Hail causes about $1 billion in damage to property and crops each year, and Oklahomans live in the most hail-prone region of the country, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Severe Storm database. March begins the season historically known for high hail activity, and as spring storms approach, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance wants to help Oklahomans prepare their homes and avoid incurring losses this year.

Tips to protect homes from hail damage include:

Consider installing storm related materials – Materials like wind- and hail-resistant roofing may lessen your risk of storm damage and allow you to obtain a discount on your insurance premium.

Ensure your roof meets industry standards – Check to see if your roof is comprised of materials that have a “Class 4” rating, meaning the product did not crack when hit twice in the same area by a two-inch steel ball.

Choose reputable contractors for updates – Be sure your roofer is up-to-date on the latest issues and product requirements to ensure you get the best value on a long-lasting roof. Members of the National Roof Contractor’s Association are often updated on the latest offerings. Also, be certain the roofer you choose is bonded and insured.

Ensure property values are accurate – Accurate values lead to adequate coverage and can help you avoid gaps in coverage. Update your coverage every year to asses your insurance needs.

Know your insurance coverage before a loss – You should always ask questions of your agent to be informed about your coverage needs, and you never want to wait until you’ve had a claim to learn that you don’t have adequate coverage in place.