What Can I Do to Prepare My Home for a Hailstorm?
About 3,000 hailstorms occur annually across the United States, and while these storms are not as severe as tornadoes or floods, hail can cost homeowners large sums in property damage. If you live in an area where hail occurs frequently, it's good to be prepared for the worst-case scenario — and know what to do after the damage is done. Use this helpful guide to protect your property and reduce the effects of hail.
Prevention and Preparation
While you really can't prevent hail from causing damage, you can lessen its impact on your home.Trim trees regularly
Hail can easily crack branches and cause them to fall on your home during a storm. Remove obvious branches that could land on the roof (no matter how strong), as well as weak branches already cracking.Repair roof damage
Before storms even occur, inspect your roof for damage and repair issues right away. Even problems that seem minor right now, like a broken shingle, can make your roof more vulnerable in a hailstorm.Store large outdoor furniture and accessories in enclosed space
Large patio furniture and even some outdoor decor can damage your home's exterior if the wind picks up. Store items like these in an enclosed space. Along with protecting your car, shelter also protects your favorite outdoor belongings.Close drapes
Hail can hit your windows and cause the glass to break. If it does, it's important you have your drapes closed to block some of the debris the wind carries into your home. The thicker the drapes, the better.Buy hail damage insurance
Most homeowner insurance policies do not cover hail damage. To limit financial trouble after hail damage, invest a small sum into insurance that will cover the majority of repair costs.
Assessment After the Storm
After a hailstorm has occurred, assess the damage and document what you find so you can better report it to your insurance company.Take photos
If you plan on filing an insurance claim, you'll need proof hail has damaged your home. Document everything using a camera, and be sure to capture every part of the home that was affected. It might be beneficial to also have a roofing contractor come out and provide a professional opinion regarding how much repairs will cost. This will help you calculate an accurate cost for overall damage.Notify insurance agent immediately
After documenting damage, notify your insurance agent and follow your insurance company's procedure for filing a claim. The longer you wait to file a claim, the harder it will be to prove hail caused the damage.Keep receipts
When making repairs, always keep receipts. You may need to show these to your insurance company as proof of damage costs. If it helps, store receipts in a folder in a secure location. This way, you're less likely to throw the papers out by accident.
Hailstorms can cause serious damage when the conditions are right and your home's not protected. Follow these steps to prepare your home for a storm and to reduce damage costs.