The sun is shining this week but Foothills residents are still dealing with hail damage from storms earlier this month.

There are a number of steps people can take when dealing with hail.

When anticipating hail it's important to take precautions by closing windows and moving vehicles and other things under protection.

After the storm has passed it's a good idea to do a quick audit or inspection yourself to prevent further damage to your home and to know what you're dealing with.

Local roofing expert David Bellingham says hail damage should never go untended.

"If the roof is damaged by hail and you just let it go for one or two years what can happen is with the granulation it wears away the fibers of the shingle. And then you're going to have holes in the roof system that can allow water to get into the attic space and as a result get into the home."
Bellingham says in some cases calling a third party to inspect is in a homeowners favor.

"In a less severe storm it's probably a good idea in having a third party inspection company to come and audit your property for hail damage. That way they can give you an idea on how much hail damage is on your home prior to initiating a claim. And the benefit there would be you might not suffer any penalties if you initiate a claim and it's a false claim."

Inspectors are required to have certain certifications, the HAAG certification is a must for hail inspectors, because without the proper credentials results are not as easily accepted by insurance companies.

When looking for roofing and siding companies to repair the damage, Bellingham says don't always trust the top result on Google.

"I think people sometimes get caught up in the Google search. Someone will search for roofing or siding on Google and a company can basically pay to have top ad space in different categories and not necessarily be credentialed or even be in business for very long."

A final tip is to audit policies to make sure they have full replacement value on repair versus cash value because cash value can mean there is a depreciation component that is taken off for the amount of money you would receive for repairs.

80 percent of the files in southern Alberta for Big Top Roofing and Exteriors this month have been from Okotoks.

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