Whether your car's been hit by pebble-sized pellets or golf-ball-sized hailstones, many of us know the damage a hailstorm can cause. Luckily, if you carry the right car insurance coverage, hail damage could be covered by your policy.
how hail can damage your car
Depending on the intensity of the storm, the size of the hailstones, and where your car was located during the storm, hail can cause varying degrees of damage.
If you're lucky, your car may only suffer a few minor dents and dings (and sometimes, no damage at all!). But major hailstorms can cause massive destruction to property, including cars. In fact, hail causes more than $1 billion in property damages every year, including damage to vehicles. From broken glass, to holes in the roof, to engine damage — hail can wreak havoc on your car.
hailstorm damage and your car insurance
Your auto insurance policy typically covers damage caused by hailstones to your car — depending on the type of coverage you have. If you carry comprehensive coverage, you're financially safeguarded against a whole host of hazards — including hail damage. However, a basic liability policy won't help pay to repair your ride after a hailstorm.
Having comprehensive coverage on your policy can also help protect against theft, vandalism, and even run-ins with animals — among other things — so adding it to your insurance when you get a quote could save you big bucks down the line.
It's wise to inspect your ride for damage as quickly as possible after a hailstorm (in addition to protecting it from the elements in the first place, especially since it can help with the claims process). If you do carry comprehensive coverage on your policy, file a claim for repairs as soon as you can so you can get your ride back to normal sooner rather than later.
repairing hail damage (and why it’s important)
It might seem like just a few scratches and dents, but hail damage repair is pretty important if you're concerned about the resale value of your ride.
If the damage is minimal, you can usually have a pro "pop out" the dents, and fix up any scratches yourself with spare car paint (and some shops offer "paintless" dent repair). But if your ride has sustained some major hailstone hits, there's a good chance your car will need some body work done.
Since appraisers are pretty picky about aesthetics when it comes to valuing a used vehicle, it can be a good idea to get all dings and dents repaired if you're thinking about selling or trading in your car. Even just a couple of blemishes can decrease your car's appraisal value from "fair" to "poor."
protecting your car during a hailstorm
Knowing what to do in the midst of a hailstorm is paramount when it comes to keeping you, your family, and your car out of harm's way.
If you live in an area where hail is a relatively common occurrence, it's a good idea to learn more about what kind of weather patterns often result in hail. Most common during thunderstorms, hail forms in an environment where there are strong, upward currents of air combined with lower freezing altitudes. If you suspect a thunderstorm is on the way, it's worth checking your local weather reports frequently for updates.
Of course, adding comprehensive coverage to your auto policy is the best way to financially protect yourself from paying for repairs out of your own wallet further down the road.
But a good way to prevent hailstone damage to your car is to keep it garaged or under covered parking. But if you get caught on the road during a downpour, here are a few pointers:
- If you can, pull into a covered parking area
- Pull over to the side of the road (provided it's safe to do so) to reduce the hail's impact on your vehicle if you can't find a covered area to park
- If you drive a truck or a car with a large trunk, consider carrying around a car cover (or even blankets you could easily secure) to minimize damage
If you're already an Esurance customer and need to make a claim, you can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262) or you can file your claim online.
What vehicle history reports tell you
It's always a good idea to see what a reliable car history report has to say about that used car you've been eyeing.
Driving in high winds
Regardless of where you live, you're likely to face high winds on the roadways at some point in time.
More about car insurance
Looking for another insurance product?