What Size Hail Will Damage A Roof?


When hail rolls through town, which it often does here in Kansas City, homeowners wonder whether damage has been done to their home. The question we are asked most often here on the website is, “How long do I have after hail hits to file an insurance claim?” But another question that can be asked is, “What size hail will damage my roof?” Of course, the answer to that question must be arrived at with some further information, such as what type of roofing material your home has, how long the hail storm lasted, and what the other storm conditions were. Strong winds can cause significant damage to a roof also. However, even without those other variables, we can take a good guess as to whether a roof has been damaged.


Pea-Sized Hail (1/4 inch)

A “mild” hailstorm might produce pea-sized hail for only a couple of minutes before the hailstones shift back to a steady rainfall. When this is the case, a roof can often fare just fine. Of course, the age and condition of the roof should be taken into account. If the roof was already damaged or compromised, then pea-sized hail might cause further damage or leaking.


Marble-Sized Hail (1/2 inch)

Marble-sized hail can also fall into this “safe” zone, and not normally cause damage to a roof. However, it should be noted that hail is produced by wind updrafts shooting raindrops higher into the atmosphere, where it freeze, before it falls to your roof. The more extreme the wind, the larger hailstones will be. Therefore, as hailstones get bigger, wind damage should also be considered.


Dime to Quarter-sized Hail (3/4 to 1 inch)

Any hailstones larger than ½ inch warrant an immediate call to a reputable, local roofer– one who is able to meet with you and your insurance agent to discuss the possible damage. Hail of this size often results in damage to homes, which, left unaddressed, can lead to more extensive, expensive, and even dangerous conditions.


Golf Ball-sized Hail (1 ¾ to 4 ½ inch)

Hail of this size is not uncommon in Kansas City. In fact, in July of 2018, golf ball-sized hail damaged homes across Kansas City, including neighborhoods in Lee’s Summit, Independence, Lone Jack, Pleasant Hill, and Warrensburg. When storms with hail this size roll through, it is almost certain that there is significant damage.


Going back now to the question we are most often asked here, “How long do I have after hail hits to file an insurance claim?” the answer surprises most. Many insurance companies allow a homeowner a full twelve months to file a claim for roof hail damage. This is important to note as over the past year there have been a number of storms with hail one or more inches in diameter. Check out our updated hail map to see whether your neighborhood was affected by these storms.