Anytime a large storm hits, you hear about the hail damage. But how much does that damage cost Americans each year?

The Insurance Information Institute states that 2017 saw 6,045 major hail storms, which caused about $1.8 billion in crop and property damage. When combined with wind damage, that figure rises to well over $2 billion.

Where does hail hit most often?

The U.S. Department of Commerce tracked the largest number of “hail events” from 2017 and the following states lead pack:

  1. Texas
  2. Kansas
  3. Nebraska
  4. Missouri
  5. Oklahoma

Perhaps a more important question, however, is how much the damage costs property owners. The insurance company Verisk issued a report that listed the top average claim losses from 2000 to 2013. Texas had the top average losses per year at $859,284, followed by Minnesota, Oklahoma and Colorado. Minnesota also had the sixth highest claim severity.

Is damage getting worse?

One interesting aspect of the Verisk report is the increase in both the number of claims and the severity of the claims over the last half of the study period. Verisk’s newer research studied the number of properties affected by hail from 2013 to 2017, which also found a rise. In 2013, 8.1 million properties in the U.S. were affected, whereas 10.7 were affected in 2017. The significance is still unclear, however, as the number spiked to 12.4 in 2014 and 12.6 in 2016.

The National Weather Service and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue to track weather patterns and hail damage to better prepare and protect people and their property.

What should you do if you have hail damage?

This information shows that hail damage is common and wide-spread. Most insurance policies cover hail damage, whether for an individual home or a commercial property, but you should always make sure you understand what your insurance policy covers and what it does not cover. If you suffer property damage from a hail storm, follow these tips before you contact your insurance company to start the claim process.

  • Document the time and date of the storm and the area of damage.
  • Measure the hail before it melts with a ruler or another object, and take photos.
  • Photograph your hail damage.
  • Note any signs of roof damage, even if your roof isn’t leaking.
  • Don’t forget to check your outdoor air conditioning unit for damage.
  • Have a private roofing contractor give you a free estimate before your insurance company’s adjuster looks at it.

Don’t be afraid to assert your rights to coverage.