Understanding the effects of hailstorms on your home

There were 6,045 major hail storms in 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Severe Storms database. In recent years, hailstorms have grown more destructive, causing costly damages and an increase in insurance claims. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety expected 2017 to be the 11th year in a row in which the damage from severe storms exceeds $10 billion in the United States, with 70% of that cost resulting from hail damage.


Hitting home

Hailstones can be destructive to homes with damage varying greatly depending on the size and speed at which they fall. In fact, damage from hail is among the top homeowners claims each year, with approximately one in 35 homes reporting a claim.

Hailstorms can cause dents in aluminum siding, shingles and gutters or even crack vinyl siding, asphalt roofs or wood shakes. One reason for an increase in claims is the increased popularity and use of vinyl siding for home exteriors. The lightweight design of vinyl siding, made to endure extreme winds, generally allows it to withstand severe weather. However, it can crack or chip when large, fast-falling hailstones hit the panels. Even light hailstorms can be damaging, to aluminum siding in particular. In 2017, there were 10.7 million properties affected by hail across the U.S.

Essentially, anything exposed to the outdoors becomes vulnerable to damage during a storm, but there are a few ways to be prepared for when hail does start to fall.

  • Inspect and maintain your roof regularly. Do not neglect minor defects that may make your roof more susceptible to damage.
  • Consider an impact-resistant roof, with more durable shingles for protection.
  • Maintain trees and shrubbery around your home as hail can cause limbs and even some trees to fall on your vehicle or house.
  • Properly maintain your yard by storing decorations and furniture to avoid blowing debris during harsh winds.

Hailstorms are inevitable, so it’s important to know how to protect yourself during a storm and ways to detect the damaging effects of hail to your property.


How to detect damage

There are ways to assess your home for damages after a hailstorm to determine whether to file a claim. When it is safe to go outside, look for the following indicators that your home may have sustained damage:

  • Dented gutters and downspouts.
  • Dents, dings, buckling, warping and other signs of impact to siding and windowsills
  • Significant or uneven gaps across or between layers of siding.
  • Property damage surrounding your house, including your shed, deck, patio cover and vehicles.

Should you suspect damage, contact a professional to do the assessment. The inspector will look for impact to roof, roof vents, chimneys, sky lights, siding and outbuildings. The assessment should be able to help you determine whether there is enough damage to make a claim to avoid costly damages.

Hail claims tend to spike in the spring and summer, dramatically increasing claims from April to June, making hail the second primary factor driving overall loss cost during these months. Hailstorms are becoming more prevalent and the results are more and more expensive because of larger homes being built, more homes being built in vulnerable places, and the rising cost of roofing materials.

Hailstorms have grown more destructive in recent years, making it even more important to have the proper protection in place to help avoid costly damages.


Coverage to consider

The Hanover offers broad home insurance, including the ability to purchase full siding and roof coverage, and resources to help you understand your coverage options.

Full siding and roof coverage covers the cost of replacing the entirety of siding or roofing when similar materials to be used for replacement are no longer available. It helps you keep a uniform look to your home’s exterior, rather than replacing individual siding panels or pieces of your roof.

If more than one piece of property is damaged, waiver of deductible coverage is available, which allows you to pay only the highest deductible involved in your overall claim.

Talk with your independent insurance agent to ensure you’ll be protected if damages occur to your property.

Insurance Information Institute: Hail damage to propertyFacts and Statistics
National Severe Storms Laboratory
Washington Post
Property Casualty 360
Insurance Journal

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC 2018-503