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How to prepare for a hailstorm

Car driving in a hail storm

June 3, 2019. Summer is a beautiful time of year in Alberta and you might be looking forward to vacations, barbeques, camping, and the outdoors. But summer is also hail season. Hail is common from June to September and hailstorms can strike quickly and unpredictably.

Hail are drops of water that have turned into ice and are often the size of peas or even golf balls. Ice falling from the sky can obviously cause extensive damage to cars and houses. It can make holes or dents in roofs, break windows, put dents in siding, and damage outdoor furniture and appliances. It can also cause water damage from sewer backups and holes in roofs.

Severe weather is becoming more frequent across Canada and homes are being damaged more often by high wind storms, heavy rain, and hail. It is important to know how to protect your home so you can prevent hail damage and also to understand your home insurance policy.

How to protect your home from storms

  • When you renovate your house, choose durable materials like impact-resistant roofing and siding.
  • Secure outdoor furniture or store it when you are not using it.
  • Park your car in the garage.
  • Remove tree branches that could fall on your house if they break.
  • Put a shatter resistant film on your windows.
  • Use surge suppressors to protect electronics from power surges from lightning hitting a power line.
  • Store copies of important documents elsewhere or in a water- and fire-proof container.
  • Go inside or find shelter.
  • Avoid low-lying areas that could flood.
  • Avoid open spaces or anything that can be hit by lightning such as a tall tree in an open space, picnic shelters, and water (because it conducts electricity).
  • Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors that could break if hit by hail.
  • Do not use your home phone and stay away from metal like pipes, radiators, sinks, and stoves.

What to do if a storm is coming

Have an emergency kit

In the event of a severe hailstorm, you need to be prepared to either stay in your home, possibly without power or water, so make sure you have an emergency kit that will help in either scenario.

Make sure you have:

  • Portable power bank for charging your phone
  • Food – non-perishable
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Clothing and rain gear
  • First aid kit and prescriptions
  • Pet care items
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Plastic tarp
  • Damage to the exterior of your home is usually covered by standard home insurance policies. Water damage from holes caused by hail is also covered.
  • Damage to trailers and mobile homes may be covered but check your insurance policy.
  • If you have comprehensive coverage on your car, hail damage will be covered, but not if you only have basic liability.
  • Talk to your insurer if you are not clear on what coverage you have.

Make sure you are covered if your home sustains damage from hail

  • Damage to the exterior of your home is usually covered by standard home insurance policies. Water damage from holes caused by hail is also covered.
  • Damage to trailers and mobile homes may be covered but check your insurance policy.
  • If you have comprehensive coverage on your car, hail damage will be covered, but not if you only have basic liability.
  • Talk to your insurer if you are not clear on what coverage you have.

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