What to Do During a Hailstorm

The Definitive Guide to Protecting Your Home and Car

Extreme weather conditions are quickly becoming more frequent across all regions of the globe. Between wildfires, extreme heat and cold, windstorms, hurricanes, and hailstorms, you’ll want to know how to stay safe and prevent your home from being damaged. In some regions, hailstorms can be quite common, depending on the season — How do you stay safe during a hailstorm? That’s what we’ll cover here.

For many on the east coast, the fall to winter season often correlates with high winds and hail, which can be extremely costly for anyone who’s unprepared for falling hail. Hail can do quite a number on cars and homes, denting your roofs and your wallet given the risk of long-term damage, high repair costs, and ongoing maintenance.

In 2020, the US experienced over 4,000 incidents of hailstorms that had hail larger than one inch in diameter with Texas, South Dakota, and Kansas being most at risk. That same year, over 6.2M properties experienced damage due to hail storms resulting in over $14B in losses. You don’t want to get stuck with that bill.

Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of exposing yourself to hail damage with some preventative measures and by taking action quickly during a hailstorm. Here’s some tips on what to do during, before, and after a hailstorm so you can recover quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hailstorms

  • Can I go out during a hailstorm? On average, hail can reach up to 4 inches in length, making it very dangerous and hazardous to be out during a storm. We recommend staying indoors as long as possible until the storm is over.
  • Will my car be safe in a hailstorm? Unless you have specific protection, hail will likely dent your car and may damage your lights and side mirrors. We recommend keeping it covered or in a garage if possible.
  • How can I prevent hail from damaging my home? Storm shutters and roofing and/shingles that have a UL2218 Class 4 Impact Rating can help prevent harsh winds and hail from damaging your home and breaking your windows. This class can be applied to metal roofing or traditional roofing material. Any gaps or holes in your home may also lead to further damage.
  • 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 due to hail damage. We recommend taking a look at your policy, especially if you live in a high-risk state. Some policies may also have a hail or wind deductible that would 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. Double check your policy just to make sure.
  • Does my auto insurance cover hail damage to my car? For the most part, auto insurance can cover hail damage but it may cost extra as only comprehensive coverage offers hail damage coverage.

What should I do before a hail storm?

If you know a hailstorm is coming or know whether your area is susceptible to hailstorms (we’re looking at you, Texas), taking preventative measures will minimize the damage done to your car or home. Short term measures are best when the hailstorm is days (or hours) away and you can make a home project of some long-term steps that can pay off for years to come.

Short-term steps to take before a hail storm

If a hail storm is coming, prioritize doing the following:

  • Bring or keep your car indoors: Even with protective materials on your car, you’re better off keeping it away from the hailstorm, as high-speed winds can send larger objects flying towards your car.
  • Lock and close all windows to prevent water from leaking: Because hailstorms often bring high-speed winds, you want to make sure no water enters your house via any open windows.
  • Inspect the house for any holes: Most hailstorms are preceded or followed by rain. If you haven’t plugged in any gaps, this can lead to unexpected water damage in the coming weeks.
  • Bring in outdoor or backyard objects or fasten them down: This will prevent your objects from being damaged by hail, hitting your house, or getting carried away by the wind.

Long term steps to take before a hail storm

Longer-term preventative measures can help keep your property secure. If hail storms are a likely occurrence in your area, you can install 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.

You can also 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 and the sides of your home. These often include having a mix of large and small shrubs and trees so it’s important to start sooner than later (and it’s never a bad idea to start landscaping).

Lastly, installing storm shutters on your windows can prevent them from shattering, which is a real risk during a hailstorm.

What should I do during a hailstorm?

If you’re in your house, stay there. Given how large hail can get, you’re much better off staying indoors, especially as flying objects can lead to injury. Make sure you’re staying away from windows as they can shatter and put you at risk.

If you’re driving, look for an enclosed area as soon as possible. If your window shatters , call a tow truck and find shelter nearby. Stay away from any power lines or other electrical hazards and avoid driving if at all possible during a hailstorm.

What should I do after a hailstorm?

Once the storm clears, you should assess the damage done to your car, the roof, the windows, and your backyard. If there’s something that requires immediate attention, like broken windows, make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to keep your house safe and take photos of any damage.

As you take steps to repair or replace damaged property, don’t forget to keep your receipts so your insurance company has the support for what you’ve spent. It would also help to keep records of any relevant communications to preserve the details. This is the kind of mistake you can’t come back from so set a reminder if you’re prone to forgetting!

After taking care of any emergencies, file your claim so you restore your property to its pre-loss condition quickly. We also encourage you to check in on your neighbors and community to see how they’re doing as well.

Being proactive is often your best bet

Being proactive and taking precautionary measures, if you’re in a high-risk area for hail storms, will save you time, effort, and money. Even if your area isn’t prone to hail storms, many of the preventative measures can also help you out during other extreme weather events such as heavy rainstorms, windstorms, and more.

You should also reach out to your insurance providers just to make sure you're covered in case of a hailstorm. 

If you’re considering switching home or auto insurance or just want to make sure you have the right coverage (for the right price), check out Branch to see if it’s right for you.

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