According to East Tennessee SKYWARN, “Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs at the beginning of thunderstorms. They consist of near spherical pellets of ice and snow, usually combined in alternating layers.”
By this definition alone, you can already imagine what potential damage hail can do to your home, specifically your roof. And, if hail can damage your roof, just think how it can damage your vehicle. In fact, big hailstones that fall with force have been known to cause fatal harm to humans and animals.
Scientists have been trying to reduce the destructiveness of hail by injecting large quantities of silver iodide into a thunderstorm. They are trying to overseed storm clouds so that smaller hailstones will form. This will prevent them from developing into large hailstones. But as of this date, results remain inconclusive.
What damage can hail do to your roof?
Hail damage on vehicles can easily be seen but the damage that hail does to your roof will not be as obvious. Hail damage results in a random pattern of strike marks in different sizes. You may find dents, cracks or bare asphalt (if you have asphalt shingles on your roof). Additional signs of hail damage to an asphalt roof could be: granules that have settled at the base of your downspouts, metal air vents that have significant damage and damaged and dented siding or gutters.
Generally, hail has to be at least 1 and 1/4 inches in diameter before it can cause damage to wood shake shingles or heavy composite shingles. Hail that is 1 inch in diameter may damage lightweight composite shingles. However, if you have deteriorated composite shingles on your roof, hail that is less than 1 inch in diameter can easily cause damage.
What do I do if my roof has been damaged by hail?
Most hailstorm damages are cosmetic and won’t have any adverse effects on your roof. However, moderately severe hail damage that strips shingle of their coatings may affect the longevity of your roof and this may qualify for repairs covered by your insurance. If the damage will cause leaks, exposed areas should be covered with tarps held in place with wood strips and nails. When you can access the roof, you should permanently repair the sheathing and replace missing and damaged tiles, shingles or shakes.
Are there available hail-proof roofs in the market?
There are hail-resistant roofs but to this day, you cannot find any hail-proof roofs in the market. These hail-resistant roofs have Class 1 through Class 4 hail-resistance ratings, 1 being the lowest and 4 the highest. These roofs are rated based on test results done by The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). A steel ball is dropped from a predetermined height and the damage that the roof sustains is then measured.
There are several roofs that carry this rating but the most likely to endure hail with minimal or no damage would be concrete tile, composite shingles and metal roofs. When you purchase a roof be sure to check with the manufacturer to determine what hail rating is given to a particular product.
What damage can hail do to your vehicle?
If hail can damage your roof, then an exposed vehicle can sustain much damage. Dents will most likely be the most common problem. If your vehicle will be exposed to large hailstones however, there is a probability that you might end up with broken windows and/or a broken windshield. The good news is, with your vehicle, you can take preventive measures so that it will not be damaged by hail.
What can you do to prevent your vehicle from being damaged by hail?
When hail is in the weather forecast, put your car, boat or RV into a garage. If you have no choice but to leave your vehicle outside, cover parts of the vehicle that is most susceptible to hail damage, with thick blankets. These would be the roof, hood, trunk, windows and windshield.
In cases where you are suddenly caught in the middle of a hailstorm while driving your car, seek cover in a covered parking lot or garage. Another option would be to go under an overpass or any place with an awning. If you are on a long stretch of road with no cover in sight, pull off the highway, park at the side of the road and just wait it out.
What do I do if my vehicle has been damaged by hail?
- Contact your insurance company and report the damage immediately.
- Find out if your insurance has a preferred body shop that can do the necessary repair to your vehicle. If you want to choose the repair shop yourself, make sure that you will have your vehicle serviced by a reputable facility.
- Make sure that you discuss with your insurance company and your body shop, what kind of repair should be done to your vehicle.
- Ask how long the repair will take. But if several vehicles were damaged in your area during the hailstorm, do not expect the repairs to be finished immediately.
- After repairs are made, make sure that everything was done to your satisfaction. Check for remaining dents and scratches before taking your vehicle back home.
- Before having your vehicle repaired, you must check if the repair shop guarantees its work. Make sure that you get the guarantee and contact information in writing. If you find any flaws in the repair, you should be able to bring it back to them at no additional cost.
Hailstorms are part of nature. While most parts of the world may not experience this kind of weather, those who live in the middle latitudes are not so fortunate. If you are one of those people and have no choice but to live with it, just do the best you can to protect your roof and your vehicle by following the simple steps mentioned earlier.