Sometimes an adjuster will ask you to provide a test square to support the claim that the roof has hail or wind damage. A test square is a 10-foot by 10-foot area with the damage noted in it. It is important to identify and document this damage using the same criteria that an insurance company would use.
Follow these steps to make your test squares count:
Perform a test square for each elevation (North facing slope, South facing slope, etc.)
- CHALK COLOR
Always use chalk that is a contrasting color, you want the chalk to show up well in the photos. Use one color of chalk for all of your markings on the roof.
A test square is a 10-foot by 10-foot section on the roof. Pick a spot on the slope where you notice the most hail hits or wind damage, avoiding areas with tree coverage. Count off the 10×10 foot square and draw four “corners” to mark the square.
After you draw the corners, mark the test square with a N, S, E, or W (depending on which direction that slope faces).
- IDENTIFY DAMAGE
Circle 8-12 hail hits and circle with chalk. If the claim is for wind damage, mark each shingle affected with a slash mark. With wind claims, it is a good idea to show areas where shingles may be missing. Raise a tab of the shingle to show it is not sealed or has debris underneath it. Take a close-up photo of each hail hit or wind-damaged shingle that you identify as you go.
- TALLY HITS
Tally up how many hail hits or wind damaged shingles you find in that test square and write that number next to the N,S,E, or W (i.e. N=11).
- TAKE PHOTOSTake an overview photo of the test square before moving on to the next slope. If you have 10 hail hits on the north slope, you should have 11 photos total for that slope (the overview photo and a close up of each hail hit).
Repeat these steps for each slope – N, S, E, W
- NAME THE PHOTOS
Name these photos so your team will know what slope the hail hit is on.
- SOFT METALS
It is good practice to chalk all soft metals and vents while you are working on your test square photos. These photos help strengthen your case that the roof is damaged.
Remember to think like an adjuster when you are documenting. Avoid taking photos of “iffy” spots on the roof and avoid photographing foot traffic. If a re-inspection is scheduled, you may be asked to verify the hits provided in the photos. Always take a front photo of the house and be sure your photos are good quality. Do not upload blurry photos.
Take your time and remember that this could lead to an approval if done well!