Spring and summer bring wonderful warm (sometimes hot) weather. With that warmer weather, the potential for thunder and hail storms increases. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the U.S. saw more than 5,450 hail related weather events in 2013. While thunderstorms may rattle your windows a bit, hail can do serious damage to your home and vehicles. There are a few ways you can prepare and protect yourself, your home and vehicles before a hail storm hits.
Hail Preparation in West Virginia:
- What the hail: As defined from weather.com, hail is “Hail is precipitation in the form of a chunk of ice that can fall from a cumulonimbus cloud. Usually associated with multicell, supercell and cold front induced squall line thunderstorms, most hail falls from the central region of a cloud in a severe storm.“ Hail can range from small marble-sized pellets to the size of a softball. While hailstorms may come with little-to-no warning, being prepared ahead of time is the best defense against hailstorm.
- Prepare your home: Your home is a large target for hail. Roofs can be severely damaged and if they are not in good repair, large enough hail could leave holes. Making sure that your roof is in good repair and all shingles/tiles are in place. This may help mitigate the damage to the roof should a large hailstorm sweep through your area. Windows are also at risk for damage. Hail (even small hail) can crack or shatter windows. Having storm shutters (or even regular shutters) help protect windows from large hail damage. A homeowner’s insurance policy with may cover the damage from hailstorms, however you should check with your insurance agent for limitations.
- Preparing your vehicle: Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to protect your vehicles (RVs, cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc) from hail damage. Damage to vehicles can range from small dents and dings to shattered windshields. The only real remedy is parking them undercover in a garage or carport. You can help reduce the cost of repair damage should your vehicle get dented in hailstorm with an auto insurance policy with comprehensive coverage. Your standard liability-only policy will not cover damage associated with hail damage. Of course, limitations and deductibles may apply.
- Next steps: If your home or vehicle is damaged during a hailstorm, there are a few things that you should do.
- Take photos of the damage.
- Report the claim to your insurance carrier.
- Temporarily mitigate your damages (cover the damage with a tarp, etc.). Your insurance carrier should follow up quickly and often can provide you with recommendations for contractors and auto repair shops.
While large hailstorms are not a common occurrence in West Virginia, it is always good to be prepared. Ask the insurance experts at Wickline Insurance if your home and auto policy carry comprehensive coverage that can help protect you from inclement weather including coverage for hail damage. You can visit their insurance website 24/7 and your Wickline agent in Beckley, WV can also assist you with adding additional insurance policies like flood or personal umbrella.