Common Types of Storms

The following are some of the most common types of damaging storms in the U.S. To be prepared, check your insurance policy and make sure you are covered for all the types of storms that affect your areas. Flooding and earthquakes are not covered by most insurance policies, but hail, windstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes are typically covered by most insurance. It is always a good idea to check your individual policy and have a good understanding of your level of protection, and purchase additional protection if necessary.

Hail Storms

Many residents living in the U.S. have already experienced a severe hailstorm and witnessed the damage hail can cause to homes, automobiles, businesses and other property. When a hailstorm hits, it does the greatest amount of damage to the exterior of your home or property. Common types of damage caused by hail are: roof damage, siding damage, shingle damage, window damage and automobile damage. Click here to learn more about hail storms or learn how to identify hail damage.


Thunderstorms can produce many types of damaging weather such as lightning, hail, tornadoes, straight-line winds, flooding and more. The biggest contributors to damaged property are likely hail and wind, which can cause many types of exterior property damage. Learn more about thunderstorms here.

Ice Storms

Ice storms produce freezing rain that coats everything in its path with a layer of glaze ice. Generally speaking, if a storm causes accumulation of more than a quarter inch on exposed surfaces, the storm can be classified as an ice storm. This type of accumulation can cause broken tree branches, power outages and other hazardous conditions.


For many areas around the U.S., damage from severe tornadoes presents a very real threat. Most tornado damage is done by high winds, with recorded speeds exceeding 300 MPH and the flying debris propelled by these fierce winds. The most damage from tornadoes happens in "tornado alley" - a part of the U.S. that includes Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, etc.


You may be surprised to learn that lightning is a major cause of storm damage in many areas around the country. The National Lightning Safety Institute estimates the cost of lightning damage in the $5 to $6 billion dollar per year range. Lightning that hits trees and the ground is a common cause of wildfires, structure fires, property damage and power outages. Learn more about thunderstorms and lightning here.

Heavy Snow / Blizzards

Blizzards are severe winter storms that combine heavy snowfall, with high winds and freezing temperatures. The combination of cold, wind and snow damages homes, businesses and automobiles. Heavy snow can produce dangerous conditions, including roof collapse.


Floods are typically the result of heavy rain and water that rises faster than storm drains can handle. Flash floods driven by quick, violent bursts of rain can flood homes, basements and businesses, causing serious damage to both interiors and exteriors. Flooding is a very dangerous storm phenomenon that results in numerous deaths and extensive property damage each year.

Derecho Storms

A derecho is a large, violent, fast-moving, complex of thunderstorms that follow one another along a path of at least 240 miles, with wind gusts of at least 58 mph. Although derechos are very difficult to predict, they often form along the boundary of a large, hot air mass near a jet stream air current. Learn more about derecho storms.

Tropical Storms

A tropical storm is a type of storm system that develops in tropical environments. These storms are characterized by extremely low pressure systems and high speed, swirling winds. In order for a storm to be classified as a "tropical storm", a specific set of circumstances must exist. In order to be a tropical storm, the wind speed must be between 39 and 73 miles per hour. Lower or higher wind speeds would be another classification (lower: tropical depression, higher: hurricane). Click here to learn more about tropical storms.


A Hurricane is the most powerful classification given to a tropical cyclone. Characterized by low barometric pressure systems, extremely high winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges and swells - hurricanes that make landfall can be extremely destructive. Click here to learn more about hurricanes.

Storm Damage?

Get a free damage inspection from one of our certified contractors.


If you are a reputable contractor, learn more about certification.

The National Storm Damage Center provides everything you need to prepare for and recover from severe storm damage.