Assessing Hail Damage: 5 Tips for the Average Joe

Hailstorms can be a pretty cool thing to experience unless, of course, you happen to be stuck outside when it starts coming down. Ouch!

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, hail forms “when raindrops are carried upward by thunderstorm updrafts into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere and freeze”. Once it is heavier than the updraft can support, it falls to the ground. Wind can even carry it at an angle or sideways!

While watching a hailstorm can be exciting, this weather phenomenon can also cause major damage. The size of the hail and the way it falls to the ground are both factors in just how much damage it causes. Hail can range from “pea size” – between ¼ and ½ inch – to several inches in diameter! In fact, the largest recorded hailstone was in Vivian, South Dakota on June 23, 2010. It was a whopping 8 inches wide and weighed almost 2 pounds!

Large hail can damage a roof and it is often difficult to see without a professional assessment. But there are many ways the average person can check for hail damage after a storm. Here are a few tips:

  • Wait until the storm has passed before heading outside to check for damage
  • Wear appropriate clothing/shoes to walk the property – piles of hail can be very slick
  • Look at structures on the ground – HVAC units, cars, fences, deck, etc. – if there is visible hail damage (dings, dents, cracks), chances are your roof will also be affected
  • Check your downspouts for black granules or torn pieces of shingles that may have been pushed from the roof through your gutters
  • Take photos of your findings so you can provide the information to your insurance adjuster

Assessing damage after a storm can be safely done from the ground, but you may still be left wondering exactly how a hailstorm impacted your roof. WeatherCheck can help! Simply enter your home address into our system and you can receive alerts about the potential for property damage after a storm. A WeatherCheck Report alerts you when there is a 90% or greater chance that your property has been damaged and gives you the details you need to file an insurance claim with confidence. So, put away your ladder – with our simple and free tool, WeatherCheck takes the guesswork out and keeps you safe.

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  1. National Severe Storms Laboratory – Severe Weather 101-Hail http://nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/hail
  2. Weather Extremes: World’s Largest Hailstones – Weather Underground – https://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/worlds-largest-hailstones.html

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