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Does car insurance cover hail damage?

Close-up shot of golf-ball-sized hail stones on the ground.
Mohammad Sowaid / EyeEm/Getty Images
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In certain parts of the country, hail storms can cause extensive damage. According to NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming experience the most hailstorms—an average of 7-9 hail days per year. If you leave your vehicle unprotected outdoors, it may suffer damage from a hail storm. From a dented roof and hood to a chipped windshield, hail can create both minor and major damages to your vehicle and cost a few hundred dollars in repairs.

The good news is that car insurance policies can cover hail damage. As long as you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, your auto insurer will likely help you cover your vehicle’s repair costs.

Does your car insurance policy cover hail damage?

There are several types of car insurance coverage options, like liability coverage, medical coverage and physical damage coverage for your vehicle. For your auto insurer to help cover repair costs for hail damage, you will need comprehensive coverage on your vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage and hail damage

Comprehensive coverage helps cover repairs associated with weather events such as storms, snow, sleet, hail, as well as falling debris and trees. Your state does not legally require this coverage, however, your lender generally requires it if your vehicle is financed. Even if your vehicle loan is paid off, you may want to consider this coverage.

It is important to note that this coverage must be on your auto policy before any hail damage befalls your vehicle. If there is a hail storm warning or hail damage has already occurred to your vehicle, it is too late to add comprehensive coverage to your policy.

What kind of damage can hail cause to your car?

Depending upon the intensity of the storm, hail can cause quite severe damage to a vehicle. Cracked windows and windshield, dented roof, hood and sides, water damage inside the car, broken or missing side mirrors, and chipped paint are common damages often attributed to hail.

Is it worth claiming hail damage to your car?

When it comes to hail damage, the decision to file a claim isn’t always straightforward.

Ultimately, you should only file a hail claim if the cost of repairs is more than your deductible. Here’s why—if you have a $1,000 deductible and the hail damage only costs $600 to fix, you won’t get any money from your insurance company because your deductible will cover the repairs in full. Unfortunately, you would have no choice but to pay out-of-pocket.

However, it’s entirely possible that hail can render your car undrivable. If you’re not sure how extensive the damage is, take your car to a local auto body shop and have them evaluate it. You can even request a price quote for the repairs and bring it to your insurance company when you file the claim.

If the damage is minimal and only cosmetic, it can be tempting to leave it as is and save yourself some money. But there are a few reasons why that’s not a good idea.

If your vehicle is leased, or has a car loan, your lender might require you to keep the car in good condition. And if you plan to resell the car in the future, you’ll get a higher payout if you take care of the repairs.

Protecting your car from hail

The best way to avoid a hail claim is to protect your car from damage in the first place. While hail storms tend to be unexpected, there are some ways that you can take precautionary measures, especially if you live in a high-risk area.

  • Park in a garage: Instead of parking outside, try to find parking in a garage if you know a storm is coming.
  • Find shelter during a storm: If you’re driving when a hail storm hits, find shelter as soon as you can. Either pull off and find a covered parking structure, or even park your car under the nearest bridge or overpass.
  • Get a hail car cover: If you don’t have a garage at home, consider buying a car cover that puts a barrier between your car and the elements.
  • Buy a carport: Setting up a carport in your driveway is a great way to protect your car at home without adding a garage.
  • Check the weather: Before you leave home, check the weather to see if any storms are predicted in your area.

Taking a few steps to prevent potential damage can keep you from needing to shell out money for repairs.

Frequently asked questions

What type of car insurance covers hail damage?

Comprehensive car insurance is the only type of insurance that covers hail damage. Comprehensive coverage is optional, but if you have a car loan or lease, your lender usually requires that you have this coverage. Other types of insurance, like collision and liability coverage, do not cover hail damage.

What happens if my rental car gets hail damage?

If you’re driving a rental car and it gets damaged in a hail storm, insurance will likely cover it. Most rental car companies include comprehensive coverage in their insurance packages. If your personal car insurance extends coverage to rentals, you’re also likely covered if you carry comprehensive coverage on your personal auto policy.

Do I have to repair hail damage after a storm?

If you own your car and it’s minorly damaged in a hail storm, you aren’t required to make the repairs. However, you probably are required to fix it if you have a leased car or a car loan. Also, keep in mind that making repairs to your car will increase the resale value if you plan to sell it in the future.

Additional resources:

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth Rivelli is a contributing insurance writer for Bankrate and has years of experience writing for insurance domains such as The Simple Dollar, and NextAdvisor, among others
Edited by
Managing Editor