For those who are unprepared or surprised by a hail storm that hasn’t been picked up on the local hail watch, the damage that can be caused by large hailstones can often be devastating for those people who have to pick up the pieces. The reality of dealing with the aftermath of a hail storm is that it will often have caused a great deal of mess and damage. It is also worth noting that everybody who lives in an area that is prone to hail damage will be paying higher insurance premiums and taxes in order to deal with the damage that has been caused by hail.
Hail Storms in the United States
There are many different areas of the country that can suffer from hail damage, but the majority of hail damage reports will be experienced in the area commonly referred to as ‘Tornado Alley’. There are between 10,000 and 12,000 storms that will cause damage in the country every year, and the amount of damage that can be caused will largely depend on the size of the hail stones that will fall. People can take steps if they live in an area that appears on the hail map, but in some cases the storms can happen before the hail watch spots that the conditions are likely to trigger such a storm.
The total cost of the hail damage reports can often run into thousands of dollars for individuals, but it is believed that throughout the country hail storms can cause as much as $1 billion per year. As with any severe weather system, there are some occasions that can be truly exceptional, and a storm that hit Kansas City in 2001 is estimated to be the costliest hail storm to have ever happened in the United States, causing damage in the region of $2 billion in that one storm alone.
Vehicle Damage Caused by Hailstones
One of the most difficult things to deal with for any motorist is the damage caused to the windscreen by a hail storm, and following a major storm the hail reports will often show hundreds of windscreens being smashed. With the repair bill for each windscreen often being hundreds of dollars, the bill for repairing the cars alone after a major storm can regularly exceed $1 million.
There is also a lot of hail damage that can happen to the bodywork of a car, too, and for many vehicles that have been caught out in a severe hail storm, the cost of repairing all the body work could be thousands of dollars. This means that many cars are written off by insurance companies simply because the cost of repair is too high.
Property Damage from Hail Damage
The range of hail damage reports and what has been affected will often include homes and other domestic properties, and even the preparations of homeowners will often fail to prevent the significant damage cause by hail. The properties in ‘Tornado Alley’ are particularly at risk from such damage, and it is the trailer homes in these areas that can be badly damaged by such storms.
There are many people in the ‘Tornado Alley’ region of the country who will appear on the hail map of damage, and it is estimated that many homeowners in this area will pay a lot more for their insurance costs because of this. It is believed that insurance for homeowners in the areas of Colorado that are particularly prone to hail damage can include as much as half of the premium to pay for hail and tornado damage. It is also worth noting that there are many people who will try to take advantage of such damage, as the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported an increase of 136 per cent in fraudulent hail damage claims between 2006 and 2010.
Other Hail Statistics
The largest recorded hailstone to have fallen in the United States did so during a storm in Vivian, South Dakota in 2010, measuring a diameter of eight inches, and weighed just under two pounds. Fortunately, this is very rare, with less than one per cent of damaging hail storms recorded in the United States containing hailstones over three inches in diameter. It does go to show just how extreme some storms can be at times, and why it is always important to keep a close watch on hail storm predictions.