4 tips for protecting your home from hail damage

The largest hailstone ever recorded fell in Vivian, South Dakota, on July 23, 2010. It measured a whopping 7.9 inches in diameter and weighed nearly 2 pounds. Homeowners who've experienced an intense hailstorm know the kind of property damage they can cause — from broken windows, to holes and dents in roofs and exterior siding, and beyond.

There were more than 5,400 major hailstorms in 2015 alone, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Severe Storms database. On average, hail causes $1 billion in crop and property damage every year, which makes it all the more important to protect your biggest investment from Mother Nature's wrath. Here are 4 key tips for doing just that.

1. invest in hail-resistant roofing

Few things are more important to your safety during a major hailstorm than your home's roof, which can suffer significant damage from larger hailstones. Whether you're upgrading your roof before hail season hits or renovating it out of necessity, be sure to invest in impact-resistant materials, which tend to pay for themselves in the long run.

Modified asphalt shingles are affordable and resistant to extreme weather. Their rubber-like qualities help protect your roof from hazards like high winds and hail. Other shingles made out of resin, plastic, aluminum, or copper may offer even more protection but typically come at a higher cost. It's always a good idea to get quotes on various shingle types from a local roofing contractor.

These upgraded materials can really extend the life of your roof and reduce the likelihood of needing to file a hail claim on your homeowners policy. What's more, many insurance companies offer savings for homeowners who maintain weather-resistant roofs. Esurance, for example, offers the Hail Resistant Roof discount.

2. use storm shutters

It doesn't take huge hailstones to cause major damage to your abode's windows — continuous pelting by pebble-sized hailstones can cause chips, cracks, and even gaping holes. Storm shutters can do a lot in the way of safeguarding glass, acting as a sturdy barrier between the elements and your windows. From accordion to awning shutters, there are a number of different types of storm shutters to choose from, so be sure to speak with a local installer to help determine the best kind for your home.

If you don't have time to install shutters before a hailstorm hits, you can help prevent a lot of damage by covering your windows with plywood.

3. shelter your lawn furniture

From umbrellas and glass tabletops to wooden benches and beyond, your (often expensive) lawn furniture is susceptible to damage from high winds and hail. Luckily, your homeowners insurance covers your personal property if it needs repair or replacement due to a covered risk such as hail. But to avoid damage in the first place, it's wise to bring any lawn furniture into a covered space such as your garage, a storage shed, or under a ramada or carport.

4. secure dependable homeowners insurance

Reliable financial protection against hail damage and a whole host of other perils doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, Esurance offers affordable homeowners insurance that safeguards the structure of your home, your belongings, and even your personal liability. Plus, if hailstones do a number on your home and you have to live elsewhere during repairs, additional living expense coverage on your homeowners policy can help pay for temporary housing and more.

You can count on Esurance to be there when you need us most. With 24/7 claims service and the financial strength of an Allstate company, we're confident you'll see all the perks of becoming an Esurance customer. Be sure to explore our wide range of coverages and discounts when you get your quick, free homeowners insurance quote online or by giving us a ring at 1-866-439-5633, where we're here to help at these times.

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