For many people, buying a house is the single biggest investment they’ll ever make. Protecting that investment is crucial. It’s not just a financial investment, either. It’s an emotional one. Your home is your sanctuary. It’s where you make some of your most precious memories, and where you keep the things (and the people) that matter most to you.
There’s only so much that you can do to prevent damage from a hailstorm. But that’s exactly why it’s so important to do everything that you can. Here are some tips for preventing and minimizing the effect that hail has on your home.
PROTECT YOUR ROOF
Your roof isn’t the only place that hail damage can appear, but it’s certainly one of the most vulnerable. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent roof damage.
HAVE PROFESSIONALS INSTALL YOUR ROOFING
While every homeowner can take pride in a DIY project well done, there are times when you don’t want to take the risk. Roofing is definitely one of those times. Make sure that qualified professionals install and maintain your roof.
USE SOLID ROOFING MATERIALS
Your choice in roofing materials can go a long way towards protecting your home. High-quality roofing materials stand up better to impact. If you live in an area with frequent hail, consider heavy-duty, impact-resistant shingles. Class 4 shingles tend to be made of copper, aluminum, resin, or plastic. They protect against large hail impacts, and are resistant to winds as fast as 110 mph! Class 4 shingles tend to cost 10-20% more than other roofing materials, but some find that the cost is worth it. They could save you money on repairs or premature replacement in the long run. Insurance companies like high-quality roofing materials, too. While they do add to the cost to replace, the better performance that they offer is appealing. That means they may reduce your insurance costs.
CONDUCT REGULAR ROOF INSPECTIONS
Check your roof for damage regularly, and after any storm that you think may have damaged it. If you come out of a storm and find branches on the ground, or if you see asphalt around your house that looks like it might have come from a roofing shingle, then it’s probably worth getting a roof inspection.
One of the biggest risk factors for hail damage is existing roof damage. A weakened roof isn’t doing you any favors, because it’s more vulnerable to stress, strain, and impact. Hail damage doesn’t always look like a big, obvious hole in your roof, either. If the granules on the outside of your shingle are knocked loose by hail, that exposes them to UV damage that will weaken them over time.
KEEP YOUR TREES TRIMMED
Trees provide shady cover for you, but they don’t provide protection for your roof. In fact, they can be a hazard. Branches can break away and fall on your roof in a hailstorm (or in many other situations). There are two things to keep an eye out for. First, keep any weak or cracking branches trimmed back. Second, remove any branches that might fall on your house, even if they look strong. The last thing you want is a heavy, sturdy branch crashing down on your house.
PROTECT YOUR WINDOWS
While they’re not as exposed as your roof, your windows are another big point of vulnerability for hail damage. It doesn’t take particularly large hail to damage your windows.
Placing protective shutters on the outside of your windows can make a big difference if you live in a hail-prone area, or if you’re expecting a big storm.
- Rolling shutters can roll down and provide a protective metal sheath over your window, shielding it from hail.
- Metal awnings can provide some coverage. For metal awnings to be useful, they should be able to fold down, cover the window completely, and lock into place.
- Hinged shutters look nice, and can be painted to match your home’s color scheme and décor. As long as they’re well-installed and secure, they can be functional and attractive at the same time.
- Temporary shutters made of a corrugated material are always an option. For these shutters, you install hinges on your home ahead of time, and then quickly install the shutters themselves whenever a storm is coming. When the storm passes, you remove the shutters and store them away. This is a little more work, but it can be a great compromise between curb appeal and usefulness.
- Plywood shutters can protect your windows in a pinch. While they aren’t the most attractive option, you can get them up fairly quickly, and it’s certainly better than an unprotected window. Just cut plywood to a sufficient size, and affix the pieces of plywood over your windows before the storm comes.
CLOSE YOUR CURTAINS
Closing your drapes during a storm is always a good safety measure. Whatever other protections you may have on your windows, there’s always a possibility that they can be broken during a storm. When that happens, all sorts of things can enter your home. Not just broken glass and hail, but any debris or trash carried by the wind.
Keeping your curtains closed can minimize this risk and help keep anything that does blow into your home contained to a small area. Thick, heavy drapes are best for this, but anything is better than nothing.
SHELTER YOUR OUTDOOR FURNITURE, ACCESSORIES, AND CAR
Never go out in a hailstorm. Nothing that you own is worth exposing yourself to falling hail. Having said that, if you know that a storm is approaching and you have a chance, take a moment to secure anything outside that you’re worried about.
Bring any outdoor furniture, grills, or lawn equipment into a shed or garage. (Or even inside, depending on your circumstances.) If you have a carport, that’s not as great as keeping things enclosed, but it’s better than exposure to the elements.
PROTECTING YOUR CAR FROM HAIL
For most people, your car is more expensive (and more necessary) than any lawn furniture or grill. Hail can cause cracks and holes in your windshield, along with dents in the car itself. Protecting your car during a hailstorm can be stressful, but there’s more than one way to do it.
- Put your car in any covered parking you can. A garage is best. But if you don’t have a garage or a carport, you can even try parking it close to a building on the opposite side that the wind is blowing. Any cover or protection you can give your car is better than nothing. (The one exception is that a tree is not a good cover. Just as falling branches pose a risk to your roof, they also pose a risk to your car.)
- If you don’t have any cover, you can use blankets. Some companies make special hail covers for your car that you can purchase. But if you don’t have one, you can thoroughly duct tape the thickest blankets you have to the outside of your car. Dealing with tape residue is less frustrating than dealing with scratched paint, dented metal, or broken glass.
- Take cover if you’re driving in hail. If you’re driving in a hailstorm, find a covered parking garage or an overpass to take shelter under. If you can’t find cover, try to drive facing the hail. Windshields are usually built of sturdier glass than side or back windows.
KNOW YOUR INSURANCE POLICY
There’s always a chance that you do everything you can to protect your home, but still wind up with hail damage. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your home is adequately insured. Here are a few questions to ask, to help determine if you’re well-covered by your insurance company:
- Are you covered for hail damage?
- Does that coverage include other structures and belongings, or just the house itself?
- Does your policy have a wind/hail deductible?
- Do you have living expense coverage if the hail damage is severe enough that you can’t stay in your home?
KNOW WHO TO TURN FOR CLEANUP
Having your home damaged in a storm can be stressful, frustrating, and confusing. Most people don’t know what to do after an emergency. But that’s okay. Because you can always call the people who do.
ServiceMaster Restore’s network is nationwide, but our experts are local. That means you’ll hear back quickly from someone in your area, who knows the lay of the land, and knows what it takes to get you back in your home.
Right away, they’ll start working not just on your house, but on making sure that you’re taken care of. As we make sure your immediate needs for food, clothing, and shelter are met, our professionals in weather damage restoration also start working on your home.
Our severe weather experts can help you get your home back into pre-storm shape. They respond quickly to hail damage claims, tarping and plyboarding up damaged roofs and windows to prevent further damage. From there, they’ll work to repair any water damage. Many locations also offer roof inspection and help contracting roof repair.
You can trust our home restoration experts to partner with you in restoring your home to its pre-loss condition. Because it’s not just about getting your house back in shape. It’s about getting your life back.
READY FOR ANYTHING
Hail damage isn’t common, but it can strike anywhere. Being ready is important. That means making sure that your roof is ready, and that your windows are secure. It means having somewhere to keep your car. ServiceMaster Restore is ready, too. And if you experience hail damage, we’re here to help.