Hailstorms: when grapefruits fall from the sky

Did you know? Hail is formed when updrafts in thunderclouds carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere, where they freeze and merge into lumps of ice. When the lumps become too heavy to be supported by the updraft, they fall to the ground at speeds of up to 100 km/h or more! Hailstorms are most frequent in Alberta, the southern Prairies or southern Ontario from May to October.

Some hailstones are the size of peas while others can be as big as grapefruits. Pretty impressive! But these grapefruit-sized hailstones can cause significant damage to your car and home during a storm. Because we don’t want this to happen to you, here are a few tips on how to help prevent hail damage before a storm hits.

  • If you can, park your vehicle in a garage or carport. If you cannot, to help minimize the impact of hail, you can cover your car with a thick blanket.
  • If possible, avoid driving your car in the hail – the impact is stronger when your car is in motion. If you are in a car, stop the car away from trees or power lines that might fall on you. Stay there until it stops hailing.
  • Keep everyone away from car windows. If possible, get onto the floor or lie on the seat facedown.
  • Consider installing protective shields for equipment such as HVAC units and installing coverings for your roof and skylights.
  • Close all windows and doors and if possible, consider installing impact-resistant shutters over all large windows and glass doors. Keep everyone away from windows, glass doors and skylights which can shatter if hit by hailstones.
  • Avoid using the telephone during a storm, and do not touch metal objects like stoves, radiators, metal pipes, and sinks – there might be a risk of electrocution if a hailstorm is accompanied by lightning.
  • If you have any patio furniture, BBQs, bikes, toys, etc. in your yard, make sure to secure or relocate them. In addition to being damaged, with the high winds that can accompany hailstorms, these items could become projectiles.
  • Trim dead branches and cut down dead trees to reduce the danger of these falling onto your house during a storm.
  • Regularly inspect your roof to keep it free from defects and in good condition.
  • When replacing your roof or exterior finishing, use materials that can help to mitigate damage to your home.

Although there is no way of predicting exactly when a hailstorm will occur, we recommend you subscribe to severe weather alert notifications so you can know when and where a hailstorm is expected to hit and be prepared. As always when preparing for severe storms, stock-up on ready-to-eat food, and have battery-powered or wind-up flashlights handy in case of a power outage!

You can rest easy knowing that if your car or home gets damaged during a hailstorm, we’re here for you –the cost of repair or replacement is likely covered under your car and home insurance. If you have questions, contact your insurance broker.

This document is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as being advice or exhaustive. Intact Insurance makes no representation, warranty or guarantee that use of this information will prevent damage or reduce your premium. Your insurance contract prevails at all times, please consult it for a complete description of coverage and exclusions. Certain conditions, restrictions and exclusions apply. ® Intact Insurance and Intact Insurance Design are registered trademarks of Intact Financial Corporation used under license . ©2018 Intact Insurance Company. All rights reserved.