A hailstorm can cause immense damage to your vehicle, even if the pellets are small. It’s responsible for more than $1 billion in property damage annually, so you’ll want to ensure you vehicle’s properly protected.
Hail Can Affect Your Vehicle in Many Ways
The most obvious damage hail makes to a vehicle is dings and dents in the body. If they’re minor a good body shop can usually repair them.
However, a powerful hailstorm can break your windshield; punch holes through the roof, cause water damage, and even impact the engine. Multiple strikes by large hailstones can render your vehicle a total loss.
You might assume since you have auto insurance you’re protected from hail damage, but this is only true if you carry comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident that’s not a collision.
It’s intended to protect you against a host of hazards, including theft, vandalism, hitting an animal, hail damage, and more. Liability insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle caused by hail.
What to Do During a Hailstorm
Rhode Island gets its’ share of hailstorms and you can usually feel the change in the weather. The air becomes cool near the ground during a severe thunderstorm, followed by strong upward currents.
If you suspect hail is on the way, pull into a covered parking area. If that’s not possible, pull off the road as hailstones can ricochet off the pavement. Consider carrying a few emergency blankets and bungee cords in your trunk that you can secure over your vehicle to minimize damage.
Stay in your car once the storm starts. Hailstones can seriously harm you. The largest hailstone ever recorded in South Dakota was 8.0” in diameter and weighed almost 2lbs pounds, but even small hailstones pack a powerful punch.
Claims for Hail Damage
If you vehicle is damaged by a hailstorm and you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, file a claim for repairs as soon as possible. Even if the damage seems minor, hail damage can affect the resale value of your vehicle. Minor repairs often include popping out dents and touching up paint, but major damage requires body work.
Once you get a repair estimate, the claims adjusted whether it’s worthwhile to repair your vehicle. If the cost of repairs exceeds your vehicle’s depreciated value they will deem it a total loss. Otherwise, you’ll pay your deductible and the insurance company pays for the repairs.
Comprehensive coverage usually includes a deductible. If you live in an area often hit by hailstorms, you may want to pay a slightly higher premium and lower your deductible. Otherwise, you’ll pay more out of pocket when you make a claim.
Under some circumstances, your insurer may waive the deductible for repairing glass rather than replacing it. Some policies also allow you to buy full glass coverage with no deductible.
Discuss your auto insurance needs with an independent insurance agency like ours. We can provide you with a quote for comprehensive coverage so your vehicle is protected from hail damage and whatever else life may throw at you.