10:32 AM

State Farm® educates current and future homeowners about hail

Weeks of research, measuring, marking, cutting, and hammering culminated in a significant moment for a group of science students from Thomas Metcalf School.

On March 1, the students visited the State Farm® Technology Research and Innovation Laboratory (TRAIL) in Bloomington, IL, to face the ultimate test: Could their student-built roofs stand up to the State Farm Hail Simulator, a piece of research equipment designed to mimic the wrath of Mother Nature herself.

Around the room, the students’ sample roofs made of asphalt shingles and metal – and even one built with ecologically sustainable materials– were getting final tweaks. Then, with nervous excitement, the students placed the roofs below a tower of tubes loaded with steal ball bearings that simulate the impact energies of free-falling hail. Some roofs held up better than others. It is all part of the learning process.

The students were also treated to a demonstration of an ice launcher that is used by State Farm researchers to study the performance of roofing materials. 

Doug Dewey, Senior Research Analyst, State Farm Enterprise Research, worked with the Metcalf students prior to the big test day. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate. What a wonderful group of students who truly have a passion for physics and science”, said Dewey. “I especially enjoyed my discussions with each of the project teams and their thought processes in developing their real-world roofing solutions to combat wind and hail.”

With Doug’s guidance, the students absorbed a rainfall of knowledge about roofs, the science behind hail and how it ties to being prepared for severe spring weather. “We have an incredible group of researchers here at State Farm with decades of experience”, says Laurel Straub, Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Research at State Farm. “Anytime we can leverage our internal expertise to help educate our community, we get excited to be involved.”

Prepare for hail by being weather aware

If weather conditions turn severe, consider these tips to help prepare for severe weather.

  • Now is the perfect time to call your insurance agent and review your coverage. After a hailstorm is not the time to find out your coverage is outdated.
  • Update your home inventory by taking pictures and video of your property for a detailed digital record. This can help with the claims process should damage occur.
  • Stay connected to forecasts when severe weather threatens and listen to warning signs issued by authorities.
  • Personal safety is the number one priority and if you are indoors when a hailstorm hits, stay there. Hail can shatter windows so close drapes, blinds or window shades to reduce the amount of broken glass that might blow inside.
  • When building or remodeling, consider impact resistant roofing to help reduce hail damage to your home. State Farm currently offers insurance premium discounts to eligible homeowners in many states with qualifying impact-resistant roofing products.

Don’t forget your vehicles

While nothing can stop hail from falling, there are steps you can take to help protect or reduce damage to vehicles.

  • Plan ahead. If a storm is forecast, plan to park your vehicle under cover in a garage or carport, delay your trip or use an alternative mode of transportation.
  • Raid the closet - If your home doesn't have a garage, cover the car with any thick blankets, comforters, or even large towels that you have on hand. The more layers the better to add as much cushioning as possible.
  • Avoid parking under trees as branches could fall on your vehicle.
  • If you are driving when hail is predicted, head for the closest parking garage to ride out the storm in safety. If you can't reach it before the hailstones hit, safely pull under a gas station canopy or a similar spot that can help protect your car from hail damage.

After the storm

  • After a hailstorm, visually inspect your home for structural damage, take pictures and, if possible, move your personal belongings to prevent further damage.
  • State Farm policyholders are encouraged to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. For example, board up holes with plywood and cover leaks with plastic sheeting.
  • Policyholders should save receipts related to home repairs, vehicle towing, temporary housing, meals and other living expenses. Expenses may be eligible for reimbursement after any required deductibles are met.
  • State Farm customers who have damage can start the claim process by contacting your agent, calling 1-800-SFCLAIM, filing online at® or on the State Farm mobile app
About State Farm®:

For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, lifehealth, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

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