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Best Practices for Responding to Hail Damage

March 21, 2022 Robert Piña

tennis-ball-sized hail sproperty damage

Last spring, three hailstorms hammered Texas and Oklahoma, leaving behind $1 billion in damaged property. That’s an eye-popping number, but it probably doesn’t tell the whole story. More than half of hail losses go undiscovered and unreported every year, according to Hail Alert Technologies.

Hail is one of the most expensive forms of severe weather in terms of claim costs. It can also disrupt education if it causes roof leaks, equipment failure, or other damage that forces you to relocate staff and students. Follow these tips to protect your organization’s property and funds.

Understand the scope

Hondo, a small community situated 42 miles west of San Antonio, made national headlines in April 2021 when a hailstone measuring a state-record 6.4 inches in diameter fell. For perspective, meteorologists consider penny-size hail severe. The Hondo hailstone was two-and-half inches larger than a softball!

Here are a few more numbers that prove hail, like most things, is bigger in Texas:

  • The Lone Star State recorded 640,000 hail loss claims between 2017 and 2019. Colorado ranked a distant second with 380,000.
  • Our 688 major hail events in 2021 was also tops among all states. A major hail event is defined as a storm that drops hailstones of one inch in diameter or larger.
  • In 2020, a nation-leading 1.5 million Texas properties absorbed hail damage costing $3.3 billion in claims. Illinois ranked second with 510,000 damaged properties and $1.2 billion in claims.

Pro tip: You can control damage to your facilities if you choose hail-resistant roof materials.

Plan your response

Your state-mandated emergency operations plan (EOP) should include severe-weather preparation and response strategies:

  • Cover all weather hazards common in your region.
  • Review your EOP annually.
  • Update your plan at least every three years, as required by state law.
  • Develop protective measures for every campus and auxiliary building, including administration, maintenance, and transportation.

Considering the unpredictable nature of Texas weather, it’s crucial to monitor conditions. Download weather apps, and follow credible sources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service.

Respond to hail notifications

The Fund receives hail alerts that pinpoint when and where hail falls. TASB claims staff notifies impacted members and provides guidance on how to proceed. Responding to hail alerts is an important responsibility of Fund membership. A quick response also helps you identify potential damage and control its impact.

Check for damage

Hail damage isn’t always obvious, and it doesn’t always show up right away. Tips to help you identify damage include:

  • Inspect awnings, vehicles, HVAC systems, and playground equipment.
  • Assess sports facilities such as bleachers, dugouts, concession stands, and other outside structures.
  • If you don’t have capacity for comprehensive inspections, we encourage you to file a claim so an adjuster can support you.

Pro tip: Implementing a roof preventative maintenance program is a duty of membership in the Fund’s Property program. Take our on-demand roof inspection course and learn how to safely identify and address damage before it leads to costly claims.

Report claims

If one or more of your buildings is damaged, a timely and prompt response is critical to preventing costly and unnecessary damages. If you're a Fund member with Property coverage, report a claim or call 800.482.7276 for immediate assistance.

Members are required to notify the Fund about any loss, damage, or aesthetic impairment as soon as possible. Damage older than 365 days could result in coverage denial.

Once a claim is filed, it’s a good idea to accompany the property adjuster during a comprehensive inspection. The inspection could include measurements, pictures, and diagrams of impacted facilities to ensure damage is properly identified and evaluated. From there, develop bid specifications for the restoration process.

Get expert guidance

For more information about the Fund claims process, contact TASB Claims Manager Robert Piña at Robert.Pina@tasb.org. For information on emergency planning, mitigation, and preparedness strategies, contact TASB School Safety and Security Consultant Melanie Moss at Melanie.Moss@tasb.org.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Tagged: hail, "severe weather"