Top states for home hail damage

Hail can strike with damaging force in many states. Texas, Kansas, and Illinois are likely to be hit the worst, according to a recent nationwide study.

That’s the thrust of “Hail: The Hidden Risk,” a report by Verisk. The analytics firm, which provides data for insurance and financial companies, found that more than 1.3 million properties (including homes) in Texas were damaged by hail in 2017, which put the state at the top of list. Illinois was second with nearly 900,000 buildings damaged.

Kansas had fewer properties damaged (about a half million), but a higher percentage (57 percent) off all homes and buildings in the state being affected by hail storms. Oklahoma had 55 percent of all buildings affected, with nearly 650,000 properties damaged.

Here’s Verisk’s top 10 ranking for hail damage, as compiled by the study’s authors, Arindam Samanta and Ting Wu:

Rank State Estimated number of properties affected Percentage of properties affected
1 Texas 1,349,374 18%
2 Illinois 872,087 24%
3 Missouri 832,525 46%
4 Minnesota 737,375 44%
5 Oklahoma 644,803 55%
6 Kansas 513,941 57%
7 Indiana 456,215 18%
8 Virginia 400,529 16%
9 North Carolina 400,248 10%
10 Colorado 374,435 22%

The study also points out that while hail is more common in the highlighted states, hail can fall in many more states, or at least a portion of them. This underscores the need to make sure your hail damage insurance coverage is up-to-date, according to Verisk and various insurance experts.

 When to file a hail damage claim

The Insurance Information Institute (III) and insurance companies say policyholders need to file promptly.

Most standard policies require filing a claim within one year of determining that a hail storm damaged your roof or other parts of the house. Michael Barry, a III spokesman, recommends contacting your agent or insurer to ensure you know the time limit for any claims.

In many states, usually where hail is less frequent, a standard homeowners policy includes hail damage as part of your protection coverage. Homeowners file a claim, pay the policy deductible, and then the insurer pays to fix the damage. A deductible is the amount you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company pays a claim.

When deciding whether to file a claim, you should always be sure that the amount of the insurance pay out exceeds your deductible by enough money to make financial sense. For instance, if your house sustains $2,000 worth of damage and your deductible is $1,000, it might not be prudent to file a claim. That’s because filing a claim may raise your rates. So, in the long run, you would pay more for filing a claim than just paying for the damage out of pocket.

Does a hail damage claim raise home insurance rates?

Not in all cases. Since weather damage isn’t caused by your negligence, your insurer typically won’t hike your rate. However, your rate may increase if you’ve filed a claim within the three previous years, and the hail claim is your second.

Also, while your individual rate may not go up, if you live in an area prone to hail damage, the insurance company may charge everyone in that vicinity a higher base rate compared to places where hail is infrequent. Finally, some states, including Texas, prohibit home insurers from raising rates after just one claim, so it also depends on your state laws.

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