Sidewalk and grass covered in hail.

What to Do During a Hailstorm

Updated March 1, 2024 . AmFam Team

No matter where you are when they come along, hailstorms can be stressful. Taking the right precautions is crucial to keep your family, pets and belongings safe while it storms. Take these tips into account the next time severe weather strikes.

The outside of a house during a hailstorm.

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Caught Outside in a Hailstorm

When hail starts to fall while you’re outside, it’s time to take action. Use these tips to get everyone around you to safety as soon as possible:

Get inside. If possible, seek shelter in your home or any public building. Even small hail can be dangerous and cause serious injury. Get a roof over your head, and fast.

Person caught walking in a storm, covering her head with her hands.

Protect your head. Whether you’re making your way to shelter or have to wait out the storm outside, protect your head with anything you can — a sweatshirt, jacket or backpack can work well if you don’t have anything solid to cover yourself with.

Lightning striking trees.

Avoid sheltering under trees. If you are out and about and don’t have access to shelter, don't head for the trees. Most of the time, hail will be accompanied by lightning, which can strike trees, break branches and cause electrocution.

Prepare for bad weather. Before you head out for a day outdoors for an activity with little access to shelter, check the weather. If there’s a chance for severe storms, consider rescheduling for a day with a clear forecast.

Traffic during a storm.

Driving in a Hailstorm

While it’s better to be in your car than outside during a hailstorm, you still need to take proper precautions to avoid danger during severe weather. Check out these tips for keeping yourself and your passengers safe when you’re driving through hail:

Don’t leave your vehicle. Stay put, no matter how badly you want to make it inside your home or other building. You’ve got a solid roof over your head already, so hunker down and wait it out.

Vehicle pulled over on the side of the road with a warning triangle in the foreground.

Pull over to a safe location. As you’re driving, your vehicle's speed, combined with the speed of falling hail, does more damage to your car and its windows, increasing the risk of breaking them. Pull over to the side of the road away from traffic and turn on your hazard lights as soon as possible.

Situate yourself and your passengers away from windows. While it might seem like a silly tip, moving yourself toward the middle of the vehicle and away from the windows a few more inches can save you from serious injury. If hail does break a window, you’ll want to be as far away as possible.

Cover your head and eyes. Broken glass is very dangerous, so cover your and your passengers' heads and eyes with anything in the car, like a blanket, coat or sweatshirt.

The hood of a car covered in dents from a hailstorm.

Drive to safety and check your vehicle. Once the hail, rain and lightning have stopped, get your car to a safe location and check it for any damage.

Unsure if your car is covered for hail damage? Ask your American Family Insurance agent about comprehensive car insurance, coverage that protects you if your vehicle experiences damage other than a collision with another vehicle.

Young girl starting at a storm outside from a window.

Indoors During a Hailstorm

The ideal location during a hailstorm is a secure building, such as your workplace or home. Remain indoors and make safety a number one priority by doing the following until the hail stops:

Account for all family members and pets. Ensure all family members are indoors, including your pets. Falling hail can seriously hurt outdoor animals, too. Make sure they’re sheltered in your garage or shed.

Stay inside. You won’t want to play in the rain during this storm type, so wait until it's over. Even after the storm clears, the remnants of hail can be a serious falling hazard, so proceed outdoors cautiously.

Closed wood blinds.

Move back from the windows and close the curtains. Hail is rare, and it’s easy to get caught staring out the window and marveling at nature — but with its ability to break glass, think safety first and close your windows, move away and pull the curtains until the storm is over.

A plug with a wall outlet in the background.

Avoid using or touching electric appliances. Lightning can travel through your home’s wiring and injure you if you’re in contact with an appliance.

A broken window.

Check your home for damage after the storm. Once the storm has passed and you’ve checked the weather radar to ensure no others are following it, inspect your home and exposed belongings for dents and cracks.

Do you see hail damage? Get in touch with your American Family Insurance agent or file a claim to get an adjuster to review the damage and estimate its repair cost.

Want to make your claims experience even easier? Submit via the MyAmFam app and get access to claim updates, schedule payments and find your policy documents with the tap of your finger, any time.

An insurance adjuster inspecting a building.

Your agent can help you with your homeowners coverage. When the unexpected happens, they’ve got your back — and even before a storm damages your home, your agent is happy to answer any questions about your insurance policy.

This article is for informational purposes only and based on information that is widely available. We do not make any guarantees or promise any results based on this information. This information is not part of your policy and is not a promise or guarantee of coverage. Coverage may vary by state and may be subject to change. Some products are not available in every state.

*Customers who bundle home and auto insurance policies may save up to 23% on both policies together (as of December 2023). Discounts may vary by state, property, policy form and company underwriting the home and/or auto policy. Discounts may not apply to all coverages on a home or auto policy.

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