What If Your Roof Starts Leaking During a Hurricane?

Posted on October 16, 2023


Frances Badayos | author

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ICHQ | Site Author

Roof leaks are one way that a hurricane can cause damage. If your roof starts leaking during a hurricane, you need to know what to do.

The Insurance Claim HQ team explains how to mitigate damage when there’s a leak in your ceiling. Contact our lawyers if you need to make a water damage claim after a hurricane.

What If Your Roof Leaks During a Hurricane?

If your roof starts leaking during a hurricane: move furniture and personal belongings out of harm’s way. Contain the leak with buckets, trash cans and towels. Place a thick tarp over the leak, up to the roof peak or securing it under shingles, until the leak can be fixed professionally.

If you have insurance coverage, file a claim.

10 Things To Do if Your Roof Is Leaking During a Storm

1. Spot the signs

When a roof leaks, you may see water, but it’s also common to see stains on the ceiling or a wall. Brown discoloration may mean a leak, but mold may appear black or green. When it’s safe to go outside, you can visually inspect your roof for damage that may be causing a leak.

2. Move things out of the way

If there is a leak, things that are nearby may suffer damage. Move things out of harm’s way, including furniture, beds, paperwork and personal items. Turn electronics off, unplug them and move them away from the area to prevent an electrical fire. If it’s not practical to move objects, or in addition, you can use tarps to protect your belongings.

3. Contain water

Do what you can to contain water that is entering your home. Use buckets and containers to capture water and remove it. Indoor trash cans and pots and pans may work, and you can bring in your large-capacity, outdoor trash cans. While it’s not a long-term solution, it can help you contain the problem.

4. Poke a hole to drain the water

If your ceiling is leaking, it may create a bulge or pool of water. Poking a hole to drain the water may minimize damage until a professional can complete a repair. A carefully placed hole can give the water a place to flow. You might use a pencil or a screwdriver to puncture the leak. Have buckets and towels on hand to collect the water.

5. Find the leak

Once the hurricane has passed, find the leak. See if the leak is coming from the roof, plumbing, heat or air conditioning systems or clogged gutters. You may inspect the attic if you can do so safely. Personal protective equipment like goggles and gloves may be appropriate.

6. Patch it up

When a hurricane arrives, roofing professionals will be busy and working quickly. It may be necessary to cover the roof with a tarp until repairs can be made. Extend the tarp to the ridge line. Make sure there are no gaps. If you’re using multiple tarps, make sure they overlap so water can’t run underneath.

7. Document the damage

Take photographs of the leak and its effects. Photograph any temporary efforts to contain the leak like containers to collect water and tarps. If you have expenses, save receipts.

8. Make an insurance claim

Begin working on your insurance claim as soon as possible. Delays in reporting can make it more difficult to get fair compensation. The insurance company may want an adjuster to inspect the damage before you begin repairs, but they may direct you to a roofing contractor.

9. Get professional help

A roofing professional can assess the damage, discuss the options and make repairs. Work with a roofing professional that is licensed, bonded and insured.

10. Stay safe

As you’re addressing a roof leak during a hurricane, make safety your top priority. Don’t go outside until it is safe to do so. Be careful climbing ladders and while entering the attic. When you’re moving furniture and other objects, use proper lifting techniques. Wear proper footwear.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you spot a leak in the ceiling or roof during a hurricane, you may need to make an insurance claim. At Insurance Claim HQ, we help people with hurricane-related insurance claims. We can represent you at any stage in the process whether you are first beginning, or you have encountered a problem.

Contact our lawyers to discuss your situation.