Severe weather can strike at any time–as we saw a few weeks ago when golf ball sized hail took Massachusetts by storm in the middle of summer. If you’ve experienced a hailstorm you know that these small balls of ice are much more dangerous than they look. The rare form of precipitation is also the most dangerous, and even small sized hail can cause substantial damage to the unprepared car or home. The average hailstorm lasts about five minutes, but according to reports by the National Weather Service, hail causes upwards of a billion dollars worth of damage every year. Minimize your damages by learning the basics of protecting your car and home from hail.
Protect Your Car!
If a hailstorm is predicted, it is certainly wise to avoid driving during the peak hours of the storm. If you have to be on the road, be ready to pull over into any kind of covered parking when the hail hits—it only takes one piece to crack a windshield. Consider getting to the office a little early that day and leave your car in a covered parking garage.
If you’re in an area that is regularly at risk for hailstorms, you should buy a plastic cover for your car that you can keep in your trunk. The cost of one of these covers pales in comparison to the cost of a dented vehicle. If hail is an infrequent problem and you don’t want to purchase a formal cover, a heavy blanket or comforter will also protect your car from any dents or scratches.
Protect Your House!
The most important way to protect your home from hail is to keep your roof in tip-top shape! Make sure there are no leaks, rotting wood or exposed areas that hail could harm. A well kept roof will protect your home from any form of precipitation. If you need to redo your roof, consider using an impact-resistant material if you’re in an area that regularly deals with hail.
The size of hail will vary depending on the severity of the storm, but some pieces can be as large as grapefruits! A large enough piece of hail can easily shatter your basic home windows. Covering the window shades, drapes and blinds can help prevent the wind from blowing broken glass into your home and causing further damage or even injury.
If you have any patio or outdoor furniture, always try to either bring it inside or place protective covers over it. One hailstorm can easily decimate an entire patio set.
Comprehensive and rental insurance coverage will leave you with the peace of mind that your home and car are protected, regardless of the severity of the weather. Most comprehensive insurance covers severe weather (like hail), as do most rental insurance agreements. The only thing worse than ruining your car in a hailstorm is ruining your rental car in a hailstorm. Take the time to make sure you have the proper coverage.
The best thing you can do to protect your home and vehicle from any kind of severe weather is to prepare in advance. If you follow these easy tips, hail will never be more than a minor inconvenience. While we can’t yet control Mother Nature, we certainly can mitigate the damage she causes by taking a few precautions before the hailstorm hits.