Spring Thunderstorms Usher In Hail Season


Ice Balls Can Be Dangerous and Expensive, Says I.I.I.

Contact: Press Offices 
New York: 212-346-5500; media@iii.org 
Washington, D.C.: 202-833-1580 

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

  • If you find signs that hail has battered your property, take immediate steps to protect it from further damage.
  • Cover any broken windows and holes in your roof so that no water can enter and damage your home’s interior.
  • Cover any broken windows in your car to prevent damage to the interior from rain and remove glass from the car’s interior to prevent cuts and damage to upholstery and carpeting.

2. File your claim

  • Call your agent or insurance company as soon as possible and be prepared to give a description of the damage. Take photos of damaged areas. These will help you and your adjuster to expedite the claims process.
  • Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

3. Select a repair company

  • After an insurance adjuster has surveyed the hail damage to your property, select a reputable roofing company or auto body shop to make repairs.
  • Allow only the insurance adjuster and roofer you have selected to get up on your roof. Each time someone walks on it, more damage can occur.
  • Be wary of out-of-town roofers who move into an area and set up shop immediately following a storm. While most of these firms are reputable, some collect money from homeowners and move on to the next storm site leaving work unfinished or without paying suppliers. This can leave homeowners holding the bag for those additional costs. It is a good idea to select a company with established credibility and local references. Word of mouth is still your best guide.
  • Be sure roofers have workers compensation and liability insurance. If they do not, you may be held liable if one of the workers is injured on your property or if they damage a neighbor’s property.
  • Do not make final payment to the roofing company until your roof has been inspected and you are satisfied.

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.

Back to top