Home Preparations to make with Active Hail Season on Tap

Monday, July 29, 2013

Protecting your home during Alberta hail seasonAfter one of the most devastating summers for hail in Alberta in some time, many homeowners are hoping for a less active season, even though meteorologists believe this year could rival what occurred in 2012. In the meantime, there are plenty of precautionary measures that homeowners can take so that they can minimize their losses. The following tips may be of some use:

Have your roof inspected in May or June

Given that it's typically the closest thing to falling hailstones, the roof tends to be the portion of the home that sustains the most damage during these storms, especially if the hail is heavy and falls in rapid succession. Sometime in the early portion of the summer - preferably in May or June, as August and September tend to be the peak months for hail - homeowners should think about talking with a professional roofer about having it inspected. As a general rule, a roof lasts for about 20 years before it's time to have it replaced. A roofer can give homeowners a better understanding of what spots along their roof are vulnerable to damage, and whether a full-scale replacement is needed or the repairs can be done piecemeal. House insurance experts say that if homeowners have shingles that line their roof, they may want to have their roofer put in shingles that are rated as Class 3 or 4, which are known for being able to withstand hail damage to a greater degree than shingles of a lower class.

Consider pruning overhanging branches around your home

During hail storms, it isn't just hail that has to be dealt with, but also heavy wind. The combination of these two factors can create messy conditions for homeowners who live in heavily wooded areas or are near to a lot of shrubbery. During the summer, take a look around the yard for any signs of plant overgrowth that may come into contact with a residence when it's blustery. Overhanging branches should be pared back, but if especially large branches need pruning, it may be best to get in contact with a professional arborist.

Create an emergency preparedness kit

Just as many homes have a first-aid kit, an emergency preparedness kit is something else that every homeowner should be equipped with. The effects of hail can create a great deal of inconvenience, from dealing with property damage, to knocking out power, to rendering transportation impossible due to knocked over trees. Thus, homeowners should take the size of their family into account when making these kits and supplying them with enough provisions to last 72 hours. Ideally, emergency packages should include a three-day supply of non-perishable food, personal hygiene items, batteries, flashlights, spare keys, bandages, water, contact numbers and backup prescription medication for those who need them.

Stay away from the windows

Naturally, the best place to be during a hailstorm is in one's home. However, there are portions of a residence that are safer than others. Alberta home insurance safety experts recommend that residents stay away from windows, as these can shatter if they're pelted by hail or heavy wind causes them to break. People should also not be in a room where there are heavy items that can fall down. Ideally, select a room that is windowless and in a confined space, such as the basement or in a bathroom. This rule applies for both single-family homes as well as high-rise buildings.

Finally, be sure to keep important documents, like a home insurance policy, in a safe place. These plans include information on what is and isn't covered so that policyholders can get through the claims process relatively quickly.