INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE
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NEW YORK, April 14, 2009 — A swath of severe weather moved across the South this week bringing torrential rain, flooding and hail. Hail is often overlooked as an insurance concern, but even small hailstones can shatter windows, smash roofs, leave pockmarks in siding and cause thousands of dollars in damage to your property, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
“Hailstorms, which caused almost $2 billion in damage in the U.S. in 2008, are covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy," said Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I. “Hail is also covered under your auto policy, provided you have comprehensive coverage."
Some companies have special deductibles in hail prone areas, which help keep insurance premiums at affordable levels. Percentage deductibles typically vary from one percent of a home’s insured value to five percent. The amount that the homeowner will pay depends on the home’s insured value and the “trigger" selected by the insurance company, which determines under what circumstances the deductible applies. In many states, policyholders have the option of paying a higher premium in return for a traditional dollar deductible.
Hailstorms can occur at anytime, but are most common in the spring and summer. Hailstorms occur most often in the high altitude areas east of the Rocky Mountains and in the Great Plains where millions of dollars in crops are destroyed each year. The hail belt includes Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri—Kansas experiences more hail damage than any other state.
Most hailstones are small, usually less than two inches in diameter. The largest hailstone ever recorded fell on June 23, 2003 in Aurora, Nebraska and had a diameter of 7.0 inches and weighed just less than 1 pound. The heaviest hailstone fell in Coffeeville, Kansas on September 3, 1970 and weighed 1.67 pounds.
If your property has been damaged and you must file a claim, the I.I.I. suggests the following steps to speed the claims process:
1. Protect your property from further damage
2. File your claim
3. Select a repair company
For more information about protecting your property from hail, go to the Institute for Business & Home Safety web site www.DisasterSafety.org.
For more information about insurance, go to the I.I.I. Web site.
For related video, go to Protecting Your Roof from Hail.
Reporters who would like a DVC Pro or Beta hard copy of the b-roll footage, please contact: Susan Stolov at 301-728-1978 or SusanStolov@WashingtonIndependentProductions.com.
The I.I.I. is a nonprofit, communications organization supported by the insurance industry.