exterior of home

As more powerful storms occur on a regular basis, so, too, do the effects of wind and hail damage. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), climate change is increasing the likelihood of billions of dollars’ worth of damage to homes each year as a result of severe storms.1 While you can't do anything about the weather, there are several proactive steps you can take to protect your home in the event of a major storm. Taking action in advance can help you minimize damage, which means fewer expensive repairs. Here are seven tips to help you be proactive about protecting your home from wind and hail damage.2 

1. Start with the roof. Roofs can incur extensive damage when hailstorms and high winds pass through.3 While a newer roof is typically able to handle severe weather, a roof that’s five or more years old needs to undergo an inspection to make sure it doesn’t have any weak areas.

A professional from a trusted local roofing company can look for loose shingles and have them repaired or replaced. This contractor can also see if there are any loose nails that might create openings where water can enter your home. Ask your contractor to inspect the flashing around your roof to make sure it’s in watertight condition.

If you live in an area that frequently gets hit with hail, consider investing in hail-resistant roofing made of metal instead of asphalt shingles.4 If your roof has skylights, you may want to install a shutter system you can activate before a storm hits.

2. Anchor or store patio furniture. Any piece of outdoor furniture on your deck or by your pool can become a dangerous projectile during high winds. When bad weather is approaching, store outdoor furniture, flowerpots and lawn decorations in an enclosed space, such as a pool house, shed or garage, to keep them secure. If you don’t have a place to store larger objects, anchor them with cables or chains to keep strong winds from picking them up.5 

3. Use landscaping intentionally. When it comes to protection from the wind, the right landscaping can become a buffer against Mother Nature. Have a landscape designer create a natural windbreak in your yard by strategically planting trees or shrubs to shield your home.6 This natural barrier should have a mix of shorter and taller trees that slow winds down before they reach your home. This is a longer-term landscaping project because it does take some time for the trees to reach their full heights. However, it’s one that can pay off several years down the line.

4. Prune tree branches. This is essential for protection when high winds strike. Tree branches that are too close to a window or to your roof, or that are weak and hanging low to the ground, can damage your home during a storm. The trees themselves can incur “wounds” when long branches snap, creating permanently weakened spots.7 Keeping branches trimmed back not only makes your property safer but improves its appearance, too.

5. Weatherproof your home. The same home touch-ups you do to prepare your home for winter can help make it safer during hailstorms and windstorms, too. Doors and windows are particularly vulnerable, so give them extra attention. Look for missing bolts, loose hinges or anything that might make the windows or doors vulnerable to shaking loose during high winds. Use weatherstripping on windows and doors that aren’t closing tightly. If you see any cracked or broken windows, replace them immediately.

6. Move your vehicles. When storms are approaching, protect your cars by moving them into a garage or carport. If you don’t have a sheltered parking place, keep car covers handy and secure them around your vehicles with straps.8 

7. Plan ahead. Stormy weather can come seemingly out of nowhere. Making sure you’ve made plans and taken care of issues, such as yard maintenance, before the storm season begins can give you peace of mind once blustery weather arrives — even if you weren’t anticipating it.

[1] "Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Events," ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events (accessed Aug. 19, 2020)
[2] "Storm Damage Prevention Tips for Homeowners," servicemaster-dak.com/blog/storm-damage-prevention (accessed Aug. 19, 2020)
[3] "How do I protect my roof from hail damage?" springtreetx.com/how-do-i-protect-my-roof-from-hail-damage (accessed Aug. 20, 2020)
[4] "How to Protect Your Home Before and After Hailstorms," todayshomeowner.com/how-to-protect-your-home-from-hail-storms (accessed Aug. 20, 2020)
[5] "How to Protect Your Home Before a Storm," Lisa Hallett Taylor, thespruce.com/protect-your-home-before-a-storm-2737029 (Aug. 31, 2019)
[6] "How to Create a Windbreak," thetreecenter.com/how-to-create-windbreak (Oct. 2, 2015)
[7] "Preparing Your Trees for a Storm: A Guide to Preventative Pruning," richardstreeservice.com/about/resources/prepare-trees-for-storm.php (accessed Aug. 21, 2020)
[8] "10 Simple Ways to Protect Your Car From Hail Damage," hi-techdentremoval.com/10-simple-ways-to-protect-your-car-from-hail-damage (Aug. 25, 2017)
This information is designed for informational purposes only and was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. It is not legal, tax or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, Nationwide is on your side and Nationwide Private Client are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©