No matter where you live, the weather can be unpredictable. But there’s no weather condition quite like a hail storm.
If you’ve ever been caught in hail, you know what a helpless feeling it can be.
Hail can cause serious damage to cars, so it's important to know what your auto insurance covers in case of a storm. Thoughts like “what happens if this hail destroys my car?” might have run through your head at some point during a storm.
In this post, we'll discuss hail damage, how your car insurance policy may or may not cover it, and more, including:
- Hail and vehicle damage
- Hail damage and car insurance
- What types of hail damage are covered?
- How is hail damage assessed?
- Will your premium increase if you file a hail damage claim?
- How do you avoid hail damage to your car?
HAIL & VEHICLE DAMAGE
While the damage hail causes to a car is often superficial — like dents in the body of the car — some damage can render the vehicle too dangerous to drive, such as cracks or breaks to the windshield.
In some cases, it’s up to the driver’s discretion whether a hail damage claim is worthwhile. You might not mind driving around with a few extra dents, or you might wish to maintain a perfect exterior.
HAIL DAMAGE & CAR INSURANCE
If you’re wondering whether your auto insurance will cover hail damage on your vehicle, the short answer is simple: it depends on your policy.
We know, we know. That can be a frustrating answer; but read on and you’ll find out more about your policy coverage for hail damage.
As always, consult with your insurance agency and review your unique policy thoroughly. Just like any other unpredictable weather, it's best to know your policy and what it covers before a catastrophe strikes.
If you’re worried about hail damage to your vehicle, comprehensive coverage is what you’ll need to ensure any future damage is covered. So if you live in an area that’s prone to severe weather, it's important to make sure you have comprehensive car insurance coverage.
Comprehensive coverage helps protect your vehicle from damage caused by events like hail storms, flooding, and falling trees. You may or may not have comprehensive coverage — since it isn’t required by law — but it can save you a lot of money if your car is damaged in a natural disaster (like hail!).
If you wait until after damage has occurred to purchase comprehensive coverage, it will, unfortunately, be too late to prevent you from having to pay out of pocket for repairs. As a result, it's essential to buy comprehensive car insurance well before you think you'll need it.
Liability only covers the other person if you are involved in an accident. If you only purchased liability coverage, you more than likely won’t have any help covering hail damage repair costs.
WHAT TYPES OF HAIL DAMAGE ARE COVERED?
Since hail can cause so many different types of damage to your car, it makes sense you might be wondering what is covered and what isn’t. Here are a few common questions about types of damage and auto insurance coverage.
Will insurance cover my windshield when it’s damaged by hail?
As we mentioned, if you have comprehensive auto insurance coverage, it will cover the damage from hail. However, depending on what needs to be fixed, your carrier might even waive your deductible! In some cases, insurance deductibles are even waived if a windshield is simply repaired, not replaced.
Can hail damage total a vehicle?
Yes, hail damage can total your vehicle.
If your car has been in a hail storm, the damage may appear to be extensive. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your car is totaled.
Believe it or not, many car owners are unaware of what exactly qualifies as a totaled car. In order for your car to be totaled by hail damage, the cost of repairs must be greater than the current value of your car.
The cost of the repairs is a number determined by your car insurance company. They will send out an adjuster to verify the cost of repairs and if the cost of repairs is greater than the value of your car, your carrier will deem it totaled and you will receive a payout for the value of your car. However, if the cost of repairs is less than the value of your car, your insurance company will cover the cost of repairs.
HAIL DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, PREMIUM CHANGES & AVOID HAIL DAMAGE
How is hail damage assessed?
When your car is damaged in a hailstorm, you will need to file an insurance claim in order to have the repairs covered. The insurance company will then send an adjuster to thoroughly inspect your vehicle and assess the damage.
At this point, you can let the insurance company know which auto repair company you plan to use. If there’s an issue, the body shop may be able to work it out directly with the insurer.
Either way, getting your car repaired after hail damage can be a bit of a hassle, but it's important to get the repairs done in order to protect your car's value.
Will your premium increase if you file a hail damage claim?
The answer to this question depends upon your state’s laws and your insurance carrier. However, comprehensive claims filed from a natural disaster such as hail damage usually don't increase your rates.
When the claim isn't your fault, there are laws in certain states that will protect you from charges for comprehensive claims. So if your car is damaged by hail, don’t be afraid to file a claim; it likely won’t have any effect on your rates.
How do you avoid hail damage to your car?
Wondering how you can protect your vehicle from hail damage? Here are a few ways to do so:
- Stay mindful of incoming storms by checking the weather each day
- Keep your vehicle in a garage, carport, or under another covered parking structure when not in use
- Use a padded car cover (or hail protection blanket) in case of a storm
- Find cover immediately if it begins to hail when driving
If you’re a car owner, it’s important to know what your insurance policy covers in case of hail damage. Hail can cause serious damage to vehicles, so it’s crucial to be prepared.
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