The Most Common Types of Storm Damage

Storms can cause a lot of damage in Illinois. From high winds to heavy rain, storms can wreak havoc on homes and property. Here are some of the most common types of storm damage seen in Illinois:

Severe storms, fires, floods and other disasters can cause significant damage to homes and properties. Being aware of the most common types of damage that can occur will help you know what to look for after a catastrophic event. Here are some of the typical property damages caused by natural disasters and events beyond homeowners’ control.

Storm Damage

Powerful thunderstorms and hurricanes can damage properties in many ways. High winds can tear off roofs, rip siding, smash windows and topple trees onto buildings. Intense rains can cause flooding and water intrusion leading to mold and mildew. Lightning strikes can cause fires. Common storm damage includes:

  • Missing, cracked or curled shingles indicating roof damage
  • Broken glass, torn screens or missing sections of windows and doors
  • Water stains or leaks on interior walls and ceilings
  • Downed trees, branches and scattered debris across the property
  • Detached or cracked siding
  • Tilting or detached structures like chimneys, mailboxes and storage sheds

Storms like hurricanes and thunderstorms can unleash high winds, heavy rains, and lightning strikes that damage properties in many ways. The powerful winds can tear off roof shingles and siding, leaving curled, cracked, or missing pieces that allow water intrusion. Windows and doors may be broken or completely blown out, with smashed glass, torn screens, and missing sections. The winds also frequently send branches and whole trees crashing onto buildings, while loose debris scatters across the property. Intense rainfall leads to flooding inside and outside the home, with water staining or discolorating walls and ceilings. The saturated carpets, walls, and belongings then encourage mold growth. Lightning strikes from storms cause destructive fires with burnt and blackened areas. Other common storm damage includes cracked chimneys, tilting sheds, warped floors from water saturation, andshifted foundations.

Flood Damage

Flooding from heavy rains, storm surges and overflowing bodies of water can wreak havoc on homes. Watch for these common flood damages:

  • Water stains or discoloration on walls and ceilings
  • Buckling or warped floors, baseboards and cabinets from water saturation
  • Mold or mildew growth on walls, carpets, upholstery and belongings
  • Cracked foundations or shifted structures
  • Damage to mechanical systems like HVAC units or hot water heaters from water exposure

Flooding on its own causes massive damage as well. Long-lasting heavy rains or storm surges overwhelm drainage systems and overflow riverbanks and levees. The flood waters saturate walls, carpets, and furnishings, causing stains, discoloration, buckling, and mold growth. Doors, windows, and appliances get damaged as the water completely surrounds homes. Mechanical systems like electrical panels, HVAC units, and hot water heaters are also vulnerable to water exposure. The immense force of flood waters can crack weaker foundations and shift entire structures. Flooding ruins interior finishes and often makes a home uninhabitable without extensive repairs and mold remediation.

Fire Damage

Fires started by lightning strikes, downed power lines, gas leaks and more can completely destroy properties. Fire damage may include:

  • Scorched or blackened areas on the home’s exterior or interior
  • Missing roof materials or siding from burning
  • Melted surfaces like window frames and vinyl siding
  • Smoke stains on walls, ceilings and contents like upholstery
  • Water damage from firefighting efforts

Fire, whether caused by lightning or other sources, can completely destroy properties as well. The extreme heat chars and blackens exterior siding, roof materials, and interior walls and ceilings. Vinyl surfaces like window frames and siding may be melted and warped. Water damage then occurs from fire suppression efforts. Even after the flames die down, smoke damage lingers through stains and the lingering smell inside the home. All that remains may be the scarred, skeletal structure if the fire burned hot and long enough.

Hail Damage

Large hailstones can batter roofs, siding, windows, vehicles and more. Watch for:

  • Pitted areas or cracks in roof shingles
  • Dents and paint damage on siding, gutters and trim
  • Cracked or broken glass in windows and skylights
  • Dents and paint damage on vehicles if left exposed

Large hailstones that pummel roofs, vehicles, and siding during intense storms leave behind telltale round divots and dents. Shingles chip and crack under the impact. Siding and trim gets pitted and damaged. Windows and skylights shatter from hail strikes. Even metal gutters and downspouts dent under large hail’s force. Car owners often find thousands of dollars in repairs from hail damage over entire vehicle surfaces.

Vandalism/Criminal Damage

Malicious vandalism and theft can also damage properties. Look for:

  • Spray painted graffiti on exterior surfaces
  • Broken glass from thrown objects or break-ins
  • Damage around door and window locks from forced entry
  • Items stolen from the property like copper pipes or wiring

Vandalism and criminal activity is another source of frustrating property damage for homeowners. Malicious vandals spray paint graffiti on exterior walls and surfaces. They throw rocks and objects to crack or break windows. Attempted burglaries damage windows, doors, and locks as intruders attempt to force entry. Copper piping,appliances, and wiring get stolen right from the property. Senseless vandalism often leaves expensive clean up and repairs costs for affected homeowners.

Documenting any property damage from natural disasters or criminal activity is critical for insurance claims. Photograph and take video of the damage. Make temporary repairs to prevent further issues. Contact your insurance company promptly to start the claims process. With severe damage, consider hiring a public adjuster to advocate for your claim. Stay safe as you inspect for and repair damage.

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