The Headaches of Hail
It's Spring. We all know what that means - the return of those infamous showers that bring May flowers. Sure, they promise fresh foliage, but they often bring with them a host of hazards, including flooding, hail, tornadoes, high winds and lightning.
Though visions of tulips and roses may be dancing in your head, don't let them distract you from keeping your family and your property safe during severe weather. During the next few weeks, we'll be offering you some important tips for weathering inevitable spring storms. We'll start with a type of precipitation that has the potential to leave a dent in your house, your car and your wallet - hail.
Just when you think winter is nothing but a bad memory, here come more frozen chunks of ice falling from the sky. Seriously, what's up with that? While hail probably won't snap your power lines or cause the temperature to plummet below freezing, this particular form of icy precipitation can certainly cause plenty of its own unique headaches (literally and figuratively). The problem with hail is that it typically occurs without much warning - and there isn't a whole lot you can do to avoid its impact.
What to Do Before the Hail Storm
Here are a few tips that may help you mitigate hail damage and remain safe if you find yourself in the midst of a hail storm:
- Keep your vehicle in the garage. From broken windshields to dented roofs, hail can cause severe damage to vehicles. The simplest way to prevent hail damage to your car or truck is to routinely house it in the garage or under an awning. At the very least, move it to one of these locations if you are in the path of a severe storm.
- Stay inside, away from windows. Some people seem to think hail stones make great conversation piece for their freezers, or that taking a picture of them help earn 15 minutes of fame on the local news station, don't risk a concussion by venturing outside while it's hailing. Even if you're inside, out of the elements, you might not want to gawk at the storm by a window. Hail the size of baseballs has been recorded with strong storms, and most of us are aware of what happens when a rogue baseball hits a window.
- If you're driving, find a safe place to stop your car. If you can find an overpass or some sort of covered shelter, park there until the hail subsides! If nothing else, pull to the side of the road. That way, if your windshield or your windows shatter, you can shield yourself from debris and you won't risk losing control of the car.
- Use impact-resistant roofing materials. The roof is your home's first line of defense in a storm - and it can take quite a beating when pelted by large ice chunks hurtling from the sky. If you have an older roof, or one made from basic roofing materials, it may not be able to withstand the impact of large hail. While it's obviously not going to be cost-effective for you to replace your roof on a whim, you may want to research the new impact-resistant options on the market if you're building a new home or plan to replace the roof on your existing home. IBHS offers a comprehensive guide to selecting impact-resistant roofing materials and utilizing construction processes that can help a roof withstand hail.
What to Do After the Hail Storm
Here's what you should do after a hail storm:
- Survey the damage. Carefully check your home's windows, gutters and roof for damage. But, whatever you do, don't try to climb up on your roof - leave that to a professional. Major roof damage should be readily apparent. If there are pieces of shingles littering your lawn, it's safe to say you're probably going to need to have an insurance adjuster visit your house. If your car was outside during the storm, be sure there are no cracks in the glass or dents on the body.
- Call your insurer. If you find that your home or vehicle has sustained hail damage, be sure to call your insurance company right away. If immediate repairs are necessary to prevent further damage from occurring, take pictures of the initial damage and save all of your receipts related to the repair. You'll need to submit these types of documentation if you end up filing a claim.
Dime. Penny. Nickel. Quarter. Forecasters love comparing the size of hail to currency. The comparison seems especially fitting since hail damage can put a significant dent in your wallet - not just your home and vehicle. Keep these tips in mind to help keep hail's impact on your property and your pocketbook to a minimum.