A Surprising “Little” Weather Hazard that Costs Billions

By State Farm, Special for  USDR

Following a long winter, most people are excited to get outside and enjoy the warm temperatures that accompany the spring season. In an ironic twist, the warm temperature brings an increased risk of ice balls falling from the sky in the form of hail. Damage to homes and cars as a result of hail cost State Farm policyholders more than $2.4 billion in 2014. Hail is one of the most frequent causes of property damage. While hail storms most frequently impact the Great Plains and Midwest, every state in the nation is susceptible.

The Top 10 States for State Farm Hail Claims (Home and Auto) in  2014

1. Texas 51,193 claims

2. Illinois 43,821 claims

3. Colorado 42,365 claims

4. Missouri 23,019 claims

5. Nebraska 21,326 claims

6. South Carolina 20,170 claims

7. Pennsylvania 19,088 claims

8. Iowa 12,869 claims

9. South Dakota 12,367 claims

10. Kansas 11,562 claims

While nothing can stop hail from falling, there are ways to reduce the amount of property damage. When building or remodeling your home, consider impact resistant roofing products to reduce hail damage to the roof. Your homes’ roof is like a helmet. Just like a helmet protects a persons’ head, the roof is your homes’ first line of defense against hail damage. Shingles that are designed to withstand the bombardment of hail reduces the risk of hail damage and prolongs the life of your roof. State Farm currently offers insurance premium discounts to homeowners in many states with qualifying impactresistant roofing  products.

Protecting Your Home, Car and Family from Hail   Damage

  • Personal safety is a number one priority and if you are indoors when a hailstorm hits, stay there. Hail can shatter windows so close blinds or window shades in an attempt to reduce the amount of glass that might blow inside. Stay away from skylights and doors.
  • Good tree pruning can prevent many problems associated with a hail storm. Prompt removal of diseased, damaged, or dead plant parts helps reduce the possibility of future storm damage.
  • Plan ahead. If a storm is forecast, park your car in a garage or carport. If you don’t have a covered parking spot, consider a specially designed car cover to minimize vehicle damage.
  •  In a severe storm, avoid parking under trees as branches could fall on your vehicle.
  •  If you have to leave your car outside, cover it with a thick blanket to minimize hail’s  impact.

After the Storm –  Recovery

The period following a natural disaster can be disorienting and dangerous. Below are a few tips that may help relieve some of the uncertainty and help you stay safe, secure your property, and begin the claims process in the aftermath of a major event.

  • After a hail storm, visually inspect your home for structural damage, take pictures and if possible, move your personal belongings to prevent further damage.
  • After an insurance adjuster has surveyed the hail damage to your property, select a reputable roofing company or auto body shop to make repairs.
  •  Be wary of out-of-town roofers who move into an area and set up shop following a storm. While most of these firms are reputable, some have collected money from homeowners and moved on to the next storm site without paying suppliers or leaving work unfinished. It’s a good idea to select a company with established credibility and local references.
  • Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be completed, time schedule, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations should be detailed.
  • State Farm customers who have damage can start the claim process by contacting your agent. If you can’t reach your agent, you can report a claim by calling 800-STATEFARM (800-782-8332) or 800-SFCLAIM (800-732-5246) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or online at www.statefarm.com/claims.

About State Farm

State Farm and its affiliates is the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve over 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit w ww.statefarm.com.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.