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A lot of vehicles are damaged each year due to hail storms. In 2022, there were over 4,400 hailstorms in the U.S., causing significant auto and property damage from hail damages alone, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). Hail storms happen all around the country, with certain areas more prone to frequent hail storms. So you may be wondering, does car insurance cover hail damage? Depending on your car insurance policy, you may be covered for damage caused by hail. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team explores the ins and outs of what happens when hail damages your car so you can be informed and prepared.
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. Does your auto insurance cover hail damage? For your auto insurer to help cover repair costs for hail damage, you will need comprehensive coverage on your vehicle.
Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage available for your policy. While liability insurance is meant to cover medical expenses and property damage for the other party if you cause an accident, comprehensive insurance is designed to repair or replace your own vehicle under certain circumstances.
Comprehensive coverage and hail damage
Comprehensive coverage, sometimes known as ‘other-than-collision,’ helps cover the cost of repairs for damage caused by incidents other than an accident, including weather events such as storms, snow, sleet, hail, as well as falling debris and trees. Your state does not legally require this coverage, but your lender will typically require it if you finance your vehicle. Even if your vehicle loan is paid off, you may want to consider this coverage as it could protect your budget from costly repairs.
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. You may be part of the many drivers who ask “should I claim hail damage to my car?”
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. And filing a claim would drive up your insurance premium.
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.
Protecting your car from hail
The best way to avoid a hail claim is to protect your car from damage in the first place. Some states face more hail storms than others. For example, according to the Triple-I, the top five states that had major hail events in 2022 include Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, and South Dakota. 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
Full coverage car insurance is more expensive than minimum coverage car insurance, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. To find the cheapest full coverage car insurance for your situation, select a few companies that interest you and request quotes for the same types of coverage and limits, then compare. Make sure you ask about any discounts you may qualify for, as you can usually layer your savings opportunities and save even more.
If you are driving a rental car and the vehicle is damaged during a hail storm, insurance will likely cover it. Most rental car companies include comprehensive coverage in their insurance packages. If you carry comprehensive coverage on your own vehicle, your insurance policy may extend coverage to rentals as well.
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.