It’s not news that Colorado’s Front Range is one of the worst areas of the country for hail damage.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, April National Insurance Crime Bureau, between 2017 and 2019 Colorado had the second highest number of hail claims in the U.S., behind only Texas in terms of total claims with more than 380,000. Over the last decade, hail storms have caused more than $5 billion in insured damage in Colorado.

Every summer, usually starting in March and April, the storms ramp up on the Front Range, which happens to be located right at the heart of the so-called “Hail Alley,” the midwestern region that receives the highest frequency of hail not only in North America but most of the world.

Why?

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, it is due to the fact that the high plains of Colorado has a freezing level that’s much closer to the ground than in other parts of the country. That’s the part of the atmosphere that’s at 32 degrees or less. Most places the hail that forms high in the atmosphere has plenty of time to melt as it falls to earth. But here the hail forms much closer to the ground, making it far more likely that it will make it all the way to your roof, or your car, intact.

The good news is that most homeowners insurance policies cover hail damage as long as the homeowner makes a timely claim in the event of a loss. Most insurers require that a homeowner file a claim for hail damage within 12 to 24 months of a storm, but the limits vary from policy to policy. What’s more, homeowners that experience hail-related damage but don’t know it may find that they have passed the time limit for their insurance coverage without even knowing it.

Preparing for Hail Season

For homeowners, there’s no telling when or where exactly a hail storm will strike, so it’s important to review your property ahead of time so you’ll be able to spot potential damage later on and protect yourself now.

Check out your roof: According to the National Storm Damage Center, hail damage to an asphalt roof looks up close like dark spots where the roofing granules have been knocked away. These bruises can spread, leading to weak spots in the roof itself and, eventually, leaks. They can be hard to spot from the ground, but a qualified inspector can quickly identify a compromised roof. Do you have damage already? Is your roof in good shape heading into hail season? 

Review your exterior walls and siding: Hail can cause all kinds of damage to siding, particularly vinyl and older wood siding. Looks for dings and dents, as well as any cracks and splitting that hail might make worse. Also flag any chipping and discoloration you see now so you can identify anything new that hail causes later on.

Shore up your windows: Although less common than roof and car damage, hail can also wreck your windows when it gets big enough. You’ll likely already know if you have a fully shattered window, but check for cracks and holes in the framing, and well as chips around the exterior panes. It’s also a good time to look over your storm windows if you have them.

Hail damage can hit you two ways: with immediate property damage, or by contributing to longer-term damage due to water intrusion of other issues that can be costly to repair. Don’t risk it; take steps to address the situation right away.