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Old 06-03-2016, 11:08 AM   #1
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My Greatest AS Worry: Hail

After three years I find the Airstream experience to be pretty mellow. I know there are things to be concerned about but I try and use the Boy Scout motto and accept and deal with things as they come. There's only one thing I fret about - hail.

I feel fortunate to have bought a very gently used '90 25' Excella. It was used as a guesthouse on an estate in Santa Barbara for many years and shows very little wear and tear. The oven had never been used when we got it (which has come to an end as my wife loves to bake). And the clearcoat is intact and close to perfect.

I work hard at maintenance, particularly the clearcoat. I apply Liquid Glass, an acrylic polymer, twice a year. The trailer is parked inside over the winter but spends the summer outside. Which is where the concern comes from.

I live in Sisters, Oregon, at the base of the Oregon Cascades. Hail is not uncommon here and it appears to have the potential to wreak instant havoc on our aluminum skinned beauties.

Is anyone aware of a defensive measure to protect a trailer exposed to the elements? If possible hail is in the forecast, would it be effective to temporarily place a tarp or other cover of some type over the trailer?

What kind of coverage is provided by insurance? I have an agreed value policy. A trailer remains functional after suffering hail damage but with great dimunition of value. Is that covered?

Thanks for your input.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:19 AM   #2
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My own trailer came out of FL, and it has hail dents in both end caps. Well, it's got some on the roof as well, but you can't see them. I've thought of calling one of those "paintless dent remover" guys to see if they could do anything with it, but once you stretch the aluminum, you have to shrink the metal. You typically can't just beat the dent out.

I'm not sure what you could put over it. I'm thinking something like carpet foam padding. Just a tarp I don't think would do much. You need something that would actually cushion the blows.

Most of the hail storms I've been in were accompanied by high winds, so you'd need to be able to throw your pad over and tie it down as well. Maybe lay the padding on the end caps and throw a tarp over it that has eyelets that you could run under the trailer and tie it on securely. If you had a little warning, something like that might work.

Best of luck,
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:26 AM   #3
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Tagging on because this is a worry of mine as well. In Colorado hail this time of year can almost be a daily risk.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:26 AM   #4
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Thanks Jim, good suggestions. I may try to fashion a cover of some kind.

I took this picture a couple blocks from my house and where my trailer is stored. Beautiful mountains but they can deliver some extreme weather.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:27 AM   #5
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You guys worry too much . Just enjoy your AS and if something happens then deal with it.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:32 AM   #6
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You guys worry too much . Just enjoy your AS and if something happens then deal with it.
That is (almost) always my attitude with my trailer, and with my life for that matter. But this one bugs me. We're all entitled to at least a couple of idiosyncracies, right? Maybe I suffer from cryophobia (had that in a crossword a while back).
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:42 AM   #7
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It may be a futile situation in trying to cover your trailer. Quite honestly the odds are you will be hit sometime. The question is how bad the hail is. I've been in one storm that put small dent's in my old Hi-Lo around 1983. Most of them were on the roof out of sight. The Hi-Lo had an aluminum roof over plywood. I was on the road at the time and pulled under a tree to hope to lessen the damage. As it ended up I took a cash settlement from the insurance company and never fixed the damage.

We had a storm up here that hit the Airstream dealer back in April of 2001. Some stones were a big as baseballs and softballs. The lot of new trailers and trailers awaiting service was a shambles. Especially hard hit were the end caps that looked like a basket ball had caved in the corners.

I think there was an WBCCI International Rally up in North or South Dakota that got hit years ago. Millions of dollars of damage up there.

Bottom line it will happen. When and how bad is always up for grabs. If you store your trailer outside, then the odds will be it will happen when you aren't out on the road. Like others have stated, understand your insurance coverage and choose the right carrier. I'm using Progressive and have a modified replacement value policy. When the trailer was new, it would replace the trailer with a current model with same features for the first 5 years. Now it has turned to a stated value policy which has a floor of 70K, no matter the age of the trailer. Won't buy me the same trailer but could take a lot of sting out of a total loss. With the stated value I'm at least assured that any loss probably would be repaired rather than totaled.

Personally I've always felt that the odds of the trailer getting totaled by weather were probably the greatest risk of having any travel trailer. It's also why I'm fortunate to have indoor storage.

Jack
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:51 AM   #8
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My trailer is stored in a lot for my neighborhood. I think I would be allowed to build a shelter for it. Does anyone have experience with this type?


I notice that they come with aluminum or canvas tops. Any experience with how they fare in winds?

Thanks,
John
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:56 AM   #9
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John - For storage at home I bought a Shelter Logic unit from Northern Tool and Equipment. I live in "hail alley" in Colorado and seem to get pummeled every summer. The unit I bought is rated for 95mph winds and 40 pounds per square foot snow load. At least it's protected in my driveway. On the road or in the campground...oh well...life happens!
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Old 06-03-2016, 01:55 PM   #10
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We were in South Dakota last year.... the forecast called for grapefruit sized hail every night for a week. It was a heart stopping moment!
we were lucky to get away with just a few very small dimples..... all of which have dissapeared with the heat and cool cycles of the past year.
I have however seen Airstreams with every literal inch covered in dents. I even saw a new smallish Airstream in Yellowstone NP with penetrations to the skin. Dents and damage are all a part of owning a Airstream.
Insurance must include hail damage coverage. Make certain it is worded as such or includes that specific coverage!
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Old 06-03-2016, 03:41 PM   #11
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Last year, on our way to Sisters, we got caught in the biggest hail storm we've encountered. It was on I84 in Utah, where they had permanent signs warning of severe storms, by the way. We pulled over and just accepted the fact that we'd have dents. After the storm passed we continued on to our next stop. When we inspected the trailer, there wasn't a single dent.

So my take is that it takes really big hailstones or extremely high winds to cause damage. Driving at any speed would no doubt exasperate the problem.

That being said, we have run of the mill thunderstorms predicted for the weekend so I'm not taking the FC out of the barn yet!
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Old 06-03-2016, 03:45 PM   #12
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The US Army now uses what I'd describe as an inflatable quonset hut to house troops for medium to long term. And the really nice thing is that can be assembled in 20 foot sections - unlimited length. I've thought of looking into something like that, but the key question (after cost) would be HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO INFLATE? If money weren't an object I'd say you need something like an inflatable life raft inverted over the top of your Airstream - with tiedowns and heavy nylon net sides so the air can pass through but the boat stays in place and the hail that wants to hit the sides is deflected.

With hail you sometimes have just a minute or two to get under cover or get hit. And while hail generally comes straight down - in a bad storm I've seen it destroy one side of a wooden building while daisies planted on the opposite side were undamaged.

I've hung out under an overpass for 10 minutes - thinking I'd already been dinged but could at least protect the skylights. Got lucky, not a mark.

OTOH - I heard and saw the weather report of hail in Texas that was so bad people who were hiding IN their cars had to get out as the glass shattered and hide UNDER them. A few people in a park got under wooden picnic tables which were almost demolished to splinters by the time the record long term hail ended. No one died in that one, but there were broken bones and severe cuts and bruises.
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Old 06-03-2016, 04:00 PM   #13
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The US Army now uses what I'd describe as an inflatable quonset hut to house troops for medium to long term. And the really nice thing is that can be assembled in 20 foot sections - unlimited length. I've thought of looking into something like that, but the key question (after cost) would be HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO INFLATE? If money weren't an object I'd say you need something like an inflatable life raft inverted over the top of your Airstream - with tiedowns and heavy nylon net sides so the air can pass through but the boat stays in place and the hail that wants to hit the sides is deflected.

With hail you sometimes have just a minute or two to get under cover or get hit. And while hail generally comes straight down - in a bad storm I've seen it destroy one side of a wooden building while daisies planted on the opposite side were undamaged.

I've hung out under an overpass for 10 minutes - thinking I'd already been dinged but could at least protect the skylights. Got lucky, not a mark.

OTOH - I heard and saw the weather report of hail in Texas that was so bad people who were hiding IN their cars had to get out as the glass shattered and hide UNDER them. A few people in a park got under wooden picnic tables which were almost demolished to splinters by the time the record long term hail ended. No one died in that one, but there were broken bones and severe cuts and bruises.
I hate when that happens.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:25 AM   #14
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Best option is to store it under cover. But then when you actually use the trailer it is exposed. It's a risk we accept. My AS is a one family trailer and we've used for nearly 50 years and the worst thing that happened was a low flying duck (yes really) hit the front curb side panel and dented it in pretty good. It is fixed now with a replacement panel. For me it's not a rolling museum it's a trailer and will earn wear and tear by being used for what it was built for.
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