Maintaining a home
How to prepare your home for hailstorms
25 July 2022
Australia is no stranger to extreme weather. And it only seems to be getting worse.
In October 2021, 6.3-inch ice stones rained down on North Queensland. That’s hail as large as an adult’s hand – larger than we’ve ever seen!
And we all remember the storms of December 2018 that led to New South Wales experiencing its worst hail downpour in two decades.
The Insurance Council of Australia described the event as a catastrophe, as golf-ball sized hailstones plummeted down on Sydney and other parts of NSW, causing approximately $675 million worth of damage. As of early January 2019, over 80,000 claims had been made – including 17,000 claims for household damage1.
But the forecast isn’t all doom and destruction! You can take preventative measures to minimise the damage of hail on your home. Here’s where you can start.
Firstly, know if you’re covered
You can make every preparation, but there’s no way to predict the damage a hailstorm could cause. Checking that your home insurance policy is up-to-date and you have a sufficient level of cover for hail damage might be the most important step to prepare for a hailstorm. Don’t wait and spend the next storm with your fingers crossed – get a home insurance quote today.
How to prevent hail damage to your home
1. Think about skylight hail protection
Skylights are a great way of bringing more natural light into your home, but they can be vulnerable to severe hail. Consider using a skylight safety screen to minimise damage from hail. Look for materials that offer good optical clarity as well as impact resistance.
2. Cover your garden
If you have a green thumb, you know the dread of a springtime hailstorm, when your plants are just sprouting. If you’re worried they won’t weather the hailstorm, use netting (or objects like baskets, tarps or pots) to protect them. You can also add extra soil to your plants to help keep them standing upright.
3. Safeguard windows and doors
Like skylights, protecting your windows and glass doors with secure shutters could help prevent them from hail damage. As an added bonus, they’ll also help to secure your home from theft!
There are plenty of shutter add ons that roll down or slide over windows or glass sliding doors.
Does taping windows in an ‘X-shape’ work?
It’s an old myth that taping windows prevents them from shattering in a storm. The glass will still smash if it’s hit by a large chunk of hail. The worst part? The tape is more likely to make the glass break into larger, potentially deadly pieces.
4. Consider installing hail proof windows
Even if you have protective shutters, you may not make it home in time to pull them down in the event of a sudden storm.
That’s why it may be worthwhile to take it a step further by installing toughened glass windows.
Toughened glass can be stronger than regular glass. It’s also less likely to cause serious injuries in an accident, as it breaks into smaller, granular particles.
5. Shut your curtains
Closing your windows is a natural reaction when it starts raining, but closing your curtains can protect your home, and those inside, if hail smashes a window. It’ll also prevent glass from spreading inside your home, making the clean-up a lot easier.
6. Protect solar panels
Solar panels are designed to withstand small hailstones. However, hail can sometimes be larger than golf balls, so even very durable panels can be susceptible to damage.
If you’re thinking about having solar panels installed, it’s a good idea to speak to an expert about which types will have the best chances of survival when rough weather hits.
If it’s safe to do so, place hail blankets over your solar panels when a hail warning is announced.
7. Place loose items inside
If a hailstorm is forecasted, your first thought might be to move valuable things, like your car, out of harm’s way - which is, of course, very important! But any large objects that could be picked up by wind present a danger to your home, the objects themselves, and other breakable items. An outdoor umbrella or gazebo can easily be picked up and hurled into a window.
Move anything that could be damaged by hail into a shed or garage – you don’t want to find your solar powered garden lights smashed to pieces, or your favourite garden gnome without his hat!
8. Check your roof for any weak spots
Have your roof checked for any damage or missing tiles. If you pop your head up through the ceiling and there’s light shining through in spots, that could be a sign of damage. A roof in good repair has a better chance of withstanding a hailstorm than a damaged one.
9. Trim overhanging branches and clean gutters and downpipes
This is something you should do regularly, even outside of hail season. This will prevent drains from clogging, which can lead to flooding when heavy rain accompanies hail.
10. Keep an emergency kit accessible
If your power goes out, you need to leave your home, or another emergency occurs, an accessible emergency kit could be essential. Make sure to keep it in a waterproof case and fill it with everything you might need - including torches with spare batteries, a radio with batteries to keep up to date with weather warnings, a UHF radio for communication in an emergency, a first aid kit, medications, and spare clothing.
- How to prepare your home for wild weather
- The most common types of Home Contents Insurance claims
- The must-have storm checklist
 ‘Damage bill from December hail storm ‘catastrophe’ nears $675 million,’ The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hannam, Jan. 7, 2019.
Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. Go to suncorp.com.au for a copy. Target Market Determination also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.