Residents of the southern Great Plains can expect damaging hailof at least one inch in diameter every three to five years onaverage, according to the Institute for Business & Home Safety.Although hailstorms generally are not a great threat to human life,the extensive damage that they cause to automobiles, crops, roofs,and other structures carries a multi-billion dollar price tag. Alarge part of this expense results from damage to residential roofsand their appurtenances.

A major hailstorm that pelted more than 200 miles of Texas in2003 has provided researchers with a real-world laboratory forassessing roofing products and impact protection. Insurers paidapproximately $885 million following the storms, predominantly tocover repairs stemming from hail damage.

IBHS analyzed claims resulting from the April 2003 hailstorm,one of the costliest disasters to ever hit the state, seekingdefinitive answers to the question of how homeowners could bestprotect their properties against hail. Of the nearly 80,000 claimsfiled by homeowners throughout the northern suburbs of Dallas andFort Worth, the researchers identified notable trends in losseswith respect to hail size, roof type, and impact-resistant statusof roofs. Among the most important conclusions was that the claimrate on homes with impact-resistant roofs was 55 percent lower thanfor policies on homes without impact resistant roofs.

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