Thunderstorms are a natural occurrence that you generally don’t need to worry too much about. However, when a thunderstorm turns severe, it could result in hail pouring from the sky. These pieces of ice can cause significant damage as well as threaten your safety if you don’t know what to do when they fall.

Get or Stay Inside

Ideally, you will head indoors the moment that you hear thunder, see lightning, or notice other signs of an impending storm. However, if you are caught outside when hail starts to fall, be sure to seek shelter immediately. If you are already indoors during a hail event, stay indoors for your own safety. Avoiding injury is more important than trying to finish yard work or attempting to bring in the car.

Close All Window Treatments

The first thing you’ll want to do once you and your family are inside is to close all blinds, drapes, shutters, and shades. Depending on the size of the hail, your windows may break or shatter. Keeping your window treatments closed will prevent shattered glass from flying far into your home. This can make it less likely that you or anyone else in the home is injured during the storm or by any debris in the home after the storm ends.

Get to the Basement and Stay Away from Doors and Windows

Once you have closed your window treatments, you should get as far away as possible from windows, skylights, and doors. This will further prevent you from being injured by glass or other debris. Your best option is to get into the basement or cellar, as the hail might send roof debris toward the ground. If you don’t have a basement or cellar, go to an interior room that doesn’t have any windows in it and seek cover under a table. Covering yourself in blankets or other soft items can also be effective.

Evaluate the Damage

After the storm has passed, thoroughly inspect the home to determine the extent of the damage. You should check the roof, siding, and any other areas that may have been damaged or weakened in the storm. As you inspect the home, be sure to avoid downed power lines or tree branches, and cover broken windows and holes in the roof. If shingles are missing or decking is exposed, call a roof repair professional immediately. It may also be a good idea to call your insurance company to see if the repairs are covered.

During a severe weather event, your top priority should be keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. While it is possible to replace a car, a damaged roof, or other property, a person cannot be easily replaced. Also, it may be a good idea to review your homeowner insurance policy regularly to help you stay prepared for hail or other hazards.