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Spike in Hail Damage Claims Cars as Casualty

Spike in Hail Damage Claims Cars as Casualty

The hail from skies is golf-ball size (clap, clap, clap, clap) deep in the heart of Texas! According to a just-released report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Lone Star State is the nation's hail-damage hot spot — and car owners are among the biggest recipients of its wrath.

Personal auto damage accounts for just less than a third of all U.S. insurance claims related to hail damage, second only to home damage, which accounts for 55 percent. From 2014 to 2016, Texas residents filed 675,678 hail claims — a whopping 28 percent of the nation's filings.

In 2016, Texas logged nearly 379,000 hail claims — more than four times as many as No. 2 Colorado's 90,002 — comprising 39 percent of that year's claims. A big chunk of that 2016 figure came from San Antonio, which chalked up nearly 69,000 claims alone. Texas' 2016 tally was more than twice that of the previous year, and far more than the previous two years combined.

The top 10 states for hail damage based on each state's share of the total for 2014 to 2016 are:

10. Oklahoma, 2 percent

9. Indiana, 2 percent

8. Pennsylvania, 3 percent

7. Minnesota, 3 percent

6. Kansas, 5 percent

5. Illinois, 5 percent

4. Missouri, 6 percent

3. Nebraska, 7 percent

2. Colorado, 10 percent

1. Texas, 28 percent

From 2014 to 2016, personal auto claims for hail damage in the U.S. totaled 773,054, with 289,032 in 2014, 171,080 in 2015 and 312,942 last year. Commercial auto claims, meanwhile, threw another 23,231 on top of the car-damage pile.

"Hail damage fluctuates year to year, but 2016 was a particularly devastating year across the country," NICB said in its report. "An analysis of insurance claims from the Insurance Services Office ClaimSearch database showed that after decreasing 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, the number of hail claims nationwide jumped 48 percent to more than 965,000 in 2016."

The worst months for hail damage in the U.S. are March through July. The monthly hail-claim averages for April, May and June are 182,538, 192,835 and 134,042, respectively. March averages 82,396, and July averages 76,447.

According to insurance provider Progressive, nearly 60 percent of 2015's severe weather insurance claims were attributed to hail. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration reports that hail causes $1 billion of property damage each year. To avoid having your car in that total, Progressive offers the following tips:

  • Find out if you live in an area at high risk of hail and, if so, opt for covered parking.
  • If you know there's a big storm brewing that could result in hail, find someplace to shelter your car, such as a local mall's parking garage.
  • In the absence of a covered-shelter option, cover your car either with blankets from home or with a cover specifically designed and sold for this purpose; make sure to secure the cover, though, as winds can be very strong in weather that produces hail.

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