How to Prepare Your House for a Hailstorm: 4 Crucial Steps
Although not on the same scale as hurricanes or tornadoes, hail is an incredibly destructive force of nature that can cause shocking amounts of damage to your home. Because hail is relatively rare in many parts of the US, many people simply don’t know how to best protect their homes against it.
To make matters worse, it’s difficult, if not outright impossible, to know when any given storm will even produce hail. To best protect your home from unexpected and expensive hail damage, we’ve put together a guide that covers everything you’ll need and the steps you’ll need to take. Read on for the details.
Before You Begin
The very first thing you need to do is check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers hail damage. While coverage for hail damage is fairly standard, some companies, areas, or policies may vary significantly. While your policy probably covers hail damage, it’s best to be sure before you put a lot of work and/or money into protecting your house.
Hail-proofing can be done any time of the year, but we suggest starting in the spring so you can be protected against summer storms that may produce hail. If you want to chip away at the preparations over time, feel free to use your own timetable. You could even hire contractors for most parts of this process if you wish.
Once you’ve confirmed that your policy adequately protects your home, it’s time to gather hail-proofing tools and supplies.
How to Prepare Your House for a Hailstorm: 4 Steps
1. Check & Repair the Roof
Grab your ladder and check out the top of your house. Is the roof in good shape, or have you noticed any leaks recently? Leaking roofs signal a hole or flaw that hail can strike and cause extensive damage to.
You can replace individual shingles as necessary yourself, but it might be a good idea to have a roofing contractor check out your roof just to be safe. While you’re up there, clean out your gutter to prevent leaf piles. Hail and rain come hand in hand!
2. Identify & Trim Nearby Trees
Trees adjacent to your home should be ruthlessly trimmed every year. This will prune off dead, dying branches that can strike your house in heavy winds, which is especially common with hailstorms. Seriously consider cutting down big trees right next to your house if your area gets lots of hail – they can pose a serious danger to you and your home.
You can use a chainsaw to cut off dead branches or opt to hire a tree service to do the job. This is an especially good idea because they can also advise you on whether nearby trees are at a safe distance, adequately trimmed, and sturdy enough to withstand a strong hailstorm.
3. Reinforce Your Windows
Hail is unpredictable, and large chunks can easily crack or break your windows. Storm or hurricane shutters are essential for storm-prone climates like Florida but help protect against inclement weather everywhere. The most popular types are rolling metal shutters, but there are many types of storm shutters available at various price points.
Best of all, adding storm shutters to your home has material benefits too! They add value to your home and reduce homeowners insurance premiums while protecting vulnerable windows. Sounds like a pretty great investment in any situation, but especially if you’re worried about hail.
4. Document Everything
Take clear pictures of all vulnerable parts of your house before hail strikes, and keep receipts for all hail-proofing measures you invested in. This will give you ample proof to give your insurance provider if the worst should happen and hail does damage your home. Insurers aren’t known for being the trusting type, so keep everything meticulously organized.
We can’t stop hail from appearing or even nullify its damage, but we can mitigate it pretty effectively! Take some of the steps above to protect your house from hailstorm damage, and it’ll even pay off with increased home value and lower home insurance premiums.
Featured Image Credit: Marcel Paschertz, Shutterstock