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Will a Hail Storm Ruin Your RV?

Motorhome owners have long been wary of tornadoes, but you may also need to watch for hail damage to your RV. 

You may want to check the weather before storing your camper outside or taking it out for adventures. We have gathered everything you need to know about how your rig will fair in the storm.

We’ve got all the details you need to stay safe.

Let’s check it out!

What is Hail? 

Hail comes from thunderstorms. The wind sweeps raindrops up to the below-freezing atmosphere causing the liquid to freeze. This process repeats, and frozen raindrops begin to amass into larger stones. When the wind can no longer push the hailstone upwards, it falls to the ground.

It can be very destructive, depending on the size. The frozen precipitation can be as small as a raindrop or bigger than a softball. Small chunks fall to the ground as slow as nine miles per hour, while larger ones can reach speeds over 70 miles per hour. That can cause some severe damage!

Hail can undoubtedly damage your RV. This severe weather has been known to dent cars and break windshields. It can even knock shingles off of your home’s roof. 

Hail can be quite destructive depending on how big it gets.

Which Areas Have The Most Hail?

Some places in the United States have a higher chance of storms. It most commonly occurs in the central U.S. Colorado gets more hail per capita than any other state, and Texas sees the most. Residents in Nebraska and Oklahoma also frequently experience this weather pattern. 

States in the great plains, known as hail alley, see more frozen water falling from the sky because those areas experience more thunderstorms. The eastern coasts of Georgia and South Carolina have many of them, too. Any states that see a lot of action on the radar with strong gusts of wind have a higher risk of this weather pattern.

How Big Does Hail Have To Be To Cause RV Damage? 

Pea and marble-sized hail won’t usually cause any damage, but as the ice stones grow, they become more dangerous. As it gets up to an inch across, it can do some damage, but golf ball or baseball-sized chunks are where the real problems start.

Ice chunks less than an inch usually don’t do much damage. Sometimes it can damage accessories like satellite dishes. Quarter-sized hail can crack a skylight and will hurt, so stay inside. Rubber usually survives golf ball-sized hits, but anything larger will surely damage any kind of roof. 

Even if you think your roof has no hail damage, you should still inspect it after a storm. The slightest dents can be a problem down the line.  

Driving in hail
Hail less than an inch big generally won’t do damage to your rig, but you should still inspect your RV after the storm ends.

How Do I Protect My RV From Hail Damage? 

If you live in or plan on traveling to the states in hail alley, you should know how to protect your camper. Besides the roof, it probably has exposed vents and aluminum siding that can be damaged in severe weather. You certainly don’t want stormwater seeping in to wreak havoc on your RV. 

Here we’ve gathered our best tips for protecting your rig from storms.

#1 Invest in an Extra-thick RV Cover

If storing your camper under a carport or other protected parking isn’t an option, you should probably consider getting a cover. These provide an extra layer of padding between your RV and the hail or other elements.

You’ll want to look for extra-thick covers for increased protection. Try to get 4-ply for extra protection. You should also find one that fits snugly. You don’t want any water getting trapped underneath.

Shoppers can usually find a bargain brand, but we urge spending extra for quality in this scenario. Your rig will thank you for it.

Pro Tip: Try out one of these 5 Best RV Covers to protect your rig from bad weather.

#2 Carry RV Insurance That Covers Hail Damage

You probably already have insurance for your motor home, but does it cover hail? If you’ll be traveling to any state with frequent severe weather, you should ensure that your policy doesn’t exclude the damage. 

You can call your insurance company to find out if your policy will take care of hail damage. If you don’t already have full coverage, you may be able to upgrade or ask about your options for storm protection. Make sure your insurance will pay out before it’s too late. You don’t want to be stuck with the bill if something happens to your rig.

Hail storm
If it starts to hail while you’re in your RV, try to find a covered area as soon as possible.

#3 Keep an Eye on The Weather Forecast 

With smartphones these days, checking the weather has never been easier. The best way to prevent hail damage might be to avoid it altogether. Do yourself a favor, and check the forecast before you head out camping. 

If you see severe thunderstorms in the forecast, consider rescheduling your trip. Maybe you’ll pick a new location outside the danger zone and find a new favorite camping spot. Alternatively, you can locate covered parking before you go. 

#4 Pull Over and Find a Covered Area ASAP

Those who have driven during a hail storm have probably seen the crowd of cars and RVs lined up under the freeway overpasses. If you find yourself in this severe weather, look for somewhere covered to park your rig. 

You might be able to pull over under an overpass or park under the shelter at a gas station. Not only does it impair visibility, making it unsafe to drive, but the impact of these iceballs can also seriously damage your vehicle. Make the safe choice and find shelter.

#5 Install an Extended Vent Cover 

Vents and other rooftop accessories have proven especially susceptible to hail damage. Even small pieces of ice can break these vital pieces of equipment. The strong winds can break the fan and cause an annoying rattle. 

Prevent storm-related damage by investing in an extended vent cover. They’ll protect your vents and keep water out of your rig. You can get temporary ones that you attach as needed or install a permanent version.

Pro Tip: Damage to your RV can add up quickly. We crunched the numbers to reveal How Much Does Camper Roof Replacement Cost?

Is Driving Your RV Through Hail Worth It?

Sometimes it’s just safer to avoid driving. Check the forecast ahead of time to dodge this severe weather pattern. It can cause serious damage to your RV. If you live in an area with frequent hail, get a nice camper cover and consider investing in a sheltered parking spot. 

Most importantly, check with your insurance company to ensure your policy protects against storm damage. If the worst happens, they’ll help you get the damage repaired.

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