Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
Comprehensive car insurance covers hail damage, but standard liability and collision insurance do not. Comprehensive insurance is an optional coverage that provides protection against damage to your vehicle that is not the result of a collision. Common coverages include damage due to theft, vandalism, falling trees or objects, and damage due to weather incidents such as lightning, wind, fire, or hail. This coverage is required for financial protection from most weather-related vehicle damages.
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What Can Hail Do to a Car?
Hail can cause serious damage to a car. While small, pea-sized hail may scuff paint, quarter-sized hail can cause significant dents or scratches. Larger hail can break windows, damage car bodies, and smash sunroofs.
Depending on where you live, your risk of hail damage varies. Consider recent data, which found that in April 2021, 3.5% of claims in the United States were for hail damage. In Texas during that same period, however, hail damage accounted for 19.5% of all claims. In 2022, the top 5 states for hail events were Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, and South Dakota, a group sometimes referred to as “Hail Alley.”
While hail damage can occur in other parts of the country due to severe storm systems, car owners in states with a higher-than-average risk of severe weather may want to consider comprehensive insurance.
How Does Auto Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
Comprehensive car insurance covers damage due to hail, along with damage due to other severe weather events. If your car is damaged in a hail storm and you have comprehensive insurance, you’ll only be responsible for your deductible.
Other typical insurance policy types, such as liability, collision, and GAP insurance, offer different coverages for damage or loss but do not cover hail damage. Liability insurance provides coverage if you are at fault for an accident. It pays for damage to vehicles and injuries to people up to your policy’s limit.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle or injury you sustain in an at-fault accident. GAP insurance applies in cases where your vehicle is a total loss. It pays out the difference, or “gap,” between the depreciated value of your vehicle and what it costs to replace.
What Types of Hail Damage Will Comprehensive Coverage Repair?
There are several types of hail damage that comprehensive insurance covers. These include:
- Damage to the vehicle body: If your vehicle’s body is scratched or dented by hail, comprehensive coverage helps cover the cost.
- Damage to windows or windshields: Broken windows, windshields, mirrors, and sunroofs are also covered by comprehensive insurance.
- Damage to electrical or engine components: Comprehensive coverage helps pay for damage to engine components or electrical systems if extensive enough hail damages both your hood and the systems underneath.
- Total vehicle loss: If your insurance company deems your vehicle a total loss due to hail, if repair costs exceed its depreciated value, comprehensive damage is applicable.
What Else Does Comprehensive Coverage Help Pay For?
In addition to hail damage on car insurance, comprehensive coverage also helps cover other perils, such as:
- Theft: If your vehicle is stolen or otherwise damaged due to theft an attempted theft, comprehensive coverage applies.
- Vandalism: Damage caused by vandalism, such as broken windows or slashed tires, is covered by comprehensive insurance.
- Falling objects: This type of insurance also applies if your car is damaged by falling objects such as tree branches or electrical wires.
- Weather-related damage: Along with hail, comprehensive insurance also covers damage due to other weather-related events such as windstorms, fires, or floods.
- Damage caused by animals: Comprehensive coverage also applies if you hit an animal or your vehicle is damaged by animals in any way.
How to File a Claim For Hail Damage
If your car is damaged by hail and you have comprehensive coverage, you may want to file a claim.
Several factors determine if filing a claim is your best course of action. First is the total value of the damage vs. your deductible. For example, if dents on your vehicle amount to $400 worth of repairs but your deductible is $500, paying for the repair yourself is more cost effective. If your car suffers $2,000 in damage, it may be worth using your insurance.
The frequency of your insurance claims also plays a role. If you have regularly made claims for hail damage, you may find that your premium for comprehensive coverage begins to increase. As a result, it’s worth considering the pros and cons of filing a claim.
If you decide to file a claim, sooner is better than later. Insurance providers may limit how long you can wait before filing a claim, so check with your provider as soon as you notice the damage. When filing the claim, expect to provide pictures of your vehicle and details about the storm. You may also need to take your vehicle for a repair estimate at an auto body shop.
Tips for Preventing Hail Damage
While it’s impossible to control the weather, you can take steps to reduce the risk of hail damage.
- Park under cover: Whenever possible, park in a garage or under a covered parking pad.
- Purchase a car cover: If covered parking is not available, consider purchasing a car cover designed to limit the impact of hail.
- Find shelter in the storm: If you find yourself caught in a hail storm, look for cover to wait out the worst of the weather.
Putting It All Together
Hail can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage provides insurance for hail-damaged cars, whether the damage is minor or significant or even if your car is a total loss. If you live in a state with significant hail risk and are curious about comprehensive coverage, contact your insurance provider to see if they offer comprehensive hail damage policies, how much these policies cost, and how much coverage they provide.