Vehicle Hail Damage Claims in the United States Top $1 Billion Per Year

Hail 2 photos
Photo: GEM Motoring Assist
Hailstorms are some of the most destructive and devastating weather events in the United States. They can strike with little notice, thus creating treacherous driving conditions. Even if you’re not behind the wheel when a hailstorm is raging, the damage hail does to a car is gut-wrenching.
If hail doesn’t reach damaging size, it can still annihilate farmer’s crops and produce fine scratches into the clear-coat lacquer that protects a car’s paintwork. A case in point is this Ford Edge that was grazed by hail last year in June in East Tennessee. If the lumps of ice are adequately big, then the glasshouse and paintwork are definitely compromised.

You may remember that the state of Texas was hit by one of the most furious hailstorms the United States have ever seen this April. The poor Volvo S60 in the clip at the end of this article is a prime example of what bigger-than-baseball-size hail can do to a car.

According to the Insurance Council of Texas, vehicle damage estimates for three springtime storms in Texas, including the one that obliterated the Volvo S60, top $1 billion. More worryingly, the Highway Loss Data Institute estimates that $7.26 billion were paid in total hail claims from 2008 to 2014. That said, here’s yet another mind-boggling statistic: HLDI estimates that all United States-based insurers paid a mind-boggling $1.33 billion in 2014 and $1.28 billion in 2011 for hail-related vehicle damage claims.

"2011 and 2014 were bad years for hail storms, but it looks like 2016 may be worse,”
said Matt Moore, the vice president of HLDI. The non-profit research organization highlights that South Dakota is the state with the highest claim frequency during the analyzed time period (26.5 claims per 1,000 insured vehicles). After The Mount Rushmore State follows Nebraska (19.1 claims per 1,000 insured vehicles), Oklahoma (18.4), Kansas (16.5), Wyoming (15.2), Montana (11.8), Colorado (10), Missouri (9.3), Iowa (7.6), and Texas (6.7).

What can we learn from these statistics? Be sure to get an auto insurance coverage that includes some protection from hail damage. On an ending note, did you know that ‘hail’ comes from the High German word ‘hagalaz’, itself related to the Greek word ‘kakhlex’? The latter literally translates to ‘pebble’.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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