The Insurance You Need to Fix Hail Damage on Your Car
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If you ever get caught in a severe storm that involves hail, your vehicle could sustain serious damage. Hail can range in size from tiny pieces to golf ball – or baseball- sized stones, and it can cause significant damage to your vehicle leading to expensive repairs. You’re most likely to see hail in the spring and summer months of May to August when bad storms are more common. Fortunately, if you have the right type of car insurance, you don’t have to manage getting your car repaired on your own.
Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
We know our auto insurance should protect us in the event of an accident or theft, but what about damages from a hail storm?
It really depends on the type of insurance you have.
If you have comprehensive car insurance you’re set. Your insurance company should help cover all or part of the repair bills for your vehicle depending on the specific details of your policy.
But, if you chose liability coverage, fixing damages will be much more expensive. That’s because liability coverage doesn’t protect you in the event of natural weather occurrences such as a hail storm.
Since comprehensive coverage isn’t required in the United States, you might have chosen liability coverage to keep your premiums at a minimum and this is one of the downsides of skimping on your auto insurance.
If your vehicle hasn’t already experienced hail damage and you live in a state where it’s common, we highly recommend you consider adding comprehensive coverage to your policy.
Not only will a comprehensive policy cover damages from a hail storm, but also:
- Flood and fire damage
- Damage from natural disasters
- Glass damage
- And more!
You’ll end up paying more for your premium, but it can save you in the long run if your vehicle is ever damaged.
Worried about whether you can afford comprehensive coverage? We help drivers find the most affordable plan to fit their budget and their needs. Just use our simple auto insurance calculator to get started.
Where is Hail Most Common?
Did you know that the United States has a “hail alley? According to the Weather Channel, “severe hail occurs most often in a triangular region from west Texas to northwest Missouri to the western Dakotas.” Researchers define “severe” as hail that’s one inch in diameter. The craziest hail storms are typically in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. These states see the most days each year with hail larger than golf balls. The biggest hailstone ever recorded, which fell in Aurora, Nebraska. in 2010, measured seven inches.
While hail rarely kills anyone, it can cause catastrophic damage. One recent example is the hailstorm that hit Denver, Colorado, in May 2017. With hailstones striking a wide swath of the city during rush hour, the storm is officially the most expensive disaster the state has ever seen.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association estimated that more than 150,000 auto insurance claims and more than 50,000 homeowners insurance claims would be filed due to the damages, totaling some $1.4 billion in losses.
How Do I File a Car Insurance Claim?
If your vehicle has been damaged in a hail storm, you will need to contact your insurance company to file a claim. Many insurance companies allow you to file a claim by phone, but depending on your company, you may also be able to file online, through their mobile app, or even in person with a local agent.
Once you have filed a claim, your insurance company will send an appraiser out to evaluate your car or have you take it to a shop so they can determine the approximate cost to repair it. If possible, be present during the appraisal, so you can point out any damage they might overlook and ask any questions.
After the appraiser has seen your vehicle, you can take it to be repaired. You might be able to choose the shop of your choice or be required to use one on their list. It all depends on your specific coverage.
If you are choosing your own body shop, be sure to research multiple shops in your area and read reviews to ensure you’re choosing a reputable place known for doing quality work. Each body shop should be able to provide you with an estimate for repairing your vehicle, and they should tell you how they plan to make those repairs. Consider gathering multiple quotes from different repair shops before deciding which one you would like to use.
How is My Car Repaired?
Hail damage can be repaired in multiple ways, and a repair shop will recommend a method that’s appropriate for the type of damage your vehicle has sustained.
Paintless dent repair is a popular method that fixes the dents but doesn’t require your vehicle to then be repainted, which can save time and money. If the dents haven’t cracked your vehicle’s paint, then repair technicians may be able to use metal rods to push the dents back out from underneath the surface of your vehicle’s exterior.
However, if the dents have cracked through your vehicle’s paint, then the repair process becomes more involved. The dent may be filled and then repainted, or in the case of severe damage, that entire part of your car may need to be replaced.
Hail may also damage your car’s glass surfaces, like the windshield and sunroof, so in addition to the body repairs, you might need to schedule glass repairs as well.
What’s the Best Way to Protect My Car From Hail Damage
Protecting your car from hail damage can help you to avoid the hassle of filing a claim and having your vehicle repaired. To determine if hail is a large risk in your area, look at the weather history for your location. If there’s a past history of major hail storms, you will probably want to invest in some sort of protection for your car.
The most affordable option is a car cover designed for hail which can range in price from $50-$200+ depending on the size of your vehicle and the brand you purchase. Not only is it fairly affordable, but it’s easy to throw on your vehicle if a storm is approaching. An alternative to a hail car cover is to layer thick blankets or quilts on your car before the storm arrives.
You can also keep your car in a garage or carport if you have one. You might also consider purchasing a carport, but keep in mind if the storm blows hail sideways, your vehicle could still be damaged.. A garage offers the most reliable protection for your vehicle.
Keep in mind that no matter what type of protection you choose for your car, you’ll need to stay aware of the weather. Consider using an app that sends you alerts of incoming storms so you can prepare.
How Do I Get Car Insurance That Covers Hail Damage?
While you can take many steps to help prevent hail damage, if you’re driving and get caught in a storm, there’s not much you can do about it. It’s important to make sure your car insurance will pay for repairs, just in case the vehicle is ever damaged.
Comprehensive policies include hail damage repairs, but other policies, like liability and collision, do not have that hail damage coverage. If you don’t yet have a comprehensive policy, you might want to contact your insurance company to determine how much it would cost to upgrade to that policy. Be sure to also consider how much your deductible will be.
Alternatively, consider shopping around for a new car insurance provider and policy. Using a site like Compare.com, you can fill out a single quote request form and we’ll compare rates from 65+ insurance companies to find you the most affordable options available. You might find that by switching to a new insurance provider, you can get comprehensive coverage for just a bit more than you’re currently paying for a liability plan.
FAQs About Hail Damage and Car Insurance
Will insurance pay for the full cost of repairing a car damaged by hail?
If hail damage is included in your policy, your car insurance will pay for most or all of the costs of repairing your car, depending on your policy details. Keep in mind you will be responsible for your policy’s deductible when those repairs are made.
Can I repair hail damage myself?
Because dents from hail can chip or scratch paint, it is not a good idea to try to repair the damage yourself. Some DIY techniques, like using hair dryers, can cause additional damage. Instead, leave hail damage repairs to the professionals, and you will have the peace of mind knowing that the repair work has been done correctly and your car is protected against rust and other issues.
Can my car be totaled because of hail damage?
In the case of a severe hail damage, it is possible your insurance company might declare your vehicle to be a total loss. In this case, the cost of the repairs would need to exceed the value of your vehicle. Your insurance company would then issue you payment for the value of your vehicle, so you could replace it with a new car.
How long does it take to repair hail damage to my car?
The repair time will depend on how severe the damage to your car is. A smaller dent or two can often be repaired in a day, while more complicated repairs can take multiple days or as long as a week.
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