Benjamin Jurkovich was traveling through Ada, Oklahoma, when he unexpectedly encountered a hailstorm. Many of the falling hailstones were the size of tennis balls. His vehicle suffered a cracked windshield and severe body damage. Hailstorms can produce significant damage; in fact, the total cost in damage to property and crops is estimated to average $1 billion annually!
In 2016, there were approximately 5,600 reported hailstorms. That year far exceeded the average annual cost in damages, reaching $3.5 billion. Texas experienced the highest amount of damage. Other states that were severely impacted include Illinois, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina.
Hail-related insurance claims in Oklahoma numbered:
- 60,131 in 2013
- 11,760 in 2014
- 26,302 in 2015
Over this period, Oklahoma accounted for 5% of all U.S. claims.
How Does Hail Develop?
During a thunderstorm, there are rapid currents of air that flow upward, known as updrafts. When updrafts are very strong, rain that is falling is blown up high into the atmosphere. At a certain point, the temperature drops to well below freezing, which changes the rain to ice (hail). If the updrafts increase in strength, they may blow the falling hail back up again, where they may accumulate more moisture that further increases their size. Once the hail is heavy enough, it will fall through the updrafts to the ground. The National Weather Service says that updrafts over 55 mph are necessary for golf-ball-sized hail, and baseball-sized hail is possible if the speed reaches approximately 100 mph.
What to Do If Driving in a Hailstorm
- Stay in your vehicle to protect yourself from falling hail
- Try to quickly locate and drive into a parking area that is covered
- Contact your insurance company if damage has occurred
Insurance Coverage for Hail Damage
Vehicle damage from hail is typically covered under the comprehensive part of your auto insurance policy. In 2016, the Highway Loss Data Institute reported on how hail-related claims impacted 31 insurance providers from the period of 2008 to 2014. There were 1.5 million claims totaling $5.37 billion among these companies. You can expect to pay between $50 and $125 per dent for repairs. If the paint is scratched, there will be additional costs to blend and paint the area.
A hailstorm is some excuse, but every year along Oklahoma roadways, there are thousands of accidents caused driver negligence such as distracted driving, operating under the influence, and failing to obey a traffic signal. At Car Accident Help, we have been representing injury victims for many years. Contact us today at (405) 285-4357 for a complimentary consultation.