What to Know if You Live in Hail Alley
In the United States, an estimated $1 billion in hail damage happens annually. Due to geographical location, certain states are more prone to hail storms than others. Just east of the Rocky Mountains lies what has come to be known as “Hail Alley”, an area of the great plains stretching from eastern Colorado to northern Texas.
Of the Top Ten most hail prone cities in the US, Colorado is home to three: Denver, Aurora, and Colorado Springs. Cities in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas round out the list. During the height of hail season, these states experience thousands of hail storms combined. Millions of dollars in insurance claims add up quickly from damage to property, vehicles, and even crops.
Insurance companies use a variety of tools to determine both risk and damage from these storms. For example, RiskMeter is an online tool that allows you to enter your specific location and determine how likely you are to make an insurance claim based on inclement weather and resulting damage. According to Insurance Journal, “the program uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Dopplar radar, and it discerns patterns from that date to build a gridded model that calculates all the hailstorms within a 15-mile radius for the entire US.” Areas are then categorized based on this information. High risk areas are considered “level 5” when they see an average of 15 or more hail storms a year; Denver averages 25 hail storms.
Knowing this information helps underwriters determine insurance risk and subsequent cost for their clients. If you live in Hail Alley, your premiums could be higher than average based on the likely risk of hail to your area.