Emergency Roof Repair Tips

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Emergency roof leaks can be a major hassle and could lead to more damage to your house. To prevent disaster, make sure you fix the leak right away and contact your insurance company with the claim as soon as possible.
While there are ways to stop the leak superficially yourself, you’ll likely need to bring in an expert to repair the damage.  
That’s why the home and car insurance super app Jerry has put together this action plan to help you prevent an emergency roof leak from growing to a full-fledged housing disaster. 
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What counts as a roofing emergency?

The first signs of a possible leak count as a roofing emergency.  Watch for:
  • Water spots on the ceiling
  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Missing or damaged flashing
  • Water spots or wet roof decking
Roof leaks come in all sizes. Small, slow leaks require making an appointment with a roofing repair professional as soon as possible. Larger leaks that necessitate a shingle or decking replacement will require a same-day response.

Tips for emergency roof repairs

Fortunately, you can stop a leak from becoming a major catastrophe. Follow these tips to prevent any severe damage to your home at the first sign of a leak. 

Place a tarp over an emergency roof leak 

If you can locate the leak on the roof, affix a tarp to the top of the roof to prevent water from coming through the hole and to protect against further damage. Make sure your tarp is intended for outdoor use and that it is large enough to cover the damaged area.  
Pull the tarp tightly around the leak and smooth it out. Then, tuck the top edge of the tarp under a line of shingles, or secure it over a ridge to keep water from entering at the top and running underneath the tarp to the leak.  
Finally, nail or tack the tarp edges down and cover the nail heads with rubber cement to prevent new leaks from occurring. 
If water is coming through the ceiling, be sure to arrange buckets to collect the dripping water and move any furniture away from the leak. Mop up any standing water to avoid unnecessary water damage. 
Key Takeaway: The first step to fixing an emergency roof leak is to prevent water from coming into your house. If water is seeping in, take precautions to prevent water damage.

Document the damage

Take pictures of any damage you can see.  A roofing specialist and a claims adjuster will certainly document what they find on your roof, so it wouldn’t hurt to have your own documentation to compare. 
  • Take pictures or videos of the suspected areas of damage.
  • Document the cause if possible.  For example, if a limb has fallen on your roof, photograph or video the extent of it before the limb is removed.  
  • Along with pictures, document in writing what you believe to be the extent of the damage.  
  • Keep a record of all estimates, invoices, and bills for repairs so far.

Fix damaged shingles and secure loose ones 

Most of the time, a temporary fix can help if a leak results from loose or damaged shingles. Reaffix any loose shingles at or around the leak using adhesive, cement, or roofing nails around the edges. 
If you are securing loose shingles as a band-aid, be sure you have the correct hardware. Be sure to use roofing nails and not the spare ten-penny nails you’ve stored in the workbench all these years. If you don’t have roofing nails, consider another tarp.  
Make sure to mark any reaffixed shingles for professional roofers to address when they arrive. 

Contact your insurer

Reach out to your insurance company to inform them of your concerns. Be sure to mention the warning signs you’ve noticed and what you’ve documented. Also, confirm whether your policy will cover the partial or full costs for repair or replacement.  
Most likely, your insurance company will want to send an inspector to verify your claim.  Many top roofing companies also advise that insurers may suggest a roofing contractor inspect the roof first, to keep the customer from opening an unnecessary claim and doing damage to their insurance rating.  
In some cases, the insurance inspector and roofing contractor assess the roof together and agree on-site as to needed repairs.

Hire a professional roofer

You might love to roll up your sleeves for a good DIY, but this is one project you should leave to the pros. 
Not only are contractors properly trained in safety protocols, but they are also trained to see damage homeowners can’t. The untrained eye might not see the full extent of the damage. 
A roofing contractor might also notice pre-existing damage from weather or wear that can be addressed at the same time as the emergency repair.    

How to find affordable car and home insurance

Your roof isn’t the only place you may spring a leak. Your wallet and checking account may be leaking, too, if your insurance coverage and premiums don’t match your needs and qualifications. Let Jerry give you an extra layer of protection.  
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In cases of localized damage, a small repair is all that is needed—like missing shingles. In cases of widespread damage and wear, the repair will be much more extensive, and if enough damage is located, an inspector or contractor will suggest a replacement over repair.
It’s best to wait for a rainy day, then climb into the attic to see if the leak is visible. In the case of roof repair, keep in mind you may have more than one leak to address. A roofing contractor and insurance inspector will know what to look for.
How long is determined by the size of the repair. If a few shingles need to be replaced, the repair may be completed within an hour. If the entire roof needs to be replaced, the repair will take 2-3 days. The size and pitch of the roof are also factors in determining how long the job will take.

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