How to Prepare for a Hailstorm

Fact: Minnesota is hail country.

If you’re new to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you were probably told to prepare for the worst winter you could possibly imagine. You bought a down jacket capable of withstanding subzero temperatures; you chose a house with decent insulation and heated bathroom floors. You even sprang for a new furnace. After stocking up on hot chocolate (and maybe a bottle of decent brandy) you consoled yourself with the thought, “Hey, at least I can ski, snowboard, ice skate or play hockey all winter.”

And then it happened: you were slammed with your first hailstorm. Or was that the sound of your neighbor throwing golf balls at your roof?

If you thought that snow was the only kind of severe weather to hit the Upper Midwest, think again. Minnesota is part of the Hail Belt, which includes Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Illinois, among other states across the Great Plains, Midwest and Southwest.

How you can prepare for a hailstorm.

The good news is that your neighbor isn’t throwing golf balls at your roof–it only sounds that way. And, even better news: you can prepare for a hailstorm.

As far as weather phenomena go, hail differs from snow in its intensity and longevity. While even heavy snow can’t do much damage in a few minutes, hail can. Fortunately, the average hail storm lasts only a few minutes, and seldom more than 15 minutes.Despite a hailstorm’s brevity, it can pack a serious, damage-inducing punch to homes, cars and people. (Dog and cat owners take note: remember to let your pets inside during a hail storm.)

The damage, of course, isn’t merely physical–it’s financial. In the United States, hail damage can annually cost as much as $1 billion. In terms of the facts as to annual cost for hail damage is in the billions/year. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events (this tool doesn’t have a sub-category for hail within the severe storm category but hail is always a component along with wind and tornado) Within hail there is also structural, auto and crop.  By taking a few preemptive steps, businesses and individuals can protect their property from hail damage–and the daunting bills that go with it. For homeowners, these steps are simple: investing in a quality roof and getting an annual checkup before hail season are two ways you can be proactive about avoiding storm damage.

Prior to a Hailstorm

As painful as it may sound, whip out that insurance policy and read the fine print. Better yet, ask your insurance agent to talk you through the fine print–after all, it’s their job. (Insurance agents specialize in fine print. If yours doesn’t, it’s time to find a new one!) By investing in storm insurance through a quality agent, you will avoid the stress and potential financial upheaval of being uninsured.

Talk with your agent about options for a deductible that’s appropriate for your particular situation. Deductibles can vary widely depending on the value of assets you want to cover and the level of risk you’re willing to assume.should hail and storm be separated?  I don’t know what would be best from an seo perspective but don’t know that most people will search for the combined versus the separate.  Also, this is a good section  – likely additional suggestions with respect to reviewing the policy – do you know if your deductible is a flat amount or based on the value of your home, do you know if it is a “replacement” policy versus an ACV (actual cash value) policy?  Does your policy cover building code upgrades?

Reducing Hail Damage

When is the last time you checked the state of your roof? If you’re like many busy people, the answer to that question might be “I have no clue,” or “Sometime during the George W. Bush administration.” Or even “never.”

Maintaining your roof is an important preemptive measure to protect your home from hail, which can wreak havoc on shingles and roof surfaces that are worn or otherwise in a state of disrepair.

During a Hailstorm

Picture a hailstone as large as a softball or a grapefruit as it hurtles through the air at 50 to 100 miles per hour. Does this sounds like a scene from an action movie in which Tom Cruise saves the earth from an apocalyptic hailstorm doomed to destroy civilization?

Actually, this scenario describes an actual, real-life hailstorm. While most hailstones are smaller, it’s important to be recognize the danger of what is basically hard pellets of ice falling from the sky at speeds that can exceed what would be considered legal illegal should be legalif you were driving.

Storms can change at any time, from what seems like a minor event to a catastrophic one. The best advice? Stay inside. Avoid both glass doors and sky-facing windows to avoid exposure to broken glass. Close drapes, blinds and shades to keep flotsam and jetsam from blowing inside. If you can, park your car in the garage or other sheltered area; if you’re not at home, parking under a shelter like a gas station pump rooftop is better than parking in the open.

After a Hailstorm

Thoroughly survey your property and belongings for damages. If you have hail damage insurance and you have discovered damages during your assessment, give your insurance provider a call at the earliest opportunity. Map Forensics will help navigate the insurance claim process by clarifying how to assess your damages, and by working with your insurance company to agree upon the scope of repair work needed. In the aftermath of a stressful storm, we’re staffed with friendly people to walk you through the complex assessment and insurance process 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Bottom Line: Are you Prepared?

If you’re worried whether you’re truly prepared for a hailstorm, why not give us a call today? We work closely with contractors, roofers and other companies in the business of helping clients to protect their assets from hail damage. Fill out the form below to get in touch!

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