DALLAS — When hail is in the forecast, it's tough not to immediately let your mind race to the potential damage that it can bring.
State Farm spokesperson Chris Pilcic gets that -- and probably better than most people. Because a) it's his job, and b) he's got data to back up his concerns.
Per State Farm, Texas ranked second in the country last year in terms of hail-related insurance claims. In all, the state racked up $392 million in hail damage across 26,700 claims in 2022. (Minnesota took the top ranking last year, State Farm says, with a whopping $698 million in hail-related damages.)
So: What can you do to get prepared? Here are some tips from State Farm and AAA.
1. Know exactly what your home and car policies do and don't cover
"Read through your policy," AAA spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said. “If you have questions, go over it with your insurance agent. Now is better than waiting until something happens.”
2. Move your patio furniture and grills to a covered space, and close your blinds
“If glass breaks, that will prevent the broken glass from blowing around your house, possibly causing damage inside your home and reducing the risk of injuries inside the house as well,” Pilcic said.
3. Don't leave your car out in the elements
Making sure your car is parked in a covered space is a no-brainer when possible. Experts even say that paying to park your car in a public garage is well worth the cost. If neither of those are options, consider buying a cover for your car. Armbruster said covering your car with blankets can help too, as long as you are able to secure the blankets so that they don’t blow away.
4. Document what your home and car look like -- both inside and outside -- before severe weather arrives
“We all have great phones with great cameras,” Pilcic said. “Use that to your advantage.”
Digital documentation is more important now than it has ever been before.
“[In the wake of] COVID-19, a lot of the claims that we're handling are being done virtually through video chat and using not much more than your smart phone,” Pilcic said. “That's how hail claims or any insurance claims are being handled at the moment.”