These 10 States Are the Most Vulnerable to Hail Damage in 2023

Kim Porter
Written byKim Porter
Kim Porter
Kim Porter
  • Co-authored the book “Future Millionaires’ Guidebook”

  • 13 years writing personal finance content

A former chief copy editor at Bankrate and past managing editor at Macmillan, Kim specializes in writing easy-to-understand, actionable personal finance content.

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Tanveen Vohra
Edited byTanveen Vohra
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
  • Property and casualty insurance specialist

  • 4+ years creating insurance content

Tanveen manages Insurify's data insights, annual home and auto insurance reports, and media communications. She’s regularly featured in media interviews on insurance topics.

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Published April 5, 2023 at 5:00 PM PDT

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Hail doesn’t always rank high on the list of weather-related disasters that raise concern, but hail causes an estimated $1.07 billion in property damage across the U.S. every year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Some hailstones are pea-sized and therefore less likely to do damage. But when a severe thunderstorm sweeps through, it can produce larger hailstones — some as large as a grapefruit — and wreak havoc on anything in its path.

Car damage from hail can range from simple dents to pummeled tires, punctured roofs, and busted windows. The cost of fixing that damage can range from $30 to $300 or more per dent, and about $3,000 in total. Comprehensive coverage, one part of a full-coverage policy, usually covers this type of damage after you pay the deductible. 

But state laws don’t require comprehensive coverage, and about 4 in 10 Americans choose not to buy it, according to Insurify data. That could leave you footing the repair bill if hail damages your car.

While hailstorms can hit every state in the U.S., some are more vulnerable than others. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska experience the most hailstorms on average each year, but only about half of the drivers in those states have enough insurance coverage to cover the resulting damage.

To identify the states most vulnerable to hail damage, the data science team at Insurify turned to their database of more than 4.6 million car insurance applications, as well as frequency and financial loss data from FEMA. Using this data, our data scientists assigned each state an uninsured hail risk score, which weighs each state’s population, the number of hail events it experiences, the expected cost of the losses, and the percentage of drivers in the state who have the relevant car insurance coverage to cover those losses.

Insights

  • Nebraska ranks No. 1 for uninsured hail risk across the U.S. An average of 206 hailstorms hit the state each year, causing an estimated $50.8 million in property damage, according to FEMA. But just 56% of the state’s drivers have a full-coverage car insurance policy. That means nearly half of Nebraska’s drivers lack the insurance necessary to pay for the resulting repairs.

  • Hail causes an estimated $1.07 billion in property damage across the U.S. each year, ranging from as low as $23,387 in Rhode Island to as high as $338.6 million in Texas, FEMA data shows.

  • The top 10 states most at risk of hail are clustered together in the southwestern and midwestern regions of the U.S. On average, 55% of drivers in these states carry comprehensive coverage, while the remaining 45% are vulnerable to paying out of pocket for hail-related damages to their vehicles.

  • The percentage of drivers without comprehensive insurance was lower than the national average in six out of the 10 states featured on our list.

  • North Dakota stands out as the No. 3 state most vulnerable to hail damage. However, 35% of North Dakota drivers lack the car insurance coverage necessary to pay for hail damage to their vehicles.

  • Among the top 10 states most vulnerable to hail damage, drivers in two states are relatively well-equipped to deal with the costs. About 69% of South Dakota drivers and 61% of Colorado drivers have full-coverage car insurance.

  • California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are the least vulnerable to hail damage.

States most vulnerable to hail damage

Hail can fall anywhere in the U.S., but drivers in the following states are especially vulnerable to hail damage due to a combination of the incidence of hail-related events, the financial loss resulting from those events, and the proportion of the state’s population without the insurance to cover damages from hail.

10. Arkansas

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 19.9 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $4.76

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 49%

Each year, Arkansas experiences around 160 hail events that collectively cause $13.9 million in financial losses. Severe thunderstorms routinely batter the state. These storms can produce tornadoes, floods, and hailstones the size of golf balls in some cases. Just 49% of Arkansas drivers have full-coverage car insurance, leaving more than half vulnerable to paying out of pocket for damage from these storms.

9. Missouri

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 29.6 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $8.29

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 56%

Thunderstorms can roll through Missouri any time of the year, but most occur between May and August. Hailstorms cause an estimated $49.7 million in financial losses per year in Missouri, but just 56% of drivers here have full-coverage car insurance to deal with any damage from those storms.

8. Iowa

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 30.7 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $9.10

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 59%

The Great Plains — a high plateau composed largely of grasslands — are at a higher elevation than the rest of the U.S. and offer the best conditions for hail to form. The largest and most frequent hailstorms sweep over the Great Plains during the spring and summer. All the states on this list are part of the Great Plains, with the exception of Arkansas and Missouri.

Iowa experiences 177 hail events per year on average, and the storms cause about $27.7 million in financial losses. The percentage of drivers with full coverage — 59% — slightly exceeds the national average of 57%.

7. South Dakota

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 39.3 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $15.57

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 69%

No stranger to extreme weather, South Dakota holds the record for the largest hailstone ever recorded in the U.S. The volleyball-sized ice chunk, which fell in Vivian, South Dakota, in 2010, measured 8 inches in diameter and weighed 1.93 pounds.

This state experiences 134 hail events on average each year, collectively causing $12.7 million in financial losses. More than two-thirds (69%) of South Dakota’s drivers have full-coverage car insurance, making the state the most well-protected against hail damage.

6. Kansas

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 40.6 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $11.49

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 57%

Before South Dakota claimed the honor in 2010, Kansas held the record for largest hailstone recovered in the U.S. since 1970. The hailstone in Coffeyville, Kansas, fell at an estimated speed of 105 mph, making it the fastest ever recorded.

Kansas experiences 312 hail events each year — the highest number of any state — and suffers an estimated $32.8 million in financial losses. The percentage of drivers with comprehensive coverage, 57%, matches the national average.

5. Texas

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 53.8 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $13.47

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 51%

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that’s true for its hailstorms, too. The state experiences 124 hail events per year and suffers a staggering $338.6 million in property damage. Colorado, the state with the next-highest property damage bill, experiences less than half the property damage. But just 51% of drivers in Texas have enough car insurance to pay for damage resulting from a hailstorm.

4. Oklahoma

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 72.1 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $21.46

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 59%

A robust insurance policy is a smart purchase in Oklahoma, where residents experience 297 hail events on average each year — along with tornadoes, floods, fires, droughts, and severe winter storms. And while financial losses are estimated at $80.4 million per year, some storms are costlier than others. One such “billion-dollar storm” swept through Oklahoma and Texas in 2021, spitting hail as large as softballs and sending wind gusts of up to 69 mph.

The percentage of drivers with full coverage in Oklahoma, 59%, is slightly higher than the national average.

3. North Dakota

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 72.6 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $13.69

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 35%

North Dakota gets 86 hail events per year on average, causing $9.2 million in property damage. The state’s high Uninsured Hail Risk Score is due to the small percentage of people with comprehensive car insurance. Only one other state in the entire U.S. — Delaware — has fewer people carrying full coverage.

2. Colorado

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 95.8 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $30.07

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 61%

Colorado residents experience 94 hail events per year on average. However, the state has the second-highest average financial loss in the U.S., at $151 million, and the highest per-capita loss, at $30.07. The percentage of drivers with full-coverage car insurance is 61%, which is higher than the national average.

1. Nebraska

  • Uninsured Hail Risk Score: 100 (out of 100)

  • Expected yearly per capita financial losses from hail: $27.81

  • Share of drivers with full-coverage car insurance: 56%

Insurify’s data scientists identified Nebraska as the state most vulnerable to hail damage, in large part due to the high number of hail events it sees, the cost of the resulting damage, and the low share of its population with the necessary car insurance to cover repairs to their vehicles.

The state sees 206 hail events per year on average, suffering $50.8 million in financial losses each year as a result. The percentage of drivers with full-coverage car insurance is 56%, which is lower than the national average.

Methodology

To determine the states where drivers are most vulnerable to hail damage, the data science team at Insurify turned to data from their proprietary database of car insurance applications, as well as data from FEMA.

When drivers apply for car insurance, they select their desired level of coverage. Their options range from the most basic liability-only coverage to full-coverage protection, which includes comprehensive coverage for damages to their vehicle from natural disasters, such as hail. Insurify identified the proportion of drivers in each state who are financially vulnerable to hail damages by identifying the share of drivers who drive without full-coverage insurance.

To identify each state’s risk of hail damage, the data science team turned to FEMA, which provides state-level data on hail risk, including the average number of hailstorms per year and how much property damage those storms cause. To create each state’s Uninsured Hail Risk Score, Insurify’s data scientists combined each state’s yearly expected financial property damages due to hail with the number of drivers who aren’t covered for hail damages. As a result, states that rank the highest not only see high levels of damaging hail every year but also have a high number of drivers whose vehicles aren’t financially protected against that damage.

Conclusion

The majority of the states featured on this list have a lower-than-average rate of drivers with comprehensive coverage, making these drivers vulnerable to paying for hail damage to their vehicles out of their own pocket. Of the top 10 on this list, only Colorado, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Iowa had above-average rates of drivers with full-coverage car insurance.

But because hail can fall in any state, it’s a good idea to protect yourself financially no matter where you live by purchasing a full-coverage car insurance policy. Alabama, for instance, has one of the lowest Uninsured Hail Risk Scores of 1.8. But in 2018, a storm there produced a hailstone larger than 5 inches — enough to do serious damage to your property.

Severe thunderstorms’ paths are growing and leaving more damage behind, according to a report from data analytics and risk assessment firm Verisk. Additionally, storms with larger hailstones — at least 2 inches in diameter — are increasing around the Midwest and Northeast. 

In addition to damage from hail, full-coverage car insurance, which includes comprehensive coverage, generally covers most claims for damage to your vehicle. So if your car is stolen, vandalized, damaged by natural disasters, or collides with another vehicle or object, this coverage can help pay for repairs to your vehicle.

Kim Porter
Kim Porter

Kim Porter is a writer and editor who's been creating personal finance content since 2010. Before transitioning to full-time freelance writing in 2018, Kim was the chief copy editor at Bankrate, a managing editor at Macmillan, and co-author of the personal finance book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook." Her work has appeared in AARP's print magazine and on sites such as U.S. News & World Report, Fortune, NextAdvisor, Credit Karma, and more. Kim loves to bake and exercise in her free time, and she plans to run a half marathon on each continent.

Tanveen Vohra
Edited byTanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
  • Property and casualty insurance specialist

  • 4+ years creating insurance content

Tanveen manages Insurify's data insights, annual home and auto insurance reports, and media communications. She’s regularly featured in media interviews on insurance topics.

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