Missouri is one of the top 10 states for severe hail. These violent hailstorms may not last for very long, but they can cause significant damage. In the worst hailstorms, ice is falling as fast as 100 mph. That’s the equivalent of a professional baseball player pitching thousands of balls at your home’s siding, roof, doors, and windows.
Hailstorms in Missouri
Missouri ranks as the seventh-worst state for hail damage. According to the most recent data available from 2019, there were nearly 34,000 insurance claims because of hail damage. That same year, NOAA reported 222 large hail events with nickel-size hail or larger.
Hail damage can be expensive. In Missouri, the average homeowner’s insurance claim for hail damage is $9,115, according to 2020 claims data from State Farm.
NOAA’s Storm Events Database can help us understand which parts of the state face the biggest hail threat. Kansas City is one of the hardest-hit cities in the state for hailstorms, followed by St. Louis and Springfield. Of the cities we analyzed, Columbia had the fewest hailstorms, and the cities of Moberly and Joplin fell in the middle of the group.
|County||City||Number of Hailstorms in 2019|
|Clay County||Northeastern Kansas City||19|
|Jackson County||Southeastern Kansas City||18|
|Platte County||Northwestern Kansas City||11|
|St. Louis County||St. Louis||8|
|St. Charles County||St. Charles, St. Peters, O’Fallon||5|
|Buchanan County||St. Joseph||5|
Preventive home maintenance can help prepare your home to better withstand hailstorms and other severe weather events. Follow these 10 steps to prepare for hail in Missouri.
1. Remove Risky Trees and Branches
During a hailstorm, trees and branches can become hazardous to your home. The battering of ice pellets combined with wind gusts can shear off branches or take down entire trees, crashing the weight into your roof, siding, or windows.
Be proactive about tree maintenance and remove any weak or dead branches. Also, remove any trees that are planted too close to your foundation. Not only are these plants potentially dangerous during a hailstorm, but the tree roots can damage your foundation by causing shifting soil and uneven moisture..
2. Check Insurance for Hail Coverage
In hail-prone states like Missouri, insurance coverage for hail damage can help you avoid unexpected repair bills, such as $10,000 for a new roof.
Hail coverage typically falls under your homeowner’s insurance policy. However, some policies may have a separate deductible for wind and hail claims. If you’re concerned about severe weather, ask your insurance agent about flood insurance coverage to protect your home from heavy rains and overflowing rivers.
3. Inspect and Maintain Roof
In most hailstorms, your roof will take a beating. This can cause shingles to tear off or to be damaged by impact marks. Even when shingles remain intact, hail can damage the aggregate, reducing the lifespan of your roof.
Regular roof maintenance can help you avoid the most severe hail damage. Make sure shingles are properly secured, recaulk flashings when needed, and remove moss or mildew. When you’re ready for a new roof, choose impact-resistant options with Class 3 or Class 4 shingles. These will give you added protection and may even qualify you for a discount on your insurance premiums.
4. Reinforce Windows Against Impacts
Hail can shatter glass windows, doors, and skylights. There are a few ways that homeowners can reinforce these surfaces and protect their homes.
One option is to install exterior shutters that can protect your home from hail, wind, or flying debris. Homeowners can also upgrade to impact-resistant windows. Another option is to install interior shades or drapes, which can also protect occupants from flying glass if a window breaks during a hailstorm.
5. Look for Chimney Cracks or Tilting
The directional winds during a hailstorm can cause an already weak chimney to topple. By checking your chimney for signs of instability, you can take steps to secure the structure before a hailstorm.
Look along the edges of the chimney to see if it’s starting to separate from your home. Also, check to see if the chimney has started to tilt. Cracks in the concrete or brick are also key signs of structural problems or weak points. If you discover a cracked or tilting chimney, leveling and stabilizing it can help you avoid a more serious problem.
6. Improve Gutters and Home Drainage
Hailstorms can also include a downpour of rain, and the calculation for gutters and drainage shows how important these water management systems are. When just one inch of rain falls on an average-sized house, your gutters are managing nearly 1,000 gallons of water, hopefully carrying it away from your foundation rather than directing the water toward your basement or crawl space.
Regularly maintaining and cleaning your gutters can help keep that rain flowing away from your home. You can make your gutters more hail-proof by upgrading to gutters made from impact-resistant materials.
Lightweight aluminum gutters can easily sustain hail damage during a storm. Installing a sump pump can help you prepare for severe weather and minimize flood damage. Some flood insurance policies even offer homeowners a $1,000 credit toward these flood mitigation systems.
7. Install Vehicle Protection
Putting your car in a garage is the best way to protect it from hail damage including dents and broken glass. If your car is exposed to a hailstorm, drivers with comprehensive coverage are often covered, and an average car insurance claim for hail damage is $2,500.
If you don’t have a garage to protect your car, carports and protective car coverings can help you reduce the impact of the ice storm.
8. Add Hail Guards to HVAC Systems
Outdoor condensing units for your air conditioning system are highly vulnerable to hail damage. If left exposed, the aluminum grating will become dented or crushed. Check your HVAC system to see if a hail guard has already been installed. Otherwise, check with the manufacturer for add-on covers that can protect it from damage.
9. Protect Vents on Roof
Rooftop vents for water heaters and clothes dryers are also at risk of hail damage. Their location may be difficult to inspect, but if they become clogged or damaged, fumes or carbon monoxide could fill your home rather than venting out of the chimney stack.
Regularly maintain rooftop vents by making sure covers are securely in place and water seals are intact. Installing a hail guard can also protect vents against impact damage.
10. Update to Hail-resistant Siding
The winds that accompany a hailstorm mean that one or two sides of a home can be battered by falling ice. Vinyl and aluminum siding is especially susceptible to hail damage. For those living in hail-prone areas of Missouri, upgrading to hail-resistant siding can help your home withstand severe storms.
Look for impact-resistant material such as fiber cement, engineered wood, or steel. Siding manufacturers will often advertise their impact test results so you understand how much force your home can withstand.
Do you want to protect your Missouri home from hail, floods, and severe weather? Get a free inspection from Foundation Recovery Systems to find out how you can help your home survive the worst storms.