into Barcode Lookup to find the name of the manufacturer and other information about the product, including the color.

Alternatively, you can send a piece of the siding off to Itel Inc for them to analyze it and send you a lab report, which will include the name of the manufacturer, product details, and whether or not it is currently available on the market. If the siding is no longer available, the report also includes a list of siding products that match and have similar specifications. 

If you do choose to file a claim for the siding, you'll need to know whether or not the insurance policy has a provision in it that will allow for the entire home to be resided, even if the damage is only on one or two sides as is often the case with hail storm damage. Ask your insurance agent if your policy has an extra provision that allows for the residing of the entire home.