Local Connect is a service of Incline
Print Posted 05/02/2017 in Category 1

10 Ways to Know if You Need to Call Your Insurance Company After a Hail Storm

10 Ways to Know if You Need to Call Your Insurance Company After a Hail Storm

10 Ways to Know if You Need to Call Your Insurance Company After a Hail Storm

Are you wondering what to do when a hail storm strikes your home? Do you know how to stay safe and what damages to look for after the storm? Did you know that last year there were more than 5400 major hail storms in the United States? That is a staggering number when you begin to consider the repercussions in terms of property damage, billions of dollars in insurance claims, personal injury, and the stress of dealing with the aftermath. 

Extreme weather can bring a sense of exhilaration and excitement. We have all experienced the jittery, sometimes scary, crazy energy that comes with a sudden change of weather. It has a beauty all its own and a wonderful mystery that has yet to be discovered.

Whether it is the barometric pressure, the sense of an impending danger, or just plain fear, tension, and anxiety, we all know that feeling that comes when the dark and ominous clouds begin to roll in. It is a force of nature that we can’t control, and one that requires our respect admiration. Its crazy strength can come out of nowhere and catch us we we least expect it. 

What to Do When an Unexpected Hail Storm Strikes

Have you ever been in the park on a beautiful day, setting up a feast on a picnic table, when suddenly the wind turns fierce, the temperature drops, and before you have time to run for cover, the sky turns black and the hail starts pounding? I sure have! And boy, did it ever set off the giddy anxiety of impending disaster that surely wouldn’t touch my precious family. You know, the thought that something bad might happen here, but probably not to us. There is nothing like the excitement of not dying! That is probably the draw to those adrenaline junkies who seek those high crazy ways. Maybe you can relate to that need for danger, but I definitely prefer for things to remain nice and calm.

Anyway, on that beautiful spring day, my husband and I decided to pack a lunch and head to the park with our two kids for a picnic and hiking adventure. The sun was shining, the flowers blooming, and our small children were beyond happy for this fun family outing. We loaded up and headed to the park, parking quite far from our choice picnic area. We lugged all of the paraphernalia, including bikes, helmets, and picnic basket to the perfect table beneath the trees. It just couldn’t have been a nicer day. I had even gotten up early to fry chicken ad bake chocolate chip cookies. This was going to be a very special family time and we had been looking forward to it for days.

We had just gotten the tablecloth on the table and almost all of the food laid out when the wind began to blow a million miles per hour. Not literally, obviously, since I am still here to tell the story. A million mile per hour just sounds much more dramatic, and that is how it felt at the time. Very dramatic. Tree limbs began cracking, leaves were blowing everywhere, and the wind began swirling like a giant whirl wind. By giant whirlwind I mean it was like nothing we had ever experienced before. The wind was whirling around in a very big circle, and then would reverse and come back around in the opposite direction, yet we saw no type of funnel. It was the craziest weather I had ever seen. It was sudden, and seemed to come out of nowhere.

How to Stay Safe in a Hail Storm

My young son took off running for the car, which took him much too far away from me for my liking, because he was sure we were facing certain death from the tornadic winds. When he was young he had a terrible fear of tornados. I grabbed up my three year old daughter, who was whooping and laughing her head off, thinking this was the most fun experience of her young life, and ran after my son who was sprinting at olympic speed to the safety of the car. My sweet husband hurriedly gathered our things and somehow made it to the car just in time to let us all in before the bottom dropped out.

The sky had turned an eerie shade of green. Ice cold rain began to drench us. We jumped into the car, all breathless with laughter and exertion, just in time to escape the golf ball sized hail that began to pound the park, stacking up like snow balls. The temperature dropped from a perfect 65 degrees to 40 degrees, all within about 15 minutes. To say we were caught off guard would be an understatement. We had no safer place to be than the car because there was no other shelter in sight. We knew we shouldn’t be under the trees because limbs were breaking and lighting was striking. If it had ben a tornado I’m not sure what we would have done, because being in a vehicle is not a good option.

What To Do When It Hails and You are Caught Outside

In a perfect world, we would have not been caught outside in a hail storm, but we did the best we could. Turns out that we actually did a pretty good job of following this safety advice and were lucky that the hail did not exceed golf ball size. If you are ever threatened by a hail storm and are unable to get inside a sturdy structure and away from windows, here are some good safety measures.

  • If you are on the road, pull over beneath an underpass to be shielded from the hail.
  • If possible, drive under an awning or a parking garage, especially if the hail exceeds golf ball size. Lager hail can break the windows, and even penetrate the roof, possibly causing injury and even death.
  • If you are caught with no protection, like we were, pull up close to a building on the side that is not being pelted. this can offer significant protection.
  • Carry a heavy quilt in your car that could shield you from breaking glass, should that occur.
  • Stay calm and aware of what's going on around you. Don't panic so that you can think clearly to keep yourself and you family safe from possible danger.

Though we were at some risk, this was one storm that turned out well for us, and is still one of our fondest memories. Even my son was able to have fun once we assured him he was not in the middle of a tornado

Once the hail stopped falling, we drove the short ride home, making sure to drive through every puddle, making a huge splash, producing squeals of laughter from the back seat. This is still a family tradition when it rains. We went inside our snug, happy house, dried everyone off, laid out a blanket in the den, and had our picnic in the floor while listening to the whistling wind and the pounding rain.

Signs That You Have Hail Damage after a Hail Storm

The next day, however, we noticed a lot of limbs and debris in our yard. It was still torrentially raining, and we noticed large piles of asphalt gravel pooling around our downspouts. We noticed strange scratch marks on our window screens and pellet marks on our fence. Our skylight began to leak, sending wet streaks from our ceiling to our windows. We decided to call our favorite roofer to come and check out our property for hail damage, which was a lucky move for novice homeowners. We really didn’t have any idea what to do because we had never been faced with such responsibilities.  

Fortunately, we didn’t really have to know anything, other than to call our roofer and our insurance company. It turns out we had sustained a large amount of hail damage to our roof, and he helped us deal with our insurance company to help us get a whole new roof with very little out of pocket. That was a huge blessing. I was staying home with our children, so we were on a very tight budget. We were very thankful for our roofer's expertise and professionalism.

That storm was pretty minor compared to many storms that have been occurring around the nation. Hail storms are on the rise, and it seems the hail that is dropping is often quite large. The larger the hail, the more hail damage to your roof and property, and can even cause injury and death. It is very important to seek shelter in a hail storm. Sometimes a hail storm is the precursor to a tornado and that is a whole different story.

Hail and Tornado Damage Can Occur at the Same Time

Recently, we once again experienced extreme weather that was terrifying and delivered a lot of storm damage to my husband’s parents’ home. They live in one of those tornado alleys. You know, one of those spots that seem to draw those nasty whirling winds that demolish everything in their paths. This was the third time we had been visiting them during such an event. This time, however, we were all snug in our beds, soundly and blissfully sleeping, when all of the sudden the house began to shake, sending our bedside lamp flying to the floor. 

Have You Ever Heard of A Tornadic Hailstorm

We bolted our of bed, trying to decipher if it was an earthquake or a tornado. The noise was deafening and the darkness was absolute. Our hearts jumped to our throats. Running to the hall we yelled for everyone to get downstairs and into the basement. My mother in law is completely deaf without her hearing aids and can sleep through the house blowing down, which she almost did. My father in law woke her and was trying to tell her there was a tornado right outside their bedroom wall. It was so dark that she couldn’t read his lips, and without her hearing aids she couldn’t hear him trying to shout through her deafness. He began trying to pull her out of bed. She began pushing him away, thinking he was just trying to annoy her, which in hindsight is quite comical to think about. Finally she understood and they joined us in tripping over each other and everything in and everything in our path (did I mention it was absolute darkness?), we made it to the bottom of the stairs. By the time the last person got to the basement, the worst of the tornadic hailstorm had passed and we were safe. We had no idea how close we had come to being blown away until the sun came up.

After all of the excitement died down, and everyone’s heart rates returned to normal, we were able to go back to sleep. However, in the morning light, we discovered a lot of devastation to the home and farm. It was heartbreaking to see so much storm damage to the home place we all love. We have had many wonderful family gatherings there. It is full of love, laughter, and memories that we all cherish. We are beyond grateful that not one person was inured.

Where to Look for Damage After a Storm

It turns out that the tornado passed directly on the side of the house where we all lay sleeping. Our room was directly above my mother and father in law. We all would have been blown away if it weren’t for the fact that they live in a very strong log house that was able to withstand the relentless winds.

The barn and shed outside our windows, however, were completely destroyed. Huge trees were torn from their roots, and one of them had crashed on the roof just above our heads. Large hail had pelted everything to a pulp, and the torrential rains had flooded through the hail storm holes in the roof causing a lot of water damage to the ceilings. 

The roof had been torn away on part of the house, all of the fencing was blown down, allowing the cows wander freely. So many of the large and beautiful trees now lay down instead of studying in all of their majesty. Debris from the tool shed, the demolished barn, leaves, tree limbs and house was spread out all over the place. It was a very depressing and deflating sight to behold.

Torrential Rain Damage to My Roof

The torrential rains had caused major flooding which caused the sewer lines to break. The sewer began to back up into the showers, causing us much distress. We had to shut off the water to the house because we were afraid we might have some bursting pipes, and being out in the middle of nowhere, we had no easy access to clean water. 

Emergency Plumber for Burst Pipes After a Hail Storm

Fortunately, we were able to get our favorite emergency plumber to come check things out that very day. He and his awesome crew showed up in their fully stocked truck, found the problem, repaired our sewer line and replaced the burst pipes. They literally saved the day. Having clean running water is a huge luxury that we tend to take for granted. There was much rejoicing and thankfulness to our plumber when we were able to use the nice indoor restrooms once again, for obvious reasons. 

The power was knocked  out for an extended period of time, which caused further distress. My father in law has to have oxygen all of the time and this was a scary matter. Fortunately, one of their kind neighbors was able to loan him a generator to supply power for his oxygen tank. That provided relief to all of us.

Once we had everything under control, we called their insurance company and the general roofing contractor who was happy to deal with the insurance adjuster. He came out and walked the property with the insurance man. They looked at all of the damage on the outside of the house, including the destroyed, shed, barn, fencing, and farm equipment, and then examined the inside for damages.

Hail Damage to HVAC System

They found that the air conditioner had received so much hail damage that a whole new air conditioning system would need to be installed before summer. The hail had damaged the coils beyond repair. Sometimes the can be brushed and the HVAC repair can be quite enough, but in this case it was a total loss.

In the daylight, we made a thorough examination of the upstairs, where we had felt a huge jolt during the night when the hail and tornado were bombarding our sleep with unpleasant sounds and sensations. We found that the windows had been pulled away from the walls. The walls had cracked and shifted, the ceilings had holes and water leaks, and had been pulled away from the chimney. It looked as though the tornado had tried to pull the second story into the sky, and us along with it. We are extremely grateful that no one was hurt. There’s nothing like living to tell the story.

Everything in the refrigerator and freezer had to be thrown away, which was a great financial loss on its own. 

There is still a lot of clean ups and repairs to be done, but we are more than thankful that not one injury was sustained. That was about as close to a tornado as I ever want to be.

What to do if You Have Hail Damage to Your Roof

If you have sustained hail damage to your roof, torrential rain damage to your property, or tornado damage to your home, it is important that you call a great roofing company to come access the hail damage for you. We love our roofing company that will handle the general contracting for all of the repair we need.That took a lot or worry off our plates. Most of us just don’t have the time or energy to find several good contractors to repair storm damage, and sometimes the long term damage can show up at a much later time, leading to much greater cost in repair. We trust our roofer to do a great job on all repairs and to get us the best possible outcome with our insurance company.

10 Signs of Hail Damage and When to Call Your Insurance Company

  1. If you notice dents in your roof, or are certain that hail has hit your house, it would be a great idea to get your roof inspected. Our roofing companies offer a free inspection and estimate, so you have nothing to lose. They will also deal with your insurance adjuster so that you don’t have to and if they find other types of damage to your home, they can do all of the general contracting for you. That is a great relief to me. They are also insurance claims experts, dealing with your insurance company to get you the very best deal possible, often with no out of pocket. 
  2. You notice a lot of tree limbs and debris scattered around your yard. That is a sure sign that you have been hit by a big storm, and hail damage to your property is likely. 
  3. You notice scratch like marks on your window screens or have broken windows. These are caused when they are pelted by hail during a storm. 
  4. You find dents on your AC unit. This should be checked by an air conditioning repair company who can determine whether your system can be fixed or needs to be replaced.
  5. You see pelt marks in your wood fencing caused by hail hitting and causing pock marks.
  6. You notice water marks in your drywall or ceilings. This requires immediate attention because water damage can quickly escalate into more serious matters such as mold and mildew. Call your insurance company right away if you notice any moisture where it shouldn’t be.
  7. You see lots of granules around your downspouts during torrential rains. This is a sign that hail has damaged your roof and requires a quick checkup and repair. 
  8. You see dents in downspouts and gutters. If these have been pelted by hail, so has your roof.
  9. You notice damage to your siding, shutters, and other painted areas of your home. These are easy to spot signs of hail damage.
  10. You have broken windows or dents on your vehicles. If the hail has damaged your vehicle, it has most likely damaged your home as well.

If you notice any of these signs of hail damage, call one of our trusted specialists to come out and take good care of you and your property. They all operate with integrity, offering you peace of mind in the aftermath of the hail storm.

Join our Mailing List to Receive Marketing Tips