Wind and Hail Coverage and Preparedness
Thunder and Lightning Bring Wind and Hail
From hurricanes to tornadoes, severe storms usually bring wind and hail with them. Sometimes, wind and hail can cause more damage than the storm itself! In fact, winds of at least 58 mph and hail at least 3/4 of an inch thick are defining characteristics of severe storms.1 And, straight-line winds can reach 100 mph. They're powerful enough to uproot trees and cause considerable damage to buildings, especially your home.
Strong winds carry hail, too. Hail traveling at such high speeds is a nightmare for your car and roof. In fact, each year hail causes at least $1 billion in damage.2 We've compiled a list of things to help you get ready for the next severe storm and everything that comes with it.
First Things First – Fortify Your Home, Protect Your Family
Prepare yourself and your family. If you or your family is in an area that received a severe thunderstorm warning, and you know wind and hail might strike, stay away from windows and doors, and keep a TV or radio nearby for updates on changing conditions. If possible, wait out the storm in the basement. Visit our Wind and Hail Safety Action Guide for more immediate information.
Move vehicles into your garage. If severe weather is in the forecast, move your vehicles into your garage or under an awning. Weather conditions can change quickly, so take this step when a thunderstorm watch is announced to protect your vehicle from damaging hail or wind-blown debris.
Reinforce your roof covering. The pressure on roofs and tall walls is especially critical. Most housing contractors agree that substandard roofing leads to more extensive losses. Think about investing in top-quality roofing and a stronger grade of shingles to fortify your roof, and better protect those beneath it.
Strengthen windows and doors. Most houses are built to withstand 90 mph winds, the speed generally seen in weak tornadoes. But, outside openings are particularly vulnerable to damage. If you're able, consider making some investments to strengthen windows and doors with double-pane glass. While this may not be possible for all homeowners, bear in mind that the stronger the structure, the more safe you – and your family – will be.
Hail is tricky. It doesn't fall in a uniform pattern. One house might experience damage and the one right next door might not. And, hail damage isn't always immediately apparent to the naked eye, so how do you know when to take action? If your home was struck by large hail during a recent severe storm, give us a call and we can have a professional inspector take a look. Golf ball-sized hail can "bruise" your roof in just a matter of minutes, and even if the shingles don't show obvious signs of damage, the integrity of the shingle could have been compromised. The inspector can determine if and how many shingles need to be replaced.
Understand Your Coverage
Get the right policies. If your home is severely damaged by straight-line winds, you want to be sure your coverage is sufficient for the reconstruction cost of your home from the interior to the exterior, foundation to the roof, and all of your possessions. Additionally, you want to be comfortable with the comprehensive deductible on your auto policy if you need to repair hail damage to your vehicle. If you want to review your coverage or think you need to make adjustments to an existing policy, give us a call. We're here to help.
In Case Disaster Strikes
Give us a call. Touch base with us as soon as you can, and have your policy number ready if possible. We can initiate a claim, explain your available coverage, and provide recommendations and solutions for cleaning up and repairing your home and vehicle.
Take pictures – before and after. Photographic evidence of your home and the valuables in it helps us better help you in the event of a loss. Long before damage occurs, take pictures of your home – from the outside and some of each room. Ideally, you would store copies of these photos in a location other than your home. (Uploading them to a free online photo storage site is an easy solution.) If you do experience a loss, take detailed photos right away. That way, you can provide before and after photos of damage, which gives us a basis for comparison and a more thorough understanding of the scale of the damage.
Save receipts. If you can't live in your home because the wind or hail damage is extensive, you may file a claim for additional living expenses. These are expenses beyond what you would normally incur – things like charges to stay at a reasonably priced hotel, half the costs of meals, and even pet boarding fees. Save all receipts for the purposes of reimbursement at a later date.
Wind and hail are unpredictable and dangerous. Don't wait until it's too late. Plan ahead today to protect your home tomorrow.