Hailstorms are among the most destructive weather events, with hailstones ranging in size from a pea to a grapefruit. When these frozen missiles plummet from the sky, damage to cars and buildings can be severe.
Steve Bowen, a meteorologist at Aon and director of the broker’s Impact Forecasting unit, has said hail can contribute as much as 50 percent to 80 percent of severe convective storm losses in any given year, with tornadoes, wind and flooding providing the rest.
An April 28 storm that included apple-size hail in in some parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth region caused close to $400 million in insured losses, according to the Insurance Council of Texas. Spokesperson Camille Garcia says the loss estimate is based on 32,000 car and homeowners claims sent to insurers through May 3. Most came from Tarrant County and the city of Keller. Once roof inspections are completed many more claims are expected.
State Farm alone paid out $474.6 million in hail claims in Texas in 2020, according to the company’s most recent Hail Damage report.
While you can’t prevent hail from failing on your property, you can lessen the possible damage by putting vehicles in the garage and moving patio furniture under cover. Close blinds and curtains to prevent broken glass from blowing inside and possibly causing injuries or damage.
For homes without garages, which is common in the South, I’m told, hail-resistant car covers can be an effective option.
If you do experience hail damage, your auto and home insurance policies will cover it. Take lots of pictures of the damage and submit your claim as soon as you can.
If contractors come knocking on your door, hold off on signing repair contracts. Do your due diligence, deal with reputable contractors, and get references. Consult your insurance adjuster before signing any contracts.
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For more on hail damage trends and mitigation tactics, see Triple-I’s paper Severe Convective Storms.