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According to one recent report, hail-related losses cost insured Americans between $8 billion and $14 billion each year. This includes damage that occurs to both your home and vehicle.
Did your vehicle recently experience hail damage? If so, this could range from minor to major damage depending on the severity of the hail storm. Either way, you might not be responsible for covering all of the necessary repairs.
If you have car insurance, your policy may help you pay for those costs. In this post, you’ll learn how to file a car insurance claim for hail damage and the steps that you can expect.
Before you start researching how to file a car insurance claim, start by thoroughly documenting how the hail damaged your vehicle. You'll need these photos, videos, and notes to explain the full extent of what happened.
If the impact was strictly cosmetic in nature, then hold off on making any types of repairs to it. The evidence you record can act as a valuable timestamp that helps tie the markings on your car to the hailstorm. It is smart, however, to get a few quotes that estimate how much the repairs will cost.
Most of the time, you can only file an insurance claim for hail damage if you have what's known as a comprehensive auto insurance policy.
Also known as "Other Than Collision" insurance, these policies cover other problems that you might experience with your vehicle beyond an accident, such as vandalism, theft, or weather-related damage. If you have this type of policy in place, you're on the right track.
But keep in mind that you'll need to pay the deductible amount on your comprehensive insurance policy before you can receive a payout. Depending on how much you've accessed it in the past year, that could mean paying the deductible in full.
This is when you'll need to perform a simple calculation.
Look up the amount that you have to pay on your deductible. Then, look at the cost of repairing the hail damage on your car. If the cost of the deductible is higher, then it might be more cost-effective to simply pay for the repair without filing an insurance claim.
There are two reasons why you would move on to Step 3.
The first is that the hail damage was minor, but you're still paying off a loan on your vehicle. If you own your car outright, then you may choose to live with a few dings and dents and not file an insurance claim.
Depending on the terms of your loan, you might not have that option. Your lender may require you to fix the damage so the vehicle (which they technically own) will retain its value. In that case, the settlement check you receive will be made out to both you and the lender.
The other reason: the hail damage was major in scope, and you can't drive your car until you get it repaired. In either case, your next move is to file a comprehensive insurance claim with your insurer.
Contact your local agent to understand the exact steps required to do so. Each company will have its own set of rules to follow, so make sure you're filling out the right forms in the right order. Ask about your state's laws and the carrier's rating system to understand whether this damage will increase your insurance.
Most of the time, comprehensive insurance claims won't affect your rates. This is especially the case with natural weather events like hail, which are out of your control.
Once you file the claim, you'll meet with an insurance adjuster. This is the person who will assess the extent of hail damage to your car.
They may find that the damage was so severe your car should be “totaled”. If that's the case, they may give you a settlement check that's equal to the car's actual cash value. Then, you can turn around and use that money to purchase another vehicle.
Or, the adjuster might decide that the damage is manageable enough to be corrected through repairs. If so, they'll offer you a settlement amount that they feel is adequate enough to cover the extent of those services.
If your insurance company pays to repair your hail damage, your next step is to take your car to the repair shop. Most hail damage is fixable by a qualified and experienced mechanic.
If there's an amount left to pay on your deductible, you'll take care of that first. Then, you can use the insurance settlement money to cover the rest of the costs. If the damage was isolated to your car's windshield, your insurance company may waive the deductible, especially if it's just being repaired and not replaced.
While insurance can be a complicated concept, there are claim handling experts who can help you navigate these next steps with confidence.
Now that you know how to file a car insurance claim for hail damage, you'll be ready to act if you're in this situation. If you have a comprehensive policy in place, you should be at least partially covered but it's smart to double-check before moving forward.
Looking for fast and reliable hail repairs you can trust? 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.