We love Spring, when the snow melts, trees bud with the promise of aromatic and resplendent foliage, and we can say goodbye to tough Winter driving.  Yes, the snow pack and ice, the blizzards and freezing cold are on their way out, and fresher, warmer days are on their way  in. The problem is, those lovely days of sun and flower gardens are not gently blown to us, they violently arrive with intense Spring weather.

Tree Down Weather events that leave damage to our cars happen year round. We are spared hurricanes and major earthquakes, but we get just about everything else. Spring and Fall are notorious in Colorado for intense, severe weather. Bad weather usually doesn’t last long, but does cause quite a bit of damage when it passes through. We have floods, hail storms, tornadoes and high wind storms, lightning strikes (albeit these are quite rare for damaging cars,) rock and mudslides to contend with. As I write this, a wicked wind storm is blowing outside. Trees devoid of any Spring buds are groaning and swaying, trash is blowing across the cow pasture, and I am confident the pilot on my hot water just blew out. In the Winter, heavy snow usually brings trees down through roofs and across highways. In the Spring, nature continues her purge of decaying and dead trees by taking them out with wind, lightning and other intense weather events.

On the wings of this wind, hail will eventually follow, one of the leading instigators of auto  body and windshield damage in Colorado. If your car gets attacked by Spring weather, you’re not alone.

According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association:

Colorado’s damaging hail season is considered to be from mid-April to mid-August. Colorado’s Front Range is located in the heart of “Hail Alley,” which receives the highest frequency of large hail in North America and most of the world, so residents usually can count on three or four catastrophic (defined as at least $25 million in insured damage) hail storms every year. In the last 10 years, hailstorms have caused more than $3 billion in insured damage in Colorado. As a result, up to one-half of your homeowners insurance premium may be going toward hail and wind damage costs. If you carry comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, hail damage is covered by almost all insurance companies. Comprehensive insurance is optional, but if you live in a hail prone area, the insurance industry recommends this coverage.

Date

Location

Cost When Occurred

(Millions)

2013 Dollars

(Millions)*

July 20, 2009

Denver Metro

$767.6

$833.5

July 11, 1990

Denver Metro

$625.0

$1.1 Billion

June 6-15, 2009

Denver Metro

$353.3

$381.2

June 6-7, 2012

CO Front Range

$321.1

$325.8

June 13-14, 1984

Denver Metro

$276.7

$620.3

July 29, 2009

Pueblo

$232.8

$252.7

October 1, 1994

Denver Metro

$225.0

$353.6

May 22, 2008

Windsor

$193.5

$209.3

July 13, 2011

CO Front Range

$164.8

$170.6

June 8-9, 2004

Denver Metro

$146.5

$180.6

August 11, 1997

Denver Metro

$128.0

$185.7

May 22, 1996

Denver Metro

$122.0

$181.1

Traffic LightsOf the 19 most deadly and costly hail storms occurring in the USA on record, 3 took place in Colorado.

  • July, 30, 1979, Fort Collins, Co. During a 40-minute hailstorm, grapefruit sized hail assaulted Fort Collins, Co. Two thousand homes and 2500 automobiles were damaged. Around 25 people were injured, primarily from head strikes from hail stones. A three month old baby was killed while her mother was running with her to seek shelter.

  • July 11, 1990, Denver, Co. Hail of softball size destroyed roofs and cars, causing $625 million in total damage. ($1.1 billion in damage adjusted to 2011 dollars)

  • July 20, 2009, Denver, Co. A hail storm in the western suburbs of Denver caused $770 million in damage.

Is there anything you can do to prepare for and avoid damaging Spring Weather? Aside from having car insurance and maintaining your car, not much. We are powerless when it comes to Mother Nature, she will do what she wants. Hopefully, if you are caught in a weather event, you will be safe, with damage confined to your car.

If your car falls victim to hail, or other damaging weather events, give your insurance company a call before you head for your local auto shop.  According to the dictates of your policy, car repair will probably be covered under a comprehensive plan. If the damage to your car was a result of a structural occurrence, like a tree crashing through your garage, a homeowner or renters policy will come in to play.