Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

Your car insurance will cover hail damage if your policy includes comprehensive coverage, even if your car is deemed a total loss after a heavy hail storm. With thousands of hail storms causing thousands of dollars in damages to cars nationwide, you’ll want the right coverage to cover your repair costs. However, there is a caveat — you should avoid filing a car insurance claim if the repair cost is less than your deductible.

What Type of Car Insurance Covers Hail Damage?

Comprehensive insurance will pay to repair or replace your vehicle, if totaled, for damages caused by hail. If you have only basic liability insurance, hail-related repair costs must be paid out of pocket.

Unless you’re financing your vehicle, comprehensive coverage is optional. Lenders will require drivers to maintain full coverage, which bundles comprehensive and collision insurance.

On top of damages from hail, comprehensive coverage will also protect motorists against the following perils:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Smoke
  • Explosion
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Windstorms
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Riots and civil unrest
  • Aircraft (striking the car)

Can Hail Damage Devalue My Car?

Hail damage can result in a dented hood, dings in your roof and sides, cracked windshields and windows, chipped paint and interior water damage — all of these decrease your car’s market value.

The amount that hail damage devalues your car depends on the severity of the damages. Even a small hail storm can cause significant damage to your car depending on the wind speed. For example, small hail can chip your protective paint, exposing the metal surface underneath. When exposed to moisture, rust can develop and compromise your car’s structural integrity.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, hail can even grow to the size of a grapefruit — hail of this size can cause even bigger damage.

How Much Are Hail Damage Repairs?

Some repair shops charge between $45 to $75 per dent, depending on the extent of the hail damage and the repair shop. If you include the cost of paint and labor, the average cost of repairing hail damage rises to $2,000.

It makes little financial sense to file a car insurance claim if your repair costs are less than or equal to your deductible.

When you renew your policy, you may discover that your premium increased due to filing the comprehensive claim. Paying for the repairs out of pocket may be more cost-effective than paying elevated rates for several months.

Are There Ways To Protect My Vehicle From Hail Damage?

Prevention is the best way to protect your car from hail damage. While hail storms are sometimes unexpected, there are some precautionary measures drivers can take — especially if they live in an area at high risk of hail storms.

  • Park in a garage or covered area: A car parked on the street is completely vulnerable to the elements. If a hail storm is approaching, do your best to find a covered space to park your car.
  • Buy hail car covers/carport: If you don’t have a garage, a car cover or carport can add a protective layer between your car and falling hail.
  • Use what you have: If you can’t find covered parking and don’t have a car cover, use towels, blankets, floor mats or any other protective material to absorb the hail’s impact. Any protection is better than none.
  • Shelter during a storm: If you’re already driving when it starts hailing, pull over in an area with shelter and wait out the hail storm.
  • Check the weather: Before heading out, check for hail storms forecasted in your area. Weather apps, like Carrot Weather and Dark Sky, can provide early warnings.
  • Buy comprehensive coverage: Even if you take every precaution to defend your car against hail, unexpected losses happen. Comprehensive coverage can provide some financial relief when it’s time to repair your car after a hail storm.
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Which States Have the Most Hail Storms?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, Texas had the highest number of hail events in 2021, followed by Kansas.

Ranking

State

Hail Events

1

Texas

688

2

Kansas

303

3

Nebraska

225

4

South Dakota

218

5

Oklahoma

159

 

United States

3,762

Some areas are more prone to hail storms than others. Other notable mentions are Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, which are commonly referred to as the “Hail Alley.” Websites like Hail Maps show regions where 500 or more homes were impacted by hail.

How To File a Claim for Hail Damage

Filing a claim for hail damage is similar to filing other types of car insurance claims.

  • Assess the damage: Hail damage can cause cracks, fractures and dents that can sometimes be hard to spot. Shattered windows are common after a hail storm, as well.
  • File an insurance claim: Contact your insurance company via phone, mobile app or online portal to initiate the claims process. Your insurer may send a claims adjuster to determine the extent of damage and estimate the repair cost.
  • Accept the settlement: Your insurance company will offer a settlement amount that should cover the cost to repair your vehicle. Depending on your company, the check may be issued to you or the repair shop directly. You are responsible for paying your deductible — if you have a $400 deductible and the repair bill is $2,000, you will receive $1,500.
  • Complete the repairs: You can choose a repair shop of your own choice or an approved vendor provided by your insurance company. If you have rental car reimbursement, your insurer will cover your rental car costs while your car is undergoing repairs.

FAQs

Can hail damage total my vehicle?

Even if your car is drivable after a hail storm, your insurer may declare it a total loss if the repair costs exceed the actual cash value of the car. In this case, comprehensive insurance would pay to replace your car, up to the policy limits.

Will damage caused by hail increase my insurance rates?

If you file an insurance claim for hail damage, you may see your premium increase when you renew your policy. Therefore, you should avoid filing a claim if the hail damages are minor and do not exceed your deductible.

Will my home insurance cover my car for hail damage?

Your home insurance won’t cover hail damage to your car. Drivers will need to add comprehensive coverage to their auto policy to get the repair costs covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Comprehensive car insurance will help cover the cost to repair or replace your car if it suffers hail damage.
  • Comprehensive coverage is highly recommended for drivers who live in states with frequent hail storms.
  • Repair shops typically charge $45 to $75 per dent when repairing your car for hail damage.
  • Avoid filing a hail-related comprehensive claim if the repair costs are equal to or less than your deductible.

Do you live in a hail-prone area and need good comprehensive insurance coverage for your car? You can use SmartFinancial to find an affordable insurance plan. Just enter your zip code on this page, and we'll get you a quote from local insurance companies near you.

Sources

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