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Published on Apr 13, 2016
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hail causes approximately $1 billion dollars in damage to properties and crops each year in the United States. One of the largest insurance providers, The Travelers Companies, reported that between 2009 and 2015, 15% of homeowners insurance claims with the company were caused by hail.
Hail can form when thunderstorm updrafts are powerful enough to carry water droplets above the freezing level. This freezing process forms a hailstone, which can grow as additional water freezes onto it as it may be carried back up in additional updrafts. Each time this repeats another layer of ice forms on the hailstone. Eventually, it becomes too heavy and it falls to the ground.
Storms that produce hail can occur anywhere, although there are parts of the country that receive more frequent hailstorms. When they do occur, they can cause extensive damage to people’s homes, businesses and vehicles. Fortunately, hail damage to a home or building is covered by many homeowners insurance and commercial property policies.
Following a hailstorm, property owners should check for signs of damage. This includes checking roofs, skylights, siding, windows, doors and screens. Also check outdoor furniture, grills and air conditioning units for damage.
Some types of hail damage may also allow water to enter a building. If this occurs it should be addressed quickly as many wet building materials can allow for the growth of mold in less than 48 hours. The presence of mold can cause indoor air quality issues creating potential health concerns for building occupants as well as increase repair costs. Older hail damaged properties could also encounter asbestos and lead-based paint issues during cleanup, demolition or repair activities. Environmental and material testing can identify these hazards.
Property owners who do experience hail damage should document the event and contact their insurance company. A qualified public adjuster can also be helpful assisting policyholders with their claims.
These are just a few things to know about property damage and indoor environmental concerns following a hailstorm. To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, environmental, occupational, health, safety or property issues, please visit the websites shown below.