Preventing Property Damage in Alberta From Hailstorms

Hail poses a significant weather hazard across Canada, affecting a range of assets including commercial properties, public infrastructure, homes, vehicles, and crops. This phenomenon is most prevalent from June to September, with the Western provinces experiencing the highest impact. To determine if your area is susceptible to hail, consult the Government of Canada’s Weather information webpage.

This article details how to protect your property from a hailstorm, including ensuring your commercial insurance policy is up to date and provides adequate financial protection.

How Hailstorms Form

Hail forms within thunderstorm updrafts, resulting in ice pellets varying in size from a pea to a golf ball, and sometimes even larger. When hailstones reach the size of a quarter or larger, they can cause substantial damage to roofing, vehicles, and agriculture.

Wind-driven hail can strike at an angle, potentially causing damage to siding and windows. It’s worth noting that damage isn’t always immediately apparent; for instance, holes in roofing can lead to leaks behind walls, giving rise to water and mould issues down the line.

How to Protect Your Property During a Hailstorm

To mitigate future hail losses, consider the following:

Install Impact-Resistant Roofing Materials – Replace standard roofing materials with impact-resistant ones (such as asphalt, rubber, or metal) that are class 4-rated according to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) 2218. These materials are proven to withstand hailstorms, which is especially crucial for properties in moderate to high-risk hail zones. Investing in an impact-resistant roof can significantly reduce repair costs compared to enduring severe roof damage.

Address Water Damage – After hailstones create openings in roofs or damage siding, water damage is a potential concern. Conduct regular inspections before hail season to catch any issues early. Proper roof cladding is also essential for protecting against water infiltration.

Protect A/C Units – Air conditioning units on rooftops can be damaged by hail, particularly if they are not shielded. Installing a specially designed cage around your A/C unit can help ensure it survives a hailstorm.

Cover Vehicles and Equipment – Park vehicles indoors, and remember to disconnect car batteries to reduce the risk of fire. Move equipment to a secure location inside a building, trailer, shed, or storage unit. If indoor storage is not possible, consider using hail-resistant covers, blankets, or tarps to protect vehicles and equipment left outside during a hailstorm.

Stay Informed – Monitor weather reports and set up alerts to receive real-time notifications about potential storms and hailstorms. Staying informed allows you to take swift action to minimize business interruptions and ensure the safety of employees, customers, and visitors.

The Role of Commercial Insurance During a Hailstorm

Commercial insurance shields businesses from financial losses caused by various risks, including hailstorms. It covers property damage, including repairs and replacements after hail damage, and offers business interruption coverage for lost income and additional expenses during temporary closures or relocations.

Extra expense coverage addresses costs for maintaining operations during downtime, while equipment breakdown coverage protects crucial business equipment. Debris removal coverage handles the costs of clearing damaged property, and spoilage coverage aids businesses with perishable goods. Ordinance or law coverage assists in meeting building codes post-hailstorm, and hail deductibles may apply.

Additionally, commercial insurance brokers often provide risk mitigation advice, like recommending impact-resistant roofing materials or protective measures for equipment. It’s crucial for businesses to thoroughly review policy details and consult their commercial insurance broker to ensure they have adequate protection against hailstorms and other potential risks, ensuring they can weather such events and maintain smooth operations.

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