“I grew up in Texas, but that was (long) ago. Last year (2016) in Fort Worth, they had hail the size of softballs. We’re seeing more and more powerful storms, of all types, almost on a biblical level,” Late Actor Bill Paxton (“Twister”)
Ice fell from the sky above Vivian, S.D., without warning and mercy on July 23, 2010. Dropping fast and furious with deep, damaging impact, giant hailstones measuring a U.S. record eight inches in diameter and weighing nearly two pounds indented everything in their path.
If Midwestern Americans have learned anything from Mother Nature over the years, it’s that hail has the same cold heart as tornadoes. As Iowa reaches peak spring storm season, the threat of damaging hail lurks in many severe thunderstorm warnings.
As the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) notes with a scary price tag, hail causes $1 billion in property and crop damage each year. Events involving wind, hail or flood accounted for $29.7 billion in insured catastrophe losses from 1996-2016. Not even Bill Gates can afford that type of loss.
The trouble is America’s increasingly unpredictable, hard to forecast weather. Case in point: NOAA counted 5,601 major hail storms in 2016 alone resulting in $3.5 billion in property and crop damage. The year marked the U.S.’s worst year for hail damage since 2010.
This spring’s storm surge naturally has many Iowa home and car owners on edge. According to State Farm, the Hawkeye State has the eighth most reported wind/hail losses in the nation since 2014.
Alas, unless you’re Nostradamus, it’s literally impossible to know when and where hail will fall. The good news: It’s easy to best protect yourself against hail’s unpredictable fury by following these ace tips from Esurance on how to safe guard your home and property from hail damage.
Invest in Hail-Resistant Roofing
Your home’s first line of defense against severe weather takes a beating during hail storms. Invest in impact-resistant materials for your roof before hail strikes. Trust us, they will pay for themselves in the long run. Modified asphalt shingles, which boast rubber-like qualities, are affordable and resistant to extreme weather. Other hail-resistant roofing materials include resin, plastic, aluminum and copper. Be sure to get quotes on various shingle types from your contractor.
The long-term payoff from investing in a hail-resistant roof: A long-term extension in the life of your roof and a great reduction in the change of needing to file a hail claim on your homeowners policy. Another bonus: Many insurance companies offer discounts for homeowners who maintain weather-resistant roofs.
Get Shelter from The Storm
Hail tears through unprotected windows like a knife through butter, chipping, cracking and pummeling them with gaping holes. Storm shutters intercept hail before they can wreak havoc on your windows. Accordion and awning shutters are two of the best shutters at shielding glass. There’s no better barrier to put between hail and your windows.
Safeguard Your Lawn Furniture
Lawn furniture and fixtures are sitting ducks for hail pellets to target. From umbrellas and glass tabletops to wooden benches and beyond, lawn furniture is hail’s No. 1 target. To avoid any potential wrath from high winds and hail, bring your lawn furniture under a covered space like your garage, storage shed or back porch at the first hint of dangerous rain. In worst case scenarios, homeowner insurance policies do cover your personal property if needs replacement from hail’s fury.
Get Smart, Secure Insurance
You don’t have to break your savings bank to keep your home safe if hail comes knocking with the grace of a hungry bear knocking on your door looking for honey. Shop insurance companies to find the best, most comprehensive and affordable policy for you and your family.
Hail hath no mercy when it rains down on unprepared homeowners and their property. Make sure you’re ready for whenever one of Mother Nature’s most unpredictable elements falls fast from the sky on your home and property.