By Amy Howell Hirt
Hail On Ground for Home Torch Blog Banner
Hail stones can range in size from the diameter of a penny to the size of a soccer ball and can shatter windows or damage cars beyond repair. These destructive clumps of ice, which can form during any strong thunderstorm, cause approximately $1 billion in damage every year in the United States, according to the National Storm Damage Center.

While you can't seek shelter for your entire home, there are steps you can take to better protect your property from hail damage.

Be alert
If a hail-producing storm is likely, stay tuned to a local news outlet or radio station that carries National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather broadcasts. You can also find active weather alerts on NOAA's website.

Cover what you can

Stow exposed patio furniture in a garage, shed or on a covered porch, and move vehicles into a garage, carport or other covered structure. If you're on the road, look for a parking garage or even a gas station with an awning so you can pull over to protect your vehicle during the storm.

Even small hail can cause significant damage to young and tender plants, so move potted plants to a covered area. To protect a vegetable garden, place buckets, boxes or empty trash cans upside down over plants and weigh them down with bricks or other heavy items. You can protect fragile shrubbery by leaning pieces of cardboard or wood together to create a teepee, covered with a tarp anchored with bricks. Don't forget to remove the coverings after the storm passes, to prevent plants from overheating.

Assess the damage
After a hailstorm has passed, inspect your home and property right away. According to the National Storm Damage Center, many homeowners don't discover major roofing damage until years later, when it's too late to file a storm damage claim with their insurance company.

Document any damage with photos, which will be helpful if you need to file an insurance claim, and cover any holes in your home's roof, windows or siding to prevent further water damage.

Plan ahead
If you need a new roof and live in an area prone to hail, select an covering that has the UL2218 label and a class 3 or 4 rating. This indicates it has passed an impact test and was proven to be highly effective in hailstorms. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers additional roofing construction guidance.

While we can't prevent hailstorms, smart planning and a rapid response can help limit the effects of their destructive power.


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