Oh hail no! It’s that time of year again when we are treated to not only winter’s cold, but also hail. Every year hail damage accounts for billions of dollars in insurance claims; Over the past five years, nationwide home and vehicle claims linked to hail and wind storms accounted for nearly 40% of all insured losses, averaging around $15 billion, annually.1
Dangers of Hail
- Hail can get alarmingly big:Hail can be as small as a pea (1/4 inch in diameter), as big a softball (4.5 inches in diameter), or even bigger in rare cases. The largest hailstone ever recorded in the U.S. fell in Vivian, Nebraska in July of 2010, measuring eight inches in diameter and weighing 1.9 pounds.
- Small hail falls with greater speed and scale:No matter its size, hail still poses major risks. Small hail (half an inch in diameter) can reach speeds of 20 mph and usually comes down in larger quantities than large hail, creating a greater risk for damage.What is the typical scale of a hail storm? It varies considerably. Hail falls in paths known as “swaths,” or “streaks,” which can cover anywhere from a few acres to 100 miles wide and 10 miles long.4 Dense swaths of hail of any size can do serious damage to both people and property.
- Hail can indicate an approaching tornado:Any type of thunderstorm can produce hail, but “supercell” storms (severe, rotating thunderstorms) are responsible for most big hailstones. If you see large hail (the size of a quarter or larger) that could mean the storm has tornado activity as well.2
How Can I Prevent Hail Damage?
While even the best preparation can’t prevent all hailstorm damage, there are things you can do to increase the chances your property will survive intact.
- Have your roof regularly inspected. First, have your roof inspected regularly and address any problems, such as blistering (pockets of moisture that evaporate, leaving behind bubble-like forms) or missing grains on asphalt shingles, which weaken your roof. It’s far more cost efficient to make small preventative repairs than it is to clean up after catastrophic leaks or damage.
- If you live in a hail-prone area, an impact-resistant roof might be a smart investment. Depending on your carrier and your coverage, you may even be eligible for insurance credits if you invest in impact-resistant roofing.
- You can also consider installing storm shutters on your windows and doors. They can be closed before an impending storm and can help protect glass from shattering.
- To protect landscaping, consider creating do-it-yourself covers with stakes and tarps. Place potted plants under lawn furniture, or under buckets that you’ve weighed down with stones. You can also drape hardware fabric over your tomato cages and climbing trellises to limit damage from smaller hail.3
How Do I Assess Hail Damage?
Because hail can be so destructive, it’s important you visually inspect the complete exterior of your home for damage immediately after a hailstorm hits.
- If you suspect your home’s roof is damaged, consult a qualified contractor to request an assessment, preferably one experienced in repairing hail damage. You can also look for dents in your gutters and downspouts, which could be indications of hail impact.
- You should also look for damage to your outdoor air condenser unit, deck, siding, windows, and other painted surfaces, noting any new dents or dings.
- Be sure to check your landscaping for damage. It will be easy to spot: Hail will crush tender young plants, and break or harm branches on older perennials or young trees.4
Being prepared for the unexpected and acting in a timely manner can be the difference between thousands of dollars in damage, and no damage done. At Restoration Authority we believed in always being prepared and ready. Now that we have discussed some tips, if you find your business damaged by hail call us today at 630-995-3516.