Preparing and Reacting During a Hailstorm
Hailstorms often accompany severe thunderstorms–particularly tornadoes, which they often precede. Hailstorms can cause millions of dollars in property damage–to homes, businesses, and vehicles. Solid balls of ice falling from the sky–some as large as tennis balls–can present a serious threat to both personal property and personal safety. Knowing how to prepare and react during a hailstorm can keep you safe and help guard your property against damages. The most severe hailstorms often precede tornadoes, so maintaining awareness of the weather is the first step toward preparing yourself.
As the skies darken and hail begins to fall, you should get indoors. If you are in transit in a vehicle, pull over to the side of the road away from any trees or power lines. Hail itself can damage trees and power lines, causing them to fall if the hail is large enough. If you can get beneath an overpass or parking garage, do so. While you do not want to stay here if a tornado is imminent, temporarily finding shelter can prevent your vehicle from sustaining damage. If you are stuck out in the open, remain in the vehicle and keep clear of the windshield as the hail could break the glass and injure you.
While there isn’t too much you can do to prepare for a hailstorm other than to take shelter away from the storm, if hail is a common occurrence in your area, fortifying your home can be a good idea. Installing impact resistant roof covers can help protect your roof from the worst of the hail and minimize the inconvenience of dealing with property damages and insurance claims. If a hail storm is in the forecast or looks inevitable, you can board up windows to further prevent damages. During tornado warnings, this is a good idea anyway. If your area is spared the worst of the tornado’s fury and is only affected by high winds and hail, boarded windows can protect your home pretty well–potentially saving you thousands in repairs.
As with the risk of any storm, you should always check on your insurance coverage and understand the loss recovery process before the fact. Make sure your insurance policy covers damage resulting from hail and be prepared to get a quick tally of the costs of damages.