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Are Hail Storms Becoming More Frequent In Colorado?

On August 13, 2019, a 4.83 inch diameter hailstone was measured in the small rural town of Bethune in Eastern Colorado. This hailstone, which was larger than a baseball, broke the long-standing state record which was previously set at 4.5 inches.

 Storms like this beg the question -  are hail storms becoming more frequent? Statistics would appear to say yes.

Major Hail Events

In 2018, Colorado recorded 332 major hail events. A major hail event is defined as hail which is measured 1 inch or larger in diameter. This ranked only behind Texas and Kansas. 

To make matters worse, when taking into account property damage, or actual dollars, Colorado ranked first in the country, edging out Texas for the not so coveted number one ranking, according to an annual State Farm hail report. This can be explained in large part to the increasing density of population and properties along the Front Range.

“Colorado is being pushed unfortunately into that No. 1 spot [for insurance claims],” said Carole Walker with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

car with hail damage

Most still vividly recall May 8, 2017, the most expensive hail storm in Colorado history. That one storm caused $2.3 billion in damage, with the vast majority of the damage concentrated in the western suburbs of Denver. 

This is noteworthy, in that most cases, necessary repairs were delayed because the demand for repairs exceeded the capacity available, either for property damage or automobile damage.  The “cost” for this delay is not included in the $2.3 billion calculated damage.

The net result is that residents of Colorado can and should expect an increase in insurance premiums for their hail coverage. 

In addition, Coloradoans can expect higher insurance deductibles for this coverage. One typical change in deductibles is a shift from a specified dollar amount to an amount which is a percentage of the total value of the affected properties. This can significantly increase the deductible, especially on higher value buildings. For example, if a property is worth $500,000 and the deductible shifts from a $500 deductible to 2% of the total value of the property, your new deductible would be $10,000, or twenty times the previous amount.

What does the future bring?  In all likelihood, more hail.  Make sure you   to ensure that you understand your coverages and your deductibles.  Otherwise, you might be the person saying “HAIL NO”!


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