Hail Guide Part I: How to Prepare Your Home for Hail Storms

Spring storm season can be brutal in Texas. Learn how to prepare for hail storms so that your roof, your family, and all your things make it through to the summer.

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While spring signals that hot weather is just around the corner, it also marks the start of hail season. Texas homeowners typically expect hail and heavy storms from March through June each year, and they can cause a lot of damage.

This image is courtesy of our accounting whiz Inga, who got this hailstone in her very own backyard.

In fact, Texas is first in the nation in catastrophe claims and losses, largely due to wind and hailstorm claims. In 2017 alone, Texas had 747 hail events – the highest of any other state in the country.

And last June, just one hailstorm in DFW racked up approximately $1 billion in insured losses to properties and automobiles, damaging 20,000 structures and 25,000 vehicles, and making it the fifth storm in 5 years to cost the DFW area over $1 billion in storm damage!

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent all hailstorm damage. However, there are several preventative steps that will increase the chances of your property surviving intact. Planning ahead can mean the difference between extensive damage and minor problems!

1. Repair Roof Damage Before Hail Storms Start

Our number one tip is to make sure you don’t enter hail season with an already damaged roof.

Going into hail season with damaged or missing shingles means that one heavy storm could cause your roof to fail, leaving the rest of your home and its contents vulnerable. Leaks, mold, and structural damage can be expensive to fix, so it’s far more cost effective to have your roof’s weak points inspected and repaired before the hail arrives. Your roof will stand a much better chance of making it through hail season without significant damage. Plus, insurance policies don’t pay out for older roof damage, so it’s not a good idea to hope that the next big storm will get all your roof repairs covered.

We recommend scheduling a free roof inspection so that a qualified roof inspector can see if there are any issues that could compromise your roof’s integrity. An expert will be able to take a close look at the roof’s condition and assess any problem areas that could be exacerbated during a storm and might require expensive repairs, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing exactly what the state of your roof is.

From the Institute For Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

If any part of your roof does require replacing, now may be a great time to consider investing in impact-resistant roofing such as architectural shingle or metal roofing. Metal roofing, like stone coated steel and standing seam roofing, is incredibly durable and hail-resistant, although it might take some cosmetic damage from a severe hail storm. Look for materials with a Class 3 or 4 rating under the Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) 2218 standard. Class 4 is the highest rating and means that the product did not crack when hit twice in the same area by a two-inch steel ball.

While impact-resistant roofing choices cost more initially, they also last significantly longer in North Texas’ extreme weather conditions, saving you money in the long run. Plus, most insurance companies offer premium discounts for Class 4 rated roofs, anywhere from 15% to 35%.

2. Protect Your Home from Wind Damage

It’s not only hail stones that are a concern during a hail storm. High winds can damage your roof and fittings and fling things at your home, so a little preventative spring cleaning maintenance could save you a lot of money later on.

In March:

Trim your trees

Check for any dead limbs, weak areas, and overhanging branches that could potentially fall on your home during a storm. Even big, sturdy branches are at risk during a hail storm as hail is more likely to break these branches than rain.

Clear the gutters

Make sure your gutters and drainpipes are free from any leaves or other debris that may have built up over the winter. You want to make sure that water can efficiently drain from your roof, especially when hail is melting, to avoid any leaks or water damage.

Before a big storm:

Put away your  lawn furniture

Patio furniture, trampolines, unattached swing sets and more can all cause damage to your house during a heavy spring storm. These items may become airborne and be sent flying into you or your neighbor’s home, so if possible, put them in a garage or storage shed. If you can’t move items into a covered area, make sure to secure them if they pose even the slightest threat to your home and roof.

Cover your windows

It doesn’t take huge hailstones to make chips or cracks in your windows, and many homeowners are surprised by the damage seemingly small hailstones can do. Storm shutters will protect window glass from shattering, so they can be a good investment in areas with lots of heavy spring storms. You can also use plywood to cover your windows, and close interior curtains and blinds to prevent wind from blowing glass in if hail does break or shatter your windows. If you’re getting ready to replace your windows in the near future, consider buying models that are wind and impact resistant.

3. Check Your Insurance

Finally, we strongly recommend that you find out what your insurance covers and how much your deductible will be before hail season starts, so you don’t have any unexpected surprises.

Review your deductibles so you know exactly how much you will be out of pocket in the event of hail damage. Remember that insurance deductibles for hail storms are different than deductibles for other types of claims, such as fire or theft. Rather than charging a flat amount, most insurers charge a percentage of the home’s insured value as the deductible. This can range from 2% all the way up to 5% of the insured value of your home: for a home with an insured value of $200,000 and a 3% deductible the homeowner will pay $6,000, which is a pretty large sum of money out of pocket before your insurance company pays out after a storm!

As we enter hail season here in Texas, we hope you take the time to protect your home from damage! If you need a roof inspection, please give us a call – and if you’ve been hit by a hail storm, check out our next blog post: What To Do About Hail Damage On Your Roof.