Colorado residents know that the state has many wonderful aspects that make life more enjoyable. Unfortunately, its tendency to suffer serious hail storms is not one of them. It is, though, a danger that every Coloradoan must face and learn to mitigate.
Not sure what you can do about this unavoidable natural weather phenomenon? Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your finances whenever this danger strikes.
1. Carry Homeowners or Renters Insurance
Insurance is one of the most important steps anyone can take if they face any kind of regular natural disasters. Homeowners and renters alike should check their insurance policies to make sure that this particular disaster is included. Some policies might specifically exclude such things as wind or water damage, particularly if the carrier or region has suffered excess losses.
If you don't own your home, your landlord should provide insurance for the structure and outbuildings. But your own belongings in the home and in vehicles are not covered by their policies. Major hail can get inside homes and cars — through damaged roofs, under broken windows, and through related water damage — to destroy your personal belongings. Renters insurance protects your belonging — and finances — if this happens.
2. Maintain Sufficient Auto Insurance
Many car, truck, trailer, and RV owners are required to maintain comprehensive vehicle insurance. Lenders usually mandate this so that they can get repaid in the event of an accident or destruction. However, if a vehicle owner doesn't have these requirements, they may opt to reduce coverage to legal minimums — usually just liability coverage.
Before you drop comprehensive or collision coverage, assess realistically how your finances would fair if a severe hail storm damaged the windows or engine of your car. If you need to keep up appearances with the vehicle to use it for work or business, can you afford to have body damage repaired? If so, you may choose to self-insure against storm damage. If not, the premiums are a small price to pay.
3. Take Preventative Steps
While insurance is vital to recovering your damaged property in a hail storm, you should also take steps to minimize damage before the storm occurs. Have your roof inspected regularly and deficiencies repaired so that a storm doesn't exacerbate weak spots. If storms are common in your community, consider adding shutters to protect windows. You can also minimize damage by removing weak or dying tree branches and excess yard debris.
Take precautionary steps with your vehicle as well. Obviously, the safest place to park a vehicle for hail protection is inside the garage. If your garage is full, consider either purging the excess items or storing them off-site so you can park the car inside. If you have no garage, a driveway carport may provide a lot of protection as can a well-designed canvas car cover.
4. Make a Hail Plan
What will you do if you hear about an imminent hail storm in your area? What if the storm occurs while you're at a location you visit regularly, such as where you do business, work, or handle errands? Think about places you could drive to if a hail storm is predicted or imminent. For instance, does your neighbor have a covered driveway? Consider working out an arrangement where you can temporarily move your vehicle to an area of unused cover.
Where else does your vehicle spend much of its time? Parking areas at most workplaces are often unprotected, but employees might be able to talk willing owners into adding covered spaces and boosting the value of their property. If not, keep a canvas cover in your trunk to deploy when needed.
What about shopping areas, churches, or your kids' schools? Are there covered areas you could retreat to in a hurry? Look around for things like self-serve car washes, nearby apartments with covered spaces, overpasses, or even large buildings facing the right direction. Just as you want to form an escape plan for a disaster at home, prepare an escape plan for a storm while driving.
5. Put People First
Ultimately, your first priority during a hail storm must be to protect the lives of yourself, your family, neighbors, and beloved pets. These storms sometimes arrive with little advance warning, so you may not always be able to enact your hail response plans. In this case, remember that property is replaceable and insurance will do its job when you can't avoid a problem. Take cover immediately and put lives first.
Is your property as protected as it can be from the onslaught of hail? If you haven't examined the risk and taken positive steps lately, now is the perfect time to do so. Start by consulting with the Colorado insurance pros at L.A. Insurance. Our policies can cover your home, vehicles, and business assets from whatever Rocky Mountain weather brings. Call today to make an appointment.