Hailstones are not to be taken lightly. The largest hailstone in the U.S. was recorded in South Dakota in 2010. It weighed nearly two pounds. Whether dropped on your car, home or head, hail is not to be taken lightly.
The cost of hail damage may come as a surprise: Farmers Insurance reports hail accounts for 42% of all comprehensive auto claims during this quarter each year, and hail-related claims are heaviest in April, May and June.
Hail isn’t the only damage-causing phenomenon. Severe storms that bring heavy winds, rain and hail to the Plains and Midwest typically form when warm air from the Gulf of Mexico makes its way north and clashes with cooler temperatures.
NWS: Potentially severe storms expected this weekend in eastern South Dakota
“Hail season comes early in the Deep South, in January and February. As spring and summer arrive, it moves north to the Midwest, and in July and August, into the Dakotas and Minnesota,” according to Paul Quinn, head of claims and customer experience at Farmers.
Tens of thousands of auto claims are processed during this time of year because of hail damage. Hail breaks windows and dents auto bodies, never mind the hazards it poses to drivers. Homeowners, too, are at risk.
2018 hailstorm: South Dakota hail storms caused so much damage, you can see it from space
The Farmers Insurance Seasonal Smarts Digest, which details the leading causes of insurance claims and the most at-risk states, reveals that spring accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners’ claims nationally during the most recent two-year period.
Homeowners claims increased by 52% from April through June in 2015 compared to the January through March period. Water-related claims were the largest cause of claims at 24%, while hail accounted for 21% of all homeowner claims in springtime.
You can take preventative steps at home as well:
- Stay inside during a hailstorm and away from skylights and doors. Close drapes, blinds or window shades to prevent the wind from blowing shattered glass inside.
- Move outdoor furniture to a safe place, especially glass furniture.
- Arrange a roof inspection.
- Immediately repair any broken windows or other openings that resulted from the storm. This will keep other storm ramifications, such as wind and water, out and prevent further damage.
To prevent or avoid hail damage to your vehicle, consider the following:
- Use covered parking. Try to park in a garage or under a carport if hail threatens.
- Plan ahead. If the weather calls for hail, stay put. Driving is dangerous when it hails, and stormier weather — such as tornadoes — might be in the area, too.
- Take alternative transportation. Public transit is a good option when you know severe weather is on its way.
- Use hail blankets or specialized car covers. They can mitigate damage.
- Inquire about paintless dent repair. Paintless dent repair means heating your vehicle’s metal and then gently pushing from the inside to remove dents without damaging the paint on your car