GEICO reminds you of the hazards of hail: 5 hail preparation tips

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 22, 2017 – GEICO takes the effects of hail damage very seriously and offers five reminders to help you be prepared for the next hail storm. This could be almost anytime. There is no confined hail season, but spring activity is the highest.

More than 5,400 major hail storms hit the U.S. annually, an average of 15 hail storms a day somewhere in the U.S. Those 15 cause an average of $2 million in losses on a daily basis or nearly $720 million each year. (*National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Severe Storm database) So hail storms have to be taken seriously.

What causes hail?

Hail is caused when a thunderstorm's wind is severe enough to push raindrops upward into the atmosphere. The extremely cold air supercools the water and causes it to freeze into spheres of ice. This can occur several times, with balls of ice falling and then being lifted by updrafts, collecting condensation as they go.

Where and when are hail storms more likely?

States that typically have the highest hail risk include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Peak months for high hail activity are historically March, April, May, and June.

GEICO: 5 tips on how to prepare for hail

  • Bring your animals inside.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches, especially those close to windows and skylights.
  • Pick up debris and loose objects in the yard to minimize flying objects.
  • Listen to your local weather station; often forecasters can predict when hail could be a factor.
  • Put vehicles in garages or under some kind of shelter.

During the storm

  • Simply seek shelter.
  • Stay away from windows and remain indoors.
  • Put as many walls as possible between you and the elements.

Hail impact on claims

During the past five years, claims related to wind and hail damage on a national basis accounted for almost 40 percent of all insured losses. That figure is growing each year.

Hail: believe it or not

  • Not all hail storms cause damage. Pea-sized hail (1/4-inch) or marble-size hail (1/2-inch) may not cause damage.
  • Anything as large as a dime or a quarter (3/4-inch to 1-inch) can cause serious damage.
  • On May 23, 2011 a strong supercell thunderstorm in the Great Plains produced a large hailstone near Gotebo, Okla., that measured six inches in diameter. The hailstone was so large that it significantly caved in the roof of a vehicle. (*National Weather Service)
  • Hail accumulated to over 12" deep on level in El Dorado, Kansas, on June 23, 1951. (*Weather Underground)
  • The largest officially-recognized hailstone fell near Vivian, S.D., in 2010 measuring 8 inches in diameter, 18 ½- inches in circumference, and weighed 1.9375 pounds. (*Weather Underground)

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 15 million private passenger customers, insuring more than 24 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

For more information, go to www.geico.com.