Hailstorms are more common than the average person might think. In fact, 3,000 occur on an annual basis in the United States – ultimately resulting in $1.6 billion in average insured losses.
Hail is a unique form of precipitation from the atmosphere. When it occurs, its violent impact with the earth’s surface is alarming. This is so because when water freezes in the upper regions of thunderstorm clouds, it transforms drops into what is called hailstones. These round or jagged frozen beads of water can cause serious damage to your property.
You may not be able to prevent hail, but you can do your part to prepare for it. Here are some ways you can prepare for a hailstorm in order to mitigate damages:
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Install the Proper Roofing Materials
Whether a home or business, roofs are the most vulnerable parts of a building when it comes to hail. Having the necessary materials for your roof is key to minimize hail damage. When you are repairing or replacing your home’s roof, have a qualified roofer install materials that have been tested for impact resistance.
Materials that fall into these categories consist of:
- Asphalt Shingles – lightweight, cost-efficient and simple installation
- Metal – long life and lightweight
- Slate – strong and will last the longest
- Tile – heavyweight and solid, yet can be insecure without sealed material beneath it
Hail can cause two kinds of roof damages, functional or cosmetic. Functional damage is if the actual performance of the roof is affected, in which case, it should be remedied as soon as possible. Cosmetic damage is if the appearance is impacted, yet the roof still functions effectively.
For commercial buildings, there is usually costly HVAC (heating ventilation and air-conditioning) equipment on a rooftop. Damage to these appliances can cause power outages and result in a loss of business hours, which can be more detrimental than the cost of repairing or replacing the equipment itself. Some key equipment to think about are:
- Roof-mounted units
- Cooling towers
- Upright/vertical heat exchangers
- Air-cooled chiller
The best way to protect this equipment is by using hail guards, which shield outdoor equipment components without compromising performance. Hail guards have an aluminum frame with woven mesh that screws into an interior framing structure to hold in place. In terms of other types of protection hail guards provide, some can be UV protected or rot and corrosion resistant as well.
Use Cement Board Siding
Instead of using aluminum, vinyl or wood siding for your home or business, consider using a cement board, also known as a “Hardie Board.” This is the most effective hail resistant siding and is worthwhile if the property is located in a high-risk hail zone. The other materials can become dented, scratched, or even break when hail blows against a structure. A cement board is durable, heavy and firm. Don’t worry though, this won’t take away from your home or business’s aesthetic. Cement board siding can look like any other kind of siding and is made in any color.
Secure a Dependable Insurance Policy
Solid insurance protection is a smart way to protect yourself financially against hail damage. It is important to review your policy with your insurance provider to ensure you are properly covered for these circumstances. You can also speak with a building inspector for insight on how your home or business will hold up during a hailstorm.
It is wise not to underestimate hailstorms, as they can spawn out of a thunderstorm anywhere on the map. If your home or business is not prepared, hail can have a devastating impact. Be sure to stay inside away from skylights and windows the next time a hailstorm comes your way.
If you have any questions regarding this article or your homewoners insurance,
please call our agency at 732 832 7546.
20 Commerce Drive
Cranford NJ 07016
Article and photo courtesy of Selective Insurance.