Helpful Tips for Handling Hail Damage

hail damage repairThere are approximately 3,000 hailstorms each year in the Unites States, and the fast-moving high-energy thunderstorm systems common in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin are perfect for producing hail. So, how should we handle hail? Here are some tips for dealing with hail when it impacts your home, business or vehicle. It goes without saying that there's no substitute for a garage when it comes to protecting your car. If you don't have access to one, a car cover is the next best thing. A conventional car cover may only be a millimeter or two thick. Still, this layer might make a crucial difference with pea-sized and other small hail. There are car covers available online and at auto parts stores which are guaranteed to protect against hail; these are expensive (at least $300 and usually higher) but may be worth it if they save you from paying a deductible. Avoid parking under trees if heavy weather is expected; the minimal protection they provide isn't worth the risk of a branch falling on your car. Be sure to examine the attic and other roof-adjacent spaces of your home or business. Look for wood that is swollen, delaminating or otherwise water damaged. If these under layers are weak, hail can do immense damage or even punch through to the interior instead of simply bouncing off your shingles. And holes in the roof mean water spreading into the living/working space. Replacing or shoring up some wood now can prevent thousands of dollars in repairs later. Speaking of shingles, when installing a new roof, consider using shingles that have been rated Class 3 or 4; these are the highest ratings for impact resistance. For example, Class 4 shingles can survive two hits from 2 inch steel balls traveling 90 miles per hour without cracking. Keep the trees near your house well trimmed. Wind or the weight and impact of hail can send branches flying. Find an indoor storage location for any yard equipment that may be ruined by hail or become a projectile in high winds. Lastly, storm shutters are an ideal way to avoid hail damage to your windows – and they're attractive, too.

Riding it out

If you receive a warning that hail is approaching, the most important thing to do is stay inside and away from windows. Monitor local TV or radio stations for the latest weather conditions, and don't go outside until the storm has passed completely by you.

After the storm

Check inside your home or business for water leaks or broken glass, and then move outside. Be extremely careful of your footing, since you're dealing with ice balls scattered everywhere! Inspect the outside of your home or business, taking photos of damage as you go. Look for pieces of shingles in your yard or driveway, dents in siding and on air conditioning units. One of the best indicators of roof damage is harm to attached structures like gutters and vents. On roofs with asphalt shingles, damage to the roof itself will show up as craters in the shingle, cracks or even “nicks” taken out of the edge. If your car has no obvious damage, look at the flatter surfaces of the body from a low angle; this should reveal any dents. Sweep hail away from foundations so you won't have water pooling against the building when it melts. If you've found any damage or leakage, contact your insurance carrier and your disaster restoration company immediately. The more quickly repair specialists can act, the less total damage and cost there will be. Because hail damage often means water damage, it may be helpful to review our advice on dealing with your insurer after water damage. Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


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