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Updated June 15, 2022
There’s no denying that hail damage is expensive. The good news is your car insurance policy may cover it as long as you have comprehensive coverage. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay for the repair costs out of pocket.
Your auto insurance company will cover hail damage repair costs if you have comprehensive car insurance.
If you only purchased liability coverage, you’ll have to pay for hail damage repairs on your own.
Even if you have a comprehensive policy, you should do the math to determine if it makes financial sense to file a claim for hail damage.
When does car insurance cover hail damage?
Does car insurance cover damage from hail?
Depending on your car insurance policy, damages to your car caused by hail may be covered.
If you’ve purchased comprehensive coverage, your vehicle will be insured for hail damage. So what exactly is comprehensive coverage? While liability coverage is for another person’s property damage and bodily injuries that were your fault, comprehensive coverage pays for damage outside of a collision. This may include damage from hail, lightning, floods, fire, and animals.
Comprehensive insurance can also protect you from theft, vandalism, and falling debris. When you file a comprehensive claim, you’ll likely pay a deductible of anywhere from $50 to $2,000. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage and face hail damage, your insurance company doesn’t have to pay for repair costs.
Since hail damage can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs, comprehensive coverage is certainly worth considering. This is especially true if you live in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, or any other state with frequent hailstorms.
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Filing a Car Insurance Claim for Hail Damage
Even if you do have comprehensive car insurance coverage, you shouldn’t be too hasty to file a hail damage claim. If you only have a few dents on your car, a claim might not make sense. You’ll have to pay the deductible and face higher car insurance rates, so the total cost of the claim may be more than if you paid for the repairs on your own.
Let’s say your deductible is $1,000, but fixing the dents from a hailstorm will cost $300. In this situation, filing a claim isn’t a smart move. Also, if you have an older car that’s depreciated quite a bit because of age or high mileage, the repair costs may exceed the value of your car. Therefore, it’s best not to file a claim and instead cover the repair costs out of pocket.
Before you move forward with the claims process, do the math to determine whether it’s a good idea. After all, you want your car insurance policy to work for you, not against you. If you file a claim right away without much thought, you might end up overpaying for your hail damage repairs.
Tips for Filing a Car Insurance Claim
When you file a claim for hail damage, treat it like any other car insurance claim. Reach out to your auto insurance company online or via phone right after the hailstorm passes. Note that if there is a major storm in your area, some of your neighbors and friends might be filing claims as well, so the process could take longer than usual.
The sooner you contact your car insurance company, the sooner they can help you. Once you file a claim, they’ll send a claims adjuster to evaluate the hail damage. It will be the adjuster’s job to determine how much the car insurance company will pay.
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How Car Insurance Companies Assess Hail Damage
To estimate the cost of hail damage repairs, an insurance adjuster will use one of two methods. With paintless dent removal (PDR), they’ll consider the labor necessary to fix the dents from the underside of the body panel, without the need to repaint the vehicle. The adjuster might assess the cost per panel or per dent. They’ll also estimate any costs involved in removing and reinstalling certain parts.
The second method an insurance adjuster may use to determine hail damage is the traditional method. Since it accounts for any body panels that need to be replaced entirely, it’s usually reserved for more severe hail damage.
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How Hail Damage Is Fixed
While it may be tempting to repair hail damage on your own, doing so can do more harm than good. After all, it takes a great deal of experience, specialized knowledge, and advanced equipment to properly fix damage from hail.
First, a technician will use small factory holes to make their way into the dented panel. In some cases, they’ll have to drill holes that will eventually need to be concealed or repaired. They’ll use special tools to gently massage the dents. Then, a technician will apply a heat gun to protect the metal and prevent the paint from cracking.
Depending on the severity of your damage, they might use a hammer to gently tap the dents from the outside and ensure they’re completely smooth. If the paint is chipped or cracked, the panel will likely need to be refinished once the dent is removed.
Ways to Protect Your Car from Hail Damage
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent your vehicle from sustaining damage during a hailstorm. Ideally, you’d keep your car in a garage whenever you’re not driving it. If you don’t have access to a garage, a carport is a great alternative. Also, sign up for weather alerts on your phone so that you’re always aware of upcoming hailstorms.
When a storm is approaching, cover your parked car to reduce the extent of the hail damage. If you’re driving during a hailstorm, pull over to the nearest parking garage, gas station, or covered lot as quickly as you can. Since hailstorms only last 5 to 10 minutes, you should be able to get back on the road soon.
As a last resort, you can place your car’s floor mats over your roof and hood. Even though they won’t cover your entire vehicle and might blow away if it’s windy, they’re quite thick and may protect your car from paint and glass windshield damage.
Be Proactive to Protect Your Vehicle from Hail Damage
If you understand how to shield your car from hail damage and take proper action, you can reduce the need for costly repairs. But if you live in an area where hailstorms are the norm, comprehensive car insurance might be worth the extra investment. It can help cover hail-related repairs and give you much-needed peace of mind. Just remember to do the math and make sure filing a claim is worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some parts of the country are more susceptible to hailstorms than others. If you live in Nebraska, Texas, or Wyoming, for example, hail is likely to damage your vehicle. In this case, it might make sense to spend some extra money and purchase comprehensive coverage. Otherwise, you may be stuck paying for repairs out of pocket.
Your car insurance premium will increase if you file a claim for hail damage. That’s why it’s wise to make sure the total repair costs are much higher than your deductible. If you find that you have to pay for most of the repair through your deductible, avoid filing a claim. Doing so will only increase your car insurance costs and leave you to cover the majority of the repair costs on your own.
The amount your car insurance provider will pay for hail damage depends on a number of factors. They’ll consider your comprehensive coverage limits, deductible, and the extent of damage done to your car. If the repair costs are lower than your deductible, you might want to pay for them out of pocket. Otherwise, you might face a higher premium.
Unfortunately, it’s very possible for hail damage to total your vehicle. This is particularly true if you drive an older vehicle and the hailstorm is severe. Keep in mind, however, that even if your car is brand new, it can still be totaled by a serious hailstorm.
The cost of hail damage repairs will depend on the severity of the damage and the number of dents that must be fixed. On average, small dents are between $30 and $45, and medium dents range from $45 to $55. Larger dents may cost $75 or more.
Since hail can create many dents on your vehicle’s surface, you can expect repair fees to add up quickly. The average cost of an insurance claim for hail damage repair is $3,000. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you’ll have to come up with this large amount of money on your own.
You will be responsible for a deductible to get hail damage repaired by your comprehensive coverage. Let’s say you have a $500 deductible. If your repair costs $3,000 in total, you’ll cover the initial $500 and your insurance company will pay for the remaining $2,500.
While you might get lucky and find a way to fix hail damage yourself, you should leave this task to the professionals. DIY methods that involve a heat gun and suction cup tools, for example, may not be effective and have the potential to damage your car in other ways. It’s best to take your vehicle to a body shop with certified technicians, state-of-the-art tools, and a repair guarantee.
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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.