Ah, hail, those little-iced devil’s that range in size from a pebble to softball with the ability to reduce a beautiful car to a sad dimpled shell of its former glory. If you are lucky, you may get through the storm with just a few noticeable dents but sometimes the heavens open and unleash their fury with iced cannonballs.
We hope this guide will help you navigate your hail-ish journey.
Is Hail Covered by My Auto Policy?
So the storm clouds have cleared, and you walk out to the driveway to find your car has been pelted by Mother Nature. After a few choice swear words, you wonder if this will be covered by your auto insurance. The good news is if your policy has comprehensive coverage the damage is covered subject to your deductible. The bad news is that you probably aren’t the only policyholder with hail damage and getting the claim processed may take longer than usual.
However, you can start the process by taking your vehicle to a trusted body shop for an estimate on the repairs.
Cost of Repair and Deductibles
Just like the size of hail, the damage varies in degrees of severity. A few pockmarks here and there may not warrant filing a claim while walking out and seeing your hood now resembles an orange peel may prompt a call to your insurance company. But how do you know for sure? Once you have found a body shop you are comfortable with, take the vehicle in and ask them for an estimate of repairs. Depending on the extent of the damage and how they repair it, that will determine the cost of the claim. For example, popping out a few dents with paintless dent repair will not cost as much as filling the dents and repainting the vehicle.
It will also depend on your deductible if you have a $1000 deductible and the cost of repair is $1500 you might consider paying out of pocket. Or if the damage does not reach the deductible you will not want to file it on your insurance. If you are not sure what to do, call us (888) 445-2793 and we will be happy to walk you through your best options before filing your claim.
To Fix or Not to Fix
You have got your estimate in hand, confirmation of coverage with the insurance company but you think you may be okay with a few dents and pocket the cash instead. Or maybe your brother’s friend fixes dents on the side and can fix it a lot cheaper than the body shop. That is ok, you can go that route if you choose to but some things to consider:
- Lienholders– if you are making payments on your vehicle and the lienholder is listed on the policy, chances are they will be listed on the claim check too. This is due they have a vested interest in the vehicle and want to make sure the money is spent on the repairs.
- Resale value-maybe you are not making payments any longer but aren’t sure you want to fix the damage. Hail damage can diminish a vehicle’s value considerably, and you may not get what you think you should when you go to upgrade your ride.
- Insurance-many companies will not offer physical damage coverage on vehicles that have existing damage the car. So not fixing those dents could prevent you from maintaining full coverage on a vehicle. Also, take into consideration that if you file future claims insurance companies can recognize existing damage and may penalize you for not making proper repairs.
Keeping Your Vehicle Protected During a Hailstorm
Being prepared during a hailstorm is crucial for keeping you, your family, and your car out of harm’s way.
If hail is a relatively common occurrence where you live, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the kind of weather patterns that result in hail. Hail forms in an environment where there are substantial, upward currents of air combined with lower freezing altitudes, most commonly during thunderstorms. If you think a storm is brewing, check your local weather reports regularly for updates.
Of course, carrying an auto policy with comprehensive coverage is the best way to protect yourself financially from paying for repairs out of pocket later down the road.
Keeping your car garaged or under covered parking is an excellent way to prevent hail damage.
But if you are traveling on the road during a storm, here are a few pointers:
- Pull into a covered parking area if possible
- If you can’t find a covered area to park and it is safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road to lessen the hail’s impact on your vehicle
- Consider carrying around a car cover, or blankets that are easy to fasten down to minimize damage.