Is Hail Damage Covered by Car Insurance?
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Your car insurance company will cover repairs or replacements after your vehicle has been damaged by hail as long as your policy includes comprehensive coverage. However, if you only have the minimum amount of auto insurance required by your state, your policy won’t cover hail damage.
Keep reading for more information about when and how car insurance covers hail damage plus what you need to do anytime a hailstorm impacts your vehicle.
What Type of Car Insurance Do I Need To Cover Hail Damage?
To receive coverage for hail damage, you will need to add comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy. Also known as “other than collision” coverage, comprehensive insurance should cover damage to your vehicle caused by most sources besides car crashes. Alongside hail, it can also insure your car against the following perils:
- Civil disturbance
- Falling objects
- Collision with an animal
You aren’t required by law to carry comprehensive coverage in any state. However, it is often required by lenders and lessors if you need to finance or lease your vehicle. Even if your car is paid off, it’s recommended that you maintain this optional coverage type until the value of your car drops below 10 times your comprehensive insurance premium.
How Do Insurance Companies Assess Hail Damage to a Car?
Anytime you file a hail damage insurance claim, your insurance carrier will likely send an adjuster to evaluate how much it would cost to fix the damage. If the price to repair hail damage would be higher than the value of your vehicle, then your insurer will declare the car a total loss and pay you its actual cash value (ACV).
Minor dents can be repaired for around $75 to $200 per dent, while extensive paint, panel and windshield damage caused by large chunks of hail could cost upwards of $10,000 to fix depending on the type of car you have. So, if you have an older vehicle with an ACV of $5,000, your insurer may pay to repair a few minor dents but will likely declare that your car has been totaled if it has incurred significant damage from larger chunks of hail.
Keep in mind that filing a claim can potentially cause your premiums to rise and comprehensive claims generally require a deductible, which is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance provider will contribute any money toward a claim. As a result, if you have a $500 deductible, it may not be worth filing a claim after a hailstorm causes $600 worth of damage to your car since a potential rate increase may not be worth the immediate $100 savings.
Where Is Hail Damage Most Common in the U.S.?
The following 10 states had the highest number of hail events in the United States in 2022.
|Rank||State||Number of Hail Events|
Of course, not every hail event in your area will necessarily result in significant enough damage to justify filing a hail damage claim. State Farm reported that in 2022 it paid out the most money for auto and homeowners insurance hail claims to policyholders in Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, Illinois and Nebraska. In total, State Farm paid out around $600 million in hail-related auto insurance claims across the country in 2022.
How Can I Protect My Car From Hail?
The best way to protect your car from hail damage is to pay attention to the weather forecast so you aren’t caught off guard by an impending hailstorm. When a hailstorm is imminent, you should bring your car into a garage or under a carport. If that isn’t an option, consider covering your vehicle with a car cover, padded blanket or anything else you have that could soften the impact of the hail.
How Do I File a Claim for Hail Damage to My Car?
When hail causes a significant amount of damage to your vehicle, you should take these steps to file a car insurance claim:
- Take pictures of the damage and record any other details about the damage that you think are relevant.
- Start the claims process via phone, mobile app or online portal and submit pictures, video evidence and other documentation to your insurance provider.
- Take note of your coverage limits and deductible to give yourself an idea of how much money you could receive from your insurance company.
- Contact a repair shop for an estimate, which you can use to determine if the settlement your insurer offers you is sufficient.
- If your insurance carrier offers an appropriate settlement, accept it and complete your vehicle repairs.
It’s worth noting that multiple people in your area will likely be filing insurance claims after a hailstorm or other weather event impacts the area. As a result, it’s important to file your hail damage claim as soon as possible so your insurance company can address it in a timely manner.
How To Get Car Insurance for Hail Damage
You’ll need to shop around and get quotes from at least three to five different insurance carriers to find the right car insurance policy. Insurers will commonly request information like your vehicle’s year and make and model, where you live, your driver’s license number and whether you’ve been in any car accidents before, which can be a hassle to individually share with each company.
However, you can receive quotes much more quickly if you go through an insurance marketplace like SmartFinancial. If you fill out our online questionnaire about your coverage needs and budget, we can connect you with agents in your area who can offer you a customized auto insurance policy. To get a car insurance quote for free, start the process by entering your zip code below.