Hail can be a devastating byproduct of thunder storms, especially in the central United States. Hail forms as chunks of ice held together by dust and other particles inside thunder clouds. When they grow too heavy to stay within the cloud, they fall to the earth and can damage anything in their path.
Hail storms may last only a few minutes, but they can tear through property quickly in that time. Hail storms are responsible for approximately $1 billion in damage each year, and recently those costs have soared even higher. In 2012, hail and thunder storms were responsible for $23.5 billion in damage, an expense second only to the damage caused by hurricane Sandy.
Five Facts About Hail Storms
1.) The largest hail stone ever recorded fell on July 23, 2010, in South Dakota. The stone weighed just under two pounds and measured eight inches in diameter.
2.) Hail storm-related deaths are uncommon, but approximately 24 injuries are sustained each year as a result of hail. Related injuries, such as those caused by drivers who lose control during hail storms, are much more common.
3.) Hail is most commonly associated with supercells, a specific type of rotating thunderstorm that often causes tornadoes. This is why hail damage is common in states with a high risk of tornadoes. Although tornadoes form from just 30 percent of supercells, hail can also be used as an indicator that a tornado is likely to occur.
4.) Hail storms are usually brief, lasting less than 15 minutes. This is still enough time for the hail stones to cause millions of dollars in property damage, especially if the storm occurs in a populated area.
5.) Hail damage is a common reason for a vehicle to be declared a total loss, even if it is still mechanically sound. A vehicle that sustains dents on all surfaces may be more costly to repair than to replace.
Most hail storms occur in fairly rural areas throughout the central part of the United States, which mitigates the property damage caused by hail stones. In these storms, crops are usually affected more than personal property. Occasionally, however, a severe hail storm will pass through a more populated area, and the results can be catastrophic. In 2009, a hail storm hit Yonkers, New York, leaving behind two inches of ice and causing a severe mudslide. It also wiped out power for 21,000 people.
Common Property Damage Caused by Hail
Hail damage can affect many types of personal property, including homes and vehicles. Hail damage may be immediately obvious, such as when a car is severely dented or a glass door or window is shattered, but damages are not always readily apparent. The damage caused by hail to a roof or siding may be overlooked at first, especially if your roof is not carefully examined after a storm. You may not realize that your home sustained any hail damage at all until much later, when the roof begins to leak during another storm.
Because this property damage can be so difficult to spot at times, insurance companies are eager to deny these claims or insist that the damage was not related to the hail storm. At other times, a policy may have vague or confusing language about what type of catastrophic weather events are covered.
This is why a hail damage attorney is so important when dealing with an insurance company. A hailstorms lawyer can protect you from any complications that may arise during the handling of your catastrophic weather claim. By hiring a property damage attorney, you can ensure that your claim is handled fairly and you get the money you deserve.