Home 18 Insurance and Hail Damage Statistics

18 Insurance and Hail Damage Statistics

by Sushant Mehta
Hail Damage Statistics Cover Image

Nature is a force to be reckoned with and the people of the United States are well aware of this fact. Hail damage statistics speak louder than words on the matter, although, sometimes, it seems as if this natural phenomenon is often overlooked on account of other disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and more. Bear in mind that there are approximately 5,000 reports of hail in the US per annum, as opposed to the average 1,000 cases of tornadoes.

Even though such hail events are often overlooked on account of other natural phenomena, the disastrous consequences of it are much less likely to disappear without a trace. A hailstone is a unique kind of precipitation — drops of water that freeze among the clouds and are taken up-drift by atmospheric winds. As more drops stick and freeze to the initial one, larger hailstones are formed and eventually weigh down the wind, falling on the ground. However, with this activity taking place in the middle of a storm, and at a considerably great speed, there is much more to hailstorms as the facts will show soon enough.

Hard-Hitting Hail Damage Statistics and Facts (Editor’s Pick):

  • In 2018 alone, people in the US witnessed 4,611 major hail storms of damaging proportions.
  • Between 1996 and 2016, hail storms caused damage estimated at around $29.7 billion in insurance losses.
  • The largest hailstone according to data was recorded to have fallen in Vivian, South Dakota.
  • Insurance companies paid $5.37 billion in claims for hail damage between 2008–2014.
  • Wind and hail deductibles are becoming an omnipresent part of insurance policies.

Hail Stats and Facts for the US

1. In 2018 alone, people in the US witnessed 4,611 major hail storms of damaging proportions.

The threat of hail is all the greater across the US as these types of events are keeping a positive trend in terms of frequency. Nevertheless, there is some reduction in numbers compared to 2017, when the hail storms count reached up to 6,045 major events.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration & Rocky Mountains Insurance Information Association

2. The annual US hail frequency is greatest in the State of Texas — 508 events in 2018.

According to an official analysis of the hail storms across the US, Texas accounts for the most hail storms per state. Kansas and Colorado rank second and third according to the number of major hail storms, with 493 and 332 storms, respectively.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

3. Last year, the majority of hail storms across the US appeared throughout the month of May.

Last year’s hail season in Texas, and the US in general, noted the most storms during the month of May. Hail storms accounted for up to 1,385 storms all over the country and were sorely outnumbered by major wind events — 2,296. The second month, based on hail perils, was June when there were 1,055 occurrences of this type; a number that subsided significantly during the following two months — 726 hail storms in July and 508 in August.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

4. Over the course of 20 years, hail storms (by 2016) caused material damage estimated at around $29.7 billion in insurance losses.

The Property Claim Services (PCS) have drawn up this estimate based on costs from insurance policies within two decades, without accounting for the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood, hail, and wind cause great damage to crops and property alike, creating huge insurance costs in the process.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

5. The largest hailstone according to national hail report data was recorded to have fallen in Vivian, South Dakota.

On July 23, 2010, a hailstorm produced the record-breaking hailstone in South Dakota, measured 8 inches in diameter and 1.94 pounds in weight. Up until then, the record-holder had been a hailstone that fell on June 22, 2003 in Aurora, Nebraska. It measured 7 inches and weighed 1.67 pounds.

Source: Rocky Mountains Insurance Information Association

Recent Major Hail Events

Throughout the year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration managed to account for 4,611 total hail storms across the US. Still, as is displayed in the facts above, not all states are equally likely to experience such events, and to the same extent.

Just as that, there are specific states and regions that are particularly likely to get struck by such phenomena. For residents of these, in particular, any hail information is bound to be of use, and estimating the size of the hailstones is one such valuable piece of knowledge, especially when accounting for damages or filing insurance claims. For easier remembrance, hailstone sizes are usually compared to everyday objects that they’re closest in size to:

  • Pea — quarter-inch diameter;
  • Mothball — half-inch diameter;
  • Dime — 3/4 inch diameter;
  • Nickel — 7/8 inch diameter;
  • Quarter — one inch;
  • Ping-pong ball — one-and-a-half-inch;
  • Golf ball — 1 ¾ inch;
  • Tennis ball — 2 ½ inches;
  • Baseball — 2 ¾ inches;
  • Teacup — 3 inches;
  • Softball — 4 inches;
  • Grapefruit — 4 ½ inches.

Based on this, hail damage statistics highlight that the most recent major events of this kind show over 80% of hail storms resulting in hailstones 1 inch in size or more. What’s more, up to 400 of these storms saw stones the size of tennis balls (and larger), meaning most of these hales were classified as severe.

Northern Texas March 24, 2019
Colorado & Nebraska August 6, 2018
Colorado June 19, 2018
Texas June 6, 2018
Minnesota June 11, 2017
Colorado May 8, 2017
Texas April 12, 2016
Northern Texas March 23-24, 2016
St. Louis, Missouri April 28, 2012
Arizona October 5, 2010

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Severe Storms Laboratory, Insider

States With the Highest Hail Damage

Hail alley” is the term used to refer to states which suffer from hailstorms the most across the US. These include Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming, with Colorado’s Front Range practically situated in the heart of the so-called alley. Thus, they are the ones most likely to incur damage in terms of property, physical injuries, as well as insurance costs; here, the occurrence of 3-inch hail is fairly common. State Farm has used its own data, accumulative with its policyholders’ costs, and estimated a total of $2.7 billion incurred in 2018 alone. The top 10 states experiencing the most damage in terms of cost and expenses are illustrated in the following table:


$598 million+

$437 million+

$329 million+

$170 million+

$88 million+

$84 million+

$81 million+

$78 million+

$75 million+

$66 million+

Colorado Texas Illinois Minnesota Missouri Nebraska Oklahoma Alabama Arkansas Louisiana

Source: Rocky Mountain Insurance Institute Association & State Farm 

Hail Storm Deaths Statistics


6. No hail storm fatalities have been reported for the past five years in the US.

The US may have undergone massive expenses and other damages, but there have been no casualties reported among the residents of respective states. The number of fatalities has remained firmly at zero for the period from 2014 to 2018. Source: Insurance Information Institute

7. USA hail incidents have proven to be damaging to aircraft as well — once causing the death of up to 62 individuals.

Back in 1977, on April 4, a Southern Airways DC-9 encountered a hail storm and crashed due to an engine malfunction. More precisely, the engines ingested hail and could no longer operate under full thrust, crashing the airplane on a road in New Hope Georgia. Two of the four crew members, as well as 60 of the 81 passengers, lost their lives in the explosion which ensued. Source: National Severe Storms Laboratory

8. The rate of hail deaths per year in the US remains at a stable null since 2008.

No deaths caused by hail have been reported in the USA since 2008. However, there have been a total of 4 fatalities for the 2000–2008 time span. Two of these were killed by hail in a storm back in 2000, one in 2005, and the last death occurred in 2008. Source: AccuWeather

9. The Guinness Book of World Records has a section on hail facts and information, as well as deadliest hailstorm.

According to the Book of Guinness World Records, the deadliest hailstorm ever recorded in human history and supported by evidence was that of April 30, 1888, in India. At a location near Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, the World Meteorological Organization identified 246 fatalities from a hailstorm. Reportedly, hailstones were the size of “goose eggs, oranges, and cricket balls.” Source: Guinness World Records & World Meteorological Association

10. It is assumed that the most fatal hailstorm in US records was that of 1784, in South Carolina.

South Carolina residents need no reminder on when is hail season — the damages caused by these storms speak for themselves. Although only 10% of all thunderstorms annually cause any damage, the ones that are dangerous seem to make up for it. Lightning and wind are common destructors, but hail has a sort of notoriety among SC residents. According to an article from the South Carolina Gazette issued on July 1, 1784, eight people were fatally injured by hail along the Wateree River. Source: AtlasObscura & National Weather Service

Hail Damage Repair Expenses


11. In the period between 2000 and 2013, hail insurance costs reached $54 billion.

During the given time span of 14 years, residents of the US filed nearly 9 million insurance claims. What’s more, 70% of this total had been accumulated in the last six years, i.e., 2007 to 2013. At the same time, the severity of the claims has also increased — claims during these years are 65% more severe than the ones filed between 2000 and 2007. Source: Insurance Information Institute

12. Hail data on damaged properties shows a reduction in the numbers for 2017 — 10.7 million.

Considering that hailstones larger than one inch are damaging to the environment, the last few years have seen fluctuations in the estimated damage caused by such severe storms. Costs are the same for 2017 and 2015, with slight jumps and plunges in between. Specifically, costs on property damage from hail ran up to 12.6 million in 2016, and 12.4 million in 2014. Before that, there was a lower cost estimate of “just” 8.1 million in 2013. Source: Insurance Information Institute

13. Most hail damage is done to the roof and windows of your real estate property.

Hail damage to your homes can be seen mostly on your roof and windows, so make sure to check them first when the hailstorm passes. Up to 30% of hail claims are dated wrongly for their loss, considering that the damage has been noticed and claims were filed much later  (up to 1 year) following the actual damaging hailstorm. During reparation, be wary of the choice of contractors, in order to get more value for your money. Source: Insurance Information Institute & Rocky Mountain Insurance Institute Association

Auto Insurance and Hail Damage


14. Hail storms up to 2017 have been comprehensively analyzed and studied by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

The Institute ran the numbers across a total of 31 insurance companies and found a total of 1.5 million claims to base their results on. This was prompted by hail-related insurance claims filled by automobile insurance policyholders. After all, comprehensive coverage includes such damaging events in the terms of said policy. Source: Insurance Information Institute

15. For the purpose of fixing hail damage on insured cars, insurance companies paid $5.37 billion.

Just for the target time period starting from 2008 to 2014, the insurers that were part of the study collectively paid out $5.37 billion in claims. However, the estimate that is considered to be closer to the real picture amounts to $7.26 billion paid out in claims. Either way, there is no denying that hail is a costly natural event for all insurance companies and auto in particular. Source: Insurance Information Institute

16. The average claim severity for insured vehicles damaged over the analysis period was calculated to be $3,428 in hail claims.

According to the results, there was an average of 3.2 claims per every 1,000 insured vehicles, which puts the severity at $3,428. On a year-by-year basis, the severity changes, with the highest claims severity recorded in 2014 — $4,169. At the same time, the highest claim frequency was also calculated and noted in 2011 — 4.3. Source: Insurance Information Institute

17. Due to hail damage to their car, the residents of South Dakota rank highest in claim hail claim frequency.

For the given period of 2008–2014, South Dakota ranks first with a claim frequency of 26.5 per 1,000 insured vehicles. Second-ranking Nebraska has a frequency of 19.1, while the following three states — Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming — had a hail claims frequency of 18.4, 16.5, and 15.2, respectively. Texas, surprisingly, ranks tenth out of the top ten states, with a hail claims frequency for their auto insurance of 6.7 per 1,000 insured vehicles. Source: Insurance Information Institute

18. Wind and hail deductibles are becoming an omnipresent part of insurance policies.

Insurance of this kind is provided as part of homeowners’ insurance policies as well as auto insurance. However, especially in high-risk states, these come under specific terms and nowadays tend to include a wind/hail deductible. Ranging from 1% to 5%, or making up a flat dollar fee, this amount is practically mandatory for payment when filing a claim in order to get the insurance payout. Source: Insurance Business Mag & NetQuote

Bottom Line

As can be seen, there are a lot of factors to consider when accounting for the danger of damaging hail events and their consequences to your property. While people in the US still seem to be largely disregarding this rather potential risk factor, awareness is on the rise and more and more insurers seem to be noticing this trend and adjusting to the situation. New terms and entire insurance policies have been present in recent years for all kinds of property. Hail damage statistics are of great use in this regard, as they help policyholders better understand the natural phenomenon, and thus better prepare for the potential consequences. While insurance doesn’t come in the one-fits-all model, these facts and stats are bound to serve prospective policyholders to make better choices for themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many cars are damaged by hail each year?

Nearly 40% of all insured losses have been accounted for hail-related auto insurance claims.

2. How common is hail damage?

This type of damage is most common in a particular region of the US, although remaining parts of the nation are not excluded from potential hail danger. It is most common in the Western region, though.

3. When does hail season end in Texas?

Texas hail season most often begins in the spring, in May, and lasts up to September, although variations can arise.

4. Where is hail most common in the United States?

Hail is most common in three states — Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. However, Texas is also known to suffer from frequent hailstorms, along with Missouri and several other states.

5. What size hail will damage a car?

A consistent shower of hailstones that are 1 inch or more in size is considered a severe threat by the National Weather Service. Thus, even quarter-sized ice ball can be damaging, as per hail damage statistics.

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