Protecting your home and car during a hailstorm

Extreme weather conditions are quickly becoming more frequent across all regions of the globe. Between wildfires, extreme heat and cold, windstorms, hurricanes, and hailstorms, Branch wants to be sure you have the information you need so you’re aware of how to stay safe and mitigate damage.

Fall through winter often correlates with high winds and hail for many, which can be extremely costly for those who are unprepared. Hail can have a massive impact on cars and homes, including dents in your roofs as well as your wallet, given the risk of long-term damage, high repair costs, and ongoing maintenance. In 2022, the US experienced over 4000 incidents of hailstorms that had hail larger than one inch in diameter, resulting in over 6.2M damaged properties and over $14B in losses. 

Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk and protect you and your home.

Frequently asked questions about hailstorms

  • Can I go out during a hailstorm? 
    We recommend staying indoors until the storm is over. On average, hail can reach up to four inches in length, making it dangerous and hazardous to be out during a storm. 

  • Will my car be safe in a hailstorm? 
    Hail will likely dent your car and may damage your lights and/or side mirrors. We recommend keeping it covered or in a garage or carport, if possible.

  • How can I prevent hail from damaging my home? 
    Storm shutters, roofing, and shingles that have a UL2218 Class 4 Impact Rating can protect against harsh winds and hail from damaging your home and breaking your windows. This class can also be applied to metal roofing or traditional roofing material.

  • Does home insurance cover hail damage? 
    For the most part, home insurance does cover hail damage, but insurance companies may make a distinction between functional repairs and cosmetic repairs required. We recommend reviewing your policy, especially if you live in a high-risk state. Some policies may also have a hail or wind deductible that could increase your financial obligation before insurance pays out.

  • Does home insurance cover wind damage? 
    Many home insurance policies include a wind insurance deductible that must be met before the policy pays out. Review your policy to be sure you have the right coverage.

  • Does my auto insurance cover hail damage to my car? 
    Comprehensive auto insurance coverage usually includes hail damage

What should I do before a hail storm?

If you know a hailstorm is coming or if your area is susceptible to hailstorms (looking at you, Texas), taking preventative measures can minimize the damage done to your car or home. There are short and long term measures to consider investing in to add protection. 

Short term

  1. Shelter your car: Even with protective materials on your car, you’re better off keeping it in a garage, if possible, as high-speed winds can also send larger objects flying towards your car.

  2. Lock and close windows: Prevent water from leaking inside by securing all windows. Because hailstorms often bring high-speed winds, you want to make sure no water enters your house via any open windows.

  3. Secure outdoor objects: Bring objects or furniture indoors or fasten items to keep them from hitting your home, getting carried away by wind, or being damaged by hail.

Long term 

  1. Protect your roof: If hail storms are common in your area, consider installing impact-resistant roofing or hail-resistant roofing products that have earned a Class 4 designation. These provide the most resistance to hail and other extreme weather.

  2. Design a safe yard: Work with a landscaper to design weather-resistant landscapes that can slow down winds as they reach your home, preventing hail and other objects from reaching your windows or the sides of your home. These often include having a mix of large and small shrubs and trees.

  3. Install storm shutters: Installing storm shutters on your windows can prevent them from shattering—a major risk during a hailstorm.

What should I do during a hailstorm?

If you’re in your home… stay there. Given how large hail can get, you’re much better off staying indoors to avoid any risk of injury. Stay away from windows in case of shattering.

If you’re driving… look for an enclosed area as soon as possible. If your windows shatter, call a tow truck and find shelter nearby. Stay away from power lines or other electrical hazards. Avoid driving during a hailstorm, if possible.

What should I do after a hailstorm?

Once the storm clears, assess the damage to your car, roof, windows, and your backyard. If there’s something that requires immediate attention, like broken windows, be sure to get photos of any damage before making emergency repairs.. As you repair or replace damaged property, keep your receipts to relay what you’ve spent to your insurance company. Keep records of any relevant communications. Reach out to your insurance provider to ensure you're covered in case of a hailstorm. 

After attending to any emergencies, file your claim so you can restore your property quickly. We also encourage you to check in on your neighbors and community. And as a member, we’re always here to answer questions and help in any way that we can.