Hailstorms can wreak havoc on roofs and vehicles and can result in major headaches for Houston homeowners. Understanding these dangerous storms can help you to protect your property more effectively. If your car, truck, home or business has been damaged due to hail, consulting a professional Houston hail damage attorney can ensure that you receive the settlement to which you are entitled from your insurance company. Here are some of the fundamental facts about hail and some tips for managing the insurance claim process more effectively after a damaging storm. What Causes Hail? Hail results from strong updrafts that carry moisture and precipitation into higher, colder areas of the Earth's atmosphere. Water vapor in the air condenses into small droplets at these heights and freezes. As more droplets form, the frozen water forms into irregular ball shapes that grow until their weight exceeds the pressure of the updraft. When this occurs, the hailstones fall downward to the surface of the ground below. Why Does the Size of Hail Vary? Depending on the strength of the winds and updrafts inside a particular thunderstorm, the hailstones may remain in the upper atmosphere for extended periods of time before the force of gravity pulls these ice balls down to the ground. Sudden updrafts can also propel hailstones back up after they have already begun their journey downward, allowing them to collect additional layers of ice that can increase their size to a considerable degree. By contrast, storms with weak updrafts typically produce sleet or small hailstones rather than the large, damaging hail possible in storms with high winds. Dangerous Hailstorms Most hailstorms produce small hailstones between one-quarter and one-half inch in diameter. These small hailstones do not present a serious risk to pets, people or property. Larger hailstones can cause injury or death for those outside during major thunderstorms; however, property damage is a much more common result from major storm systems and hail events.
- Hailstones can potentially reach speeds of 90 miles per hour on their way down.
- On July 23, 2010, a hailstone weighing nearly two pounds and measuring eight inches in diameter fell in Vivian, South Dakota, and broke the existing record for the largest hailstone ever to fall in the U.S. The previous weight record was held by a 1.67-pound stone that fell on September 3, 1970, in Coffeyville, Kansas.
- The National Weather Service estimates that hail damage is responsible for more than $1 billion in damages to agriculture and property each year.
For Houston residents who have sustained damage to their homes, property and automobiles due to hailstorms, obtaining adequate compensation from insurance companies can be a serious challenge. Enlisting the help of an experienced property damage lawyer can even the playing field for homeowners when dealing with large and powerful insurance firms to obtain necessary monetary relief for storm damages and losses. Recovering from Hail Damage Severe storms can cause extensive damage to roofs and may result in leaks and further deterioration of shingles and tiles if left unrepaired. Unfortunately, some insurance companies may attempt to refuse payment on hail damage claims. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can provide support for Houston homeowners in negotiating with insurers to achieve a reasonable settlement and to ensure that roofs are repaired promptly and to industry standards. Damage to automobiles can also be managed more effectively with legal help. Ensuring that hail damage is repaired promptly can help Houston residents prevent further harm to buildings and vehicles. By obtaining professional legal representation from a firm specializing in property damage insurance claims, homeowners can remediate the damage caused by severe storms quickly and effectively to preserve the value of their home and the functionality of hail-damaged vehicles.