Hail (or hailstorm) can cause serious damage to your car. In hail prone states hail damage car insurance is an essential part of coverage. As per Wikipedia hail can have a diameter 0.2 inches or more. The smaller hail will probably not cause damage to your car.
But hail can reach sizes of 6 inches which can weigh up to 1lb. This is the kind of hail which can cause serious damage to your car like dents and broken windshields.
Car glass is pretty expensive and so is removing dents. So if you live in a hailstorm prone area it is a good idea to get your car insured for hail damage.
To cut the long story short, hail damage is usually covered by car insurance if you have a comprehensive cover. What is covered under comprehensive insurance and what is not varies from one company to another. If you want to know for sure the best way is to talk directly with the company or an insurance agent.
Most carriers cover hail damage as part of their comprehensive coverage but there may be exceptions. None of the auto insurance carrier websites I checked for this article have policy details. The only way to know what’s covered and what’s not is by talking to customer service or an agent.
Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska are the top three hail prone states. Together they are known as Hail Alley. You may also like to check the list of top 10 hail damage prone metro areas at Insurance Journal.
Let’s take a real example. Amarillo Texas is the most hail prone metro area. If you are buying comprehensive coverage from Progressive then it covers hail damage. Of course you will have to pay the deductible from your pocket.
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I Have Basic Coverage. Will It Cover Hail Damage?
The short and sweet answer is no. Basic coverage does not cover hail damage. Basic coverage insures collision between automobiles only. Hence it will not cover hail damage. Personal Liability and Property Damage (commonly known as PLPD) does not cover hail damage. If you have purchased an auto insurance cover that only satisfies your state’s minimum requirement then you will not have hail damage coverage.
If you want this coverage then you should consider buying a comprehensive coverage. Don’t forget to talk with your insurer or insurance agent inclusions and exclusions before buying. You may also find this blog post on hail damage guide.
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What Kind of Damage Can Hailstorm Cause to Your Car?
Damage depends on intensity of the hailstorm and size of the falling hail. Small sized hail will not cause any damage to the car. But larger sized hail can cause damage to the car like:
- Shattered or cracked windshields and glass – Shattered windshields are common after a major hailstorm. Light hailstorms will usually not damage the car glass.
- Chipped paint
- Damaged light caps
Do Auto Insurance Companies Cover Hail Damage?
It depends on the type of coverage. Comprehensive coverage covers hail damage. So if you live in a hail prone area you should consider buying a comprehensive coverage for your car.
What to Do After Your Car is Hit With Hail?
If your car is hit by hailstorm you should follow the process given below.
Inspecting the Car for Damage
- Before you do anything else take photographs of your car. Don’t worry if your car is in a parking lot. Use your mobile phone camera. Photos will establish the fact that your car was indeed hit by hail. Photos also come in handy if the insurance company decides to deny your claim on flimsy grounds.
- Next inspect the damage caused by hail and make a list. Look closely for smaller dents. Small dents are difficult to see and looking from a shallow angle helps. Examine the front and rear windshields for cracks. Sometimes the cracks are small and you may not be able to spot them. So look carefully. Remember to make a list of damage. Making a list will also come in handy when you visit the body repair shop.
Filing a Hail Damage Claim
- Now file a claim with your auto insurance company. I am assuming that hail damage is covered. Filing the claim through the company’s helpline number is quick and easy. Some companies also allow you to file claim online. Whichever method you follow remember to note the given reference number. If you have an online account with your insurer then log in the next day and make sure your claim is reflected. The last step is to make sure that your claim has been filed and filed correctly.
- Next go through your insurance policy and check the minimum deductible. Minimum deductible is the amount you have to pay from your own pocket before the insurance kicks in. Also check if your policy covers a rental car.
Getting the Car Repaired
- The insurance company starts its process by scheduling a visit by an adjuster. The adjustor will provide an estimate of the repair cost.
- Next you have to visit a auto body repair shop. The body shop negotiates with the insurance company on the actual cost of repairs. Repair starts when they both settle on a price.
- Depending on the damage the repair can take a day to a week. After the repairs are done inspect your car carefully for the quality of workmanship. Don’t forget to check the interiors of the car.
- The last step is to pay the deductible and take a copy of work related warranties.
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