Damage caused by hailstorms can have distressing effects on a family’s properties or financial situations. The storms, which are unpredictable and happen anywhere, anytime of the year but common in September through to March, sometimes generate huge hailstones that cause extensive damage to property, leaving it in need of costly repairs.
Hail has been responsible for more than a third of the country’s overall insurance losses due to natural hazards for the period between 1968 and 2005.
Hailstorms Becoming Commonplace In Australia
Storms that form big-sized hailstones (more than 2cm in diameter) are referred to as severe convective storms and are increasingly becoming common in Australia especially in NSW, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
In recent history, the effects of the 14th April 1999 hailstorm have gone down as the most severe damage after cricket-ball sized hailstones measuring up to 9cm in diameter hit Sydney at speed gusts of 200km/hr.
The huge storm which shocked many residents and meteorologists was very destructive that the State Government was compelled to declare a state of emergency.
The severe hailstorm damaged more than 20,000 roofs and 40,000 vehicles, besides affecting approximately 130,000 households and causing damage estimated at $1.7 billion. To date, this storm has been the most costly natural disaster in the country’s history.
However, this is not just a concern for the residents of NSW and the ACT. In 2005, a severe hailstorm battered Queensland’s Gold Coast, leaving behind a trail of damage amounting to $60 million.
In 2010, Perth witnessed a catastrophic hailstorm (hail, torrential rainfall and flooding) that caused damages amounting to $1.05 billion.
Impact Of A Hailstorm
The likelihood and extent of damage to property by hailstorms is dependent on various factors:
- The velocity and size of the hailstones
- Intensity and frequency of hailstorms
- The wind’s speed
- The exposure and vulnerability of buildings to the effects of hailstorm
The robustness of any roofing material plays a great role in determining the extent of damage, and in any case, poor quality building material and old roofs are more susceptible to damage by hailstones. Though, any part of the building facing the skies is vulnerable to hailstone damage.
According to a report published by the Australian Building Codes Board in 2010, most of the structural damages caused by hailstones are smashed glass, total indentation on metal roofs, cracked roofing tiles and blockage of gutter systems by a build-up of hailstones.
All these are known to cause fundamental structural damage to the struck object and lesser damage to the inside of a home exposed to the harsh weather elements.
Safeguarding Your Home
Safeguarding your home is more about preparing for an impending storm. To mitigate the damage caused by hailstorm events, this is what you need to do:
- Trim back any overhanging tree branches.
- Understand the risks and stay in the know through the Bureau of Meteorology and Storm Assist for fresh weather updates and warnings.
- Clear your gutters and downpipes.
- Ensure your guttering system is in good condition.
- Ensure your roof is well maintained and in good condition.
- Remove any loose items from your outdoor space including the yard and balcony.
Obviously, these preparations must be done prior to the arrival of a storm. The other option is to use hail-resistant roofing materials to reinforce your home.
Regardless of the frequency of a storm and severity of the damage caused by hailstorms, currently the Australian Building Codes do not require roofs to be built with materials resilient to hail damage.
Safeguarding your house with a proper building insurance cover is one of the ways to shield your property against financial loss as a result of hailstone damage.
Contact us today for a free roof inspection on 1800 STORMS!