S.C. in Top 10 for State Farm hail claims

File/Staff A storm in 2011 covered the ground with hail in parts of West Ashley.

Video of ice balls falling from the sky generally accompanies big storms in the Great Plains and Midwest, the heartland of tornadoes.

But hail affects all 50 states, and South Carolina is in the Top 10 of insurance claims, according to State Farm, the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S.

The Palmetto State comes in at No. 6. with more than 20,000 claims last year. Texas, which is eight times bigger geographically than South Carolina, topped the list with about 52,000 claims.

Hail damage to homes and cars for State Farm policyholders costs more than $2.4 billion last year.

“While nothing can stop hail from falling, there are ways to reduce the amount of property damage,” State Farm spokesman Justin Tomczak said. “When building or remodeling your home, consider impact-resistant roofing products to reduce hail damage to the roof. Your home’s roof is like a helmet. Just like a helmet protects a person’s head, the roof is your home’s first line of defense against hail damage.”

Some shingles are designed to withstand the bombardment of hail and reduce the risk of hail damage and prolong the life of roofs. Insurance premium discounts can be offered to those with impact-resistant roofing products.

If a hail storm hits, stay inside and away from windows and doors. Keep trees pruned, park cars in a garage or carport, don’t park under trees, and cover cars with a thick blanket if left outside.

After a hail storm, visually inspect property, take pictures and move personal belongings to prevent further damage.

Call your insurance agent or claims office. After an adjuster surveys the damage, select a reputable roofing company or auto body shop for repairs. Be leery of out-of-town roofers who move into the area and set up shop following a storm. Many are reputable, but some aren’t. Get everything in writing.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.