Home hail damage: What U.S. counties are most at risk for costly bills this year?

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Severe storm season is gearing up as we charge into spring and that makes large hail more likely during thunderstorms. 

"Hail can smash windows and roofs, accumulate and clog storm drains — which leads to flooding — and can injure or even kill humans and animals," home service site Roof Gnome said in a statement. "It can also damage your solar panels, gutters, HVAC systems, and other expensive elements of your home. Just fixing your roof after a hail storm can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars."

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To find out which areas of the nation were most at risk, Roof Gnome ranked over 600 counties with moderate to very high hail risk, as determined by FEMA. Analysts then factored in such items as the average age of the county's homes, the expected economic loss from hail and the number of homes with solar panels and garages.

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Also given weight were items such as average monthly Google searches for "hail insurance" and "hail damage" for the past 12 months and the average state home insurance premium.

Dallas County, Texas leads the over 600 most at-risk counties across the U.S. according to Roof Gnome

Denver, St. Louis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Omaha are all on the top 20 list. The most vulnerable states are Texas with 51 counties with the "most vulnerable" scores, Nebraska with 52 counties and Kansas with 34 counties.

"Seventeen Nebraska counties landed among the 50 counties with the oldest homes, over 65 years old on average," commented Roof Gnome editor-in-chief, Jeff Herman. "The Cornhusker State also has the most expensive home insurance premiums of $2,782, thanks to costly weather events like hail and windstorms."

Roof Gnome calls the central U.S. from Wyoming to Texas, "Hail Alley." That is historically the area that sees the most hail.

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Tornado-prone regions are also likely to see large hail. Illinois has 16 counties with "risky" scores, matching Oklahoma, while Colorado has 14.

NOAA's Annual Severe Weather Report tallied nearly 7,000 hail reports for 2023. State Farm estimates that they alone paid out more than $3.5 billion in hail claims in 2022. Around $2.9 billion was paid for homeowners' claims and $600 million for auto claims.

The national average for roof repair from hail damage is $11,750. Golf-ball-sized hailstones drove the cost up to $35,000 in some areas. Repair generally costs about $1 to $7 per square foot, according to Roof Gnome.

Energy.gov states that significant damage to solar panels starts with golf ball-sized hail as well.

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"Four Colorado counties; Arapahoe (No. 2), Denver (No. 4), Jefferson (No. 9) and Boulder (No. 341) landed among the 10 counties with the most solar installations despite high hail risk," said Herman.

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