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’re worried about your car in a hail storm, you’re not alone. The good news is that some car insurance policies cover hail damage.
Does your car insurance policy cover hail damage?
There are several types of car insurance, but only one kind covers hail damage—comprehensive insurance.
Comprehensive insurance will cover the cost of any hail-related car damage after a major storm. Comprehensive car insurance covers most damages that are not related to an accident. It’s usually an optional coverage, but it’s a good idea to have it.
To use your comprehensive coverage, you must have an active policy before you need to file a claim. You can’t get reimbursement from your insurance company if you purchase comprehensive coverage after the damage has already been done. If you live in a hurricane zone, some insurance carriers won’t allow you to add comprehensive coverage to your policy if there is a hurricane warning in effect.
The other main types of car insurance—collision and liability coverage—do not cover hail damage. Collision coverage only covers damage related to an accident, either with another driver or with a stationary object. Liability insurance protects you in a lawsuit if you get sued by another driver for an accident or property damage.
If you happen to be driving a rental car during a hail storm and it causes damage, you’re most likely covered. Rental car insurance policies generally include comprehensive insurance, which would pay for the damages. If your personal auto insurance policy extends to rental cars and you have comprehensive insurance, your insurance provider will take care of it.
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 if you have 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 might require that you have it. 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 covered.
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.