paintless dent repair
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were 4,611 major hailstorms in 2020 alone. Yearly, the value of auto hail-related damage insurance companies receive is in the billions of dollars.
But, does vehicle insurance cover auto hail damage? It might if you have the right type of insurance. Read on to find out more about auto hail and what type of insurance policy covers repairs.
Like rain, hail is a form of precipitation. When ice forms in the updrafts of thunderstorms, it can fall back down and damage vehicles, homes, aircraft, and more. Heavy updrafts sometimes cause raindrops to fly upwards instead of falling down. As they fly upwards into thinner, colder parts of the atmosphere, they freeze and fall back down to earth as hail.
The size will vary depending on a variety of conditions. It generally ranges from the size of a pea to the size of a grapefruit. As you can probably imagine, the smaller pieces pose little risk to people or property. The larger ones, though, can be incredibly damaging.
Hail is a frequent cause of vehicle damage in areas where it falls. Depending on the type of insurance you have, your insurer may cover the cost of repairs. Below is a short breakdown of vehicle insurance types and whether they cover auto hail damage.
Liability insurance is frequently considered the bare minimum for vehicle coverage. It's required to legally drive in the US. It only comes into play when you're in a collision that's your fault. It will pay for the damages to the other party's vehicle or property. It can also pay for their medical bills if applicable.
Liability insurance provides no protection outside of what is outlined above. It does not cover auto hail damage.
Collision coverage is often required on leased or financed vehicles. For anyone else, it's optional. It covers the damage to your vehicle caused during a collision, regardless of who is at fault.
It does not cover auto hail damage.
A comprehensive vehicle insurance policy is a much broader form of protection. Like collision insurance, it can be mandatory for leased or financed vehicles. Comprehensive coverage provides protection in many instances outside of collisions. These can include fire, theft, vandalism, and auto hail damage.
Note that just because comprehensive vehicle insurance tends to cover damage from hail, it doesn't necessarily have to. Make sure to check your individual policy.
Filing a claim or not should depend on the amount of damage. Some auto hail damage is very minor and consists of a few small dents. In other cases, auto hail has been known to total brand new vehicles. On average, damage from hail runs around $5,000.
If the value of the damage is less than your deductible, you may want to skip filing a claim.
People often wonder if their premium will go up if they file a claim. While this does happen after accidents, hail storms are usually ruled “no-fault” claims. This means that you as a driver don’t pose any more risk to the insurance company, so your premiums will stay the same.
If you choose to file a claim, the process is the same as with any other. Contact your auto insurance company as soon as possible via phone or email. The faster you call, the sooner they can help. A claims adjuster will come and assess the damage and determine what the insurance company will pay.
Even if you have the best vehicle insurance, preventing damage is always best. To keep your vehicle safe from hail, park it in the garage before the storm comes.
If you aren't home and can't park in your garage, that's okay. Look for a nearby carport or parking structure. Malls, hospitals, and movie theaters usually have them. Park there to protect your vehicle and ride out the storm.
If shelter isn't an option and you know the storm is on its way, use blankets. They don't offer the best protection, but they do help. Be sure to tie or tape them down - especially if you're expecting high winds.
Remember to be careful. If the storm has already started, you might want to stay inside. Better to let auto hail hit your vehicle than to hurt yourself.
Minor damage resulting from auto hail is frequently fixable using Paintless Dent Repair (PDR). This method involves special tools that push the dent back out from the inside. It doesn't require the dent to be repainted, hence, the name "paintless dent repair”. This is the preferred method of repair by insurance companies and manufacturers alike.
Larger dents might require a tool that pulls them out from the exterior of the vehicle. This process also protects the paint job and does not require touch-ups.
Larger hailstones cause trickier situations. They can cause large dents, scratch paint, and make it hard for a trunk or door to close. Sometimes they break windows. Situations like this can require much more extensive and costly repairs. It’s best to look for a repair shop that specializes in PDR and has additional staff to handle bodywork, glasswork, and replacement parts.
When a vehicle is totaled, that doesn't mean it can't be fixed. It just isn't worth it to do so.
If the cost to repair your vehicle exceeds its value, the vehicle is considered totaled. Should this occur, and you have comprehensive coverage, your insurer will cut you a check for the value of your vehicle.
So, does vehicle insurance cover auto hail damage? Yes, it does - if you have comprehensive vehicle insurance coverage. Whether you choose to file a claim or not will depend on the extent of the damage. For very minor damage, it might be worthwhile to pay out-of-pocket.
For more extensive damage, we can help. Express Auto Hail Repair is a one-stop shop for auto hail repairs. Get started with a free 3-min Express Estimate online right now. You can also book a 1-Hour Custom Estimate at our shop. Plus, if you're 1 of our first 200 customers after a storm, and you have full coverage insurance, your deductible will be fully paid by us.
If you'd like to know more, contact us today.