Preventing Hail Damage: What You Need to Know
Hailstorms are often overlooked when imagining a "catastrophic" weather event — that is unless you've experienced extensive hail damage to your home or vehicle. It's an all too common occurrence living in Colorado, situated in the heart of "hail alley" — the area known for the most frequent hail events in the U.S.
From 2017-2019, Colorado ranked second in the nation for the highest number of hail loss claims, according to the Insurance Information Institution (Texas taking the #1 spot). That translates to more than $5 BILLION in hail damage losses suffered by Colorado property owners in the last 10 years according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
Costly as it is, preventing hail damage should be on your mind all season long — from mid-April through August in Colorado. Protecting your home, car, and other property from hail damage is never a guarantee, but there are steps you can take when severe storms are in the forecast.
Prepare Your Roof
Unsurprisingly, your roof is taking the brunt of the impact when hail strikes. Low quality materials, existing flaws and defects cause problems all by themselves, but those problems quickly become serious issues when hail damage is added to the equation. Broken shingles, old or damaged skylights, leaks, etc. will only worsen during a hailstorm, and lead to even more costly restoration projects. Prevention starts with annual or even bi-annual roof inspections to make sure your roof is up to the task — and don't wait to have a professional address any and all issues as soon as they arise. With your roof as prepared as can be, make sure to prevent any overhead branches, etc. from breaking loose and falling on your roof by trimming or removing them all together.
Like your roof, skylights take a beating when it's raining cats and dogs. Old, domed plastic skylights are much more susceptible to severe hail damage, leaving the inside of your home vulnerable to costly damage as well. Inspecting your skylights for damage at the same time as your roof is a great preventative measure — ensuring all seals are tight, and the window material is free from chips and cracks. Damaged or not, older glass and plastic (often domed) skylights should be replaced as soon as possible. Safer, more advanced skylight technology, like VELUX Skylights' Clean, Quiet, Safe® glass, make future skylight replacements less of a concern, designed to withstand the elements year after year no matter what the forecast has in store.
Preventing hail damage to vehicles, patio furniture, gardens, and other property is bit more of a guessing game — hailstorms can strike without a moment's notice. The best way to prevent hail damage to your vehicles is to keep them parked in a garage, carport, parking garage or other overhead covering. If no covered parking is available, consider purchasing a manufactured covering designed for hail protection, or make your own using cardboard, blankets, or even pool noodles! Make sure whatever covering you use is secure enough to stay in place in the high winds usually associated with hailstorms.
Specialized hail covers are often available for grills, patio furniture, etc. as well, or you can just move them to a garage or under a protective covering to ride out the storm. As for your flower and garden beds, installing a basic frame made of wood, metal or PVC when planting will allow you to pop a protective cover on and off as needed to keep your plants from getting shredded.
Colorado's Front Range is located in the heart of "Hail Alley," which receives the highest frequency of large hail in North America and most of the world. (RMIIA)
Hail damage in Colorado is commonplace, no matter how many preventative measures you may take. As a matter of fact, up to 50% of your homeowners insurance goes to cover hail and wind damage costs, according to RMIIA. Make sure you know all the ins and outs of your homeowners insurance policy BEFORE you need to file a claim. And while most comprehensive auto-insurance policies include coverage for hail damage, liability holders may consider adding some to your policy if available — even the slightest hail damage can total a vehicle!
Lastly, keep copies of any/all warranties you've received on your roof, windows, skylights, etc. to avoid paying for something you shouldn't have to.
Hail damage is commonplace in Colorado, costing an average of $500 Million in losses each year. Protecting your home and property from severe hail damage isn't an exact science, but keeping your roof in shape, replacing your skylights, and coverage, coverage, coverage, will help you weather the season.