Fort Worth

Windshield busted? Roof ripped? Tips on repairs from hail damage

A car in a Fort Worth neighborhood had its windshield busted out by hail Thursday morning.
A car in a Fort Worth neighborhood had its windshield busted out by hail Thursday morning. dboyd@star-telegram.com

Thursday morning’s hailstorm caught many North Texans off-guard, but it shouldn’t have.

Spring weather patterns make Tarrant County and the rest of North Texas ripe for severe storms.

“It just seems like y'all are on the front line,” said Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. “If there are any severe storms rolling through the state it seems like they hit the DFW area first.”

Hanna said Tarrant County is in the heart of the “hail belt” and has more hailstorms than any other county in the state.

With the hail comes damage and Hanna said “hundreds of claims” have been reported from Thursday’s storm, but that it was too early to put a number on the damage.

“It's going to be significant but it's not going to be one of these billion dollar storms,” Hanna said.

Hail damage, most of it coming in March through May, represents about half of all auto and homeowner claims annually.

Here are a few things you should know:

Hail and your roof

Golf-ball sized hail is typically the threshold for roof damage, Hanns said.

But Rob Whitmire, who works for Billy Harris Roofing in Benbrook, other factors come into play, including:

▪ Was the hail smooth or jagged? Roofs can handle smooth hail stones better than jagged ones.

hail_golfball (1)
Michael Currie

A look at smooth and jagged stones

▪ Was there wind? The stronger the wind, the worse chance for damage.

▪ How long did the storm last? The longer the hail fell, the more damage you’ll have.

▪ How old is the roof? The newer the roof the better, especially if it is constructed with impact resistant materials.

Beware of scam contractors

You can’t be too careful when getting a roof replaced, especially if the storm draws contractors from out of state. Here are a few tips to avoid getting scammed:

Hail damage
Have an insurance adjuster check your roof before taking estimates. Brandon Wade Star-Telegram archives

Have an adjuster examine your roof

▪ Ask for their drivers license. “Many of these out-of-state roofers will get their license plates changed but won't do the same with their drivers license,” Whitmire said.

▪ Have your insurance adjuster examine your roof before you seek estimates from contractors.

▪ Get more than one estimate.

▪ Make the roofer provide local references and a physical business address, not a P.O. Box.

▪ Ask for proof of liability insurance and workers-compensation coverage.

▪ Don’t pay contractors up front and get everything in writing.

▪ Be wary of contractors who offers to contact your insurance company or pay your deductible to get your business.

▪ Make temporary repairs as needed (and get receipts) but do not make any permanent repairs until an adjuster arrives.

▪ Check with your city to see what permits may be required.

About those dents and the busted windshield

While many of the same tips are applicable for vehicle damage, you should also:

▪ Document all damage with photos and/or video.

▪ Check your policy for coverage and deductible information.

▪ Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible and request an adjuster.

Hail facts, by the numbers

▪ 8 inches in diameter weighing nearly 2 pounds, a hailstone that fell on July 23, 2010, in Vivian, S.D. is the largest recorded in the United States.

largest hail stone eve
The largest hailstorm recorded in the U.S. was 8 inches in diameter. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Largest hailstone. Ever.

▪ 802 hailstorms in Tarrant County from 1955 through 2013, the most of any county in Texas, followed by Potter (613), Randall (609) and Dallas (553).

▪ $1.1 billion in insured losses from the May 5, 1995 hailstorm that pummeled Fort Worth during Mayfest and other areas of the Metroplex, the fourth-costliest weather-related event in Texas history.

This article contains information from Star-Telegram archives, State Farm Insurance, Insurance Council of Texas and the National Storm Damage Center.

Lee Williams: 817-390-7840, @leewatson

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

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