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Hail and your insurance

A guide to protecting your home and vehicles

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Summertime brings with it hot weather, long days, delicious BBQs with friends and…fierce thunderstorms and ice plummeting from the sky toward your unsuspecting roof. In the U.S., hailstorms usually occur during the months of May to August — with activity peaking in June.

Damage from hail to roofs, cars and crops can be very expensive. It is estimated that hail causes between $8 - 15 billion dollars in damages each year, a number that has increased dramatically in the last decades in part because of population growth in hail-prone areas. In 2020, 6.2 million properties experienced one or more hail events, resulting in $14.2 billion in losses. 

Hail can fall anywhere in the country but is most common in the Central and Southern Plains states as in the summer months cool dry air from Canada collides with warm, moist air from the Gulf to create hail-producing thunderstorms. This area is known as “hail alley.” The states with the most major hail events in 2021 were Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Oklahoma.

If you live in an area where hail is common, it’s good to be aware of what coverage you may need. In this article we’re sharing everything you need to know about hail and your insurance.

Did you know?

The terminology to describe hail is actually officially documented by the National Weather Service? Pea-sized hail is .25 inch in diameter, golf ball hail is 1.75 inches and softball hail is 4 inches.

Does my home insurance cover hail damage?

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Most home insurance policies do protect against hail as a peril. Damage to the structure of your home caused directly by hail or as a result (such as interior flooding due to roof damage). Read your policy to understand what coverage and exclusions you have. Many home insurance policies will cover the replacement cost (after the deductible, of course) of say, a new roof. However, others will limit it to the actual cash value if the roof is over a certain age.

Another reason to read your policy carefully? In several states where hailstorms are common hail damage may be partially or completely excluded from coverage. In those cases, you will need to add coverage as a separate endorsement or even purchase an additional policy to receive coverage. In hail-prone areas, it’s also possible that your policy might include hail coverage but also require a higher deductible for it. 

 

Does my car insurance cover hail damage?

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So now you’ve taken care of your home, what about your vehicle? The best way to avoid hail damage to your vehicle is to park it in a garage or carport, but of course that’s not always possible. 

If your car does get hail damage your covered if you have comprehensive insurance. If you have a liability-only policy or collision cover your insurance company won’t reimburse you for hail damage. 

Even if you are covered for hail damage, it’s worth getting an estimate on the repairs before filing a claim. If the damage is minor (a broken windshield, say), it might be cheaper than your deductible to pay out of pocket for repairs.

What to do in the event of a hailstorm?

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The first step to filing your next hail damage claim starts before the hailstorm even hits. That is to say, now is a great time to start. Review your policy, take photos of the current condition of your home and do an inventory. Now is the time to inform your insurance company of anything you may have added, like solar panels to your roof. If your insurer has a place on their site or customer portal to upload photos, go ahead and do that. Otherwise keep them in them in a file you can easily locate. Then you’re ready for hail season.

After a hail storm hits, take photos of the aftermath before cleaning anything up. Document the date of the storm. Have a reputable roofing expert examine the damage to get an outside opinion on if it’s worth filing a claim. This step is worth doing after a hail storm even if you don’t notice any visible damage. Hail can cause damage to roofs that doesn’t necessarily appear right away but that can over time lead to issues. 

Once you’ve determined there’s significant damage to your property, file a claim with your insurance company. They will inspect and provide their own estimate of the damage. As mentioned before, you will have to pay your deductible before your insurance will pay any damages, and depending on where you live, the deductible for hail specific damage may be different than your standard deductible.

Choosing your insurance

As you review your policy in advance of hail season, while you’re checking to make sure your coverage is serving your needs, you might also want to look around and see if you could be saving money. 

Put that savings toward a hail-resistant roof and you’ll be set!

Compare insurance rates quickly and easily.

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Susan MeyerSenior Editorial Manager

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She currently specializes in producing research-focused content for The Zebra's resource center on topics related to auto and home insurance, personal finance and smarter living in the 21st century.