Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage?


Not all types of car insurance will cover damage from hail, but if you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, you should be covered for repair costs incurred by hail damage. In addition, you may also be covered for your car’s actual cash value if your entire vehicle is declared a total loss and needs to be replaced. However, you will most likely need to pay a deductible, and your insurance company may raise your car insurance rates as well.

If you’ve ever been through a bad hail storm, you’ve probably witnessed the property damage it can inflict, especially on vehicles. If you live in an area that’s prone to hail, you may be wondering: Does car insurance cover hail damage? Fortunately, the answer is yes — if you have the right auto insurance policy, that is.

Keep reading to learn about the types of car insurance policies that cover hail damage, including what else those policies cover and what you should do if your car is damaged by hail.

Does car insurance cover hail damage?

In order to be covered for damage resulting from hail storms, you need a comprehensive insurance policy. This will cover all disaster-related harm to your car, including hail damage. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you run the risk of having to pay for disaster-related damage to your vehicle yourself.

Unlike liability insurance, which is mandatory in most states, comprehensive coverage isn’t required unless you’re financing your automobile. That said, there are a variety of reasons you may want to invest in comprehensive coverage. While most hail storms don’t cause that much damage, there are plenty of other types of disasters you might want to be prepared for. In addition to hail damage, comprehensive insurance also typically protects against the following scenarios:

  • Fire or explosions
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Natural disasters (such as floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes)
  • Damage caused by animals (for example, if you were to hit a deer on the road)
  • Damage from falling trees or branches

It’s worth noting that comprehensive coverage should be included if you have “full coverage,” which is usually required when you finance a car. Full coverage typically consists of liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage.

Pro Tip

“Different providers’ policies cover different types of damage and possibilities, so always make sure that you talk to a broker to find out exactly what your policy covers and what it doesn’t, and if you’re not happy with the level of coverage, find a new provider who can, and will, provide the coverage that you need and want.” — David Brewer, CEO and co-founder of Protect Line

Should you file a car insurance claim due to hail damage?

If you need to repair hail damage, you may think you definitely need to file a claim against your comprehensive car insurance. However, you’ll first want to assess the damage caused by the hail and possibly get an estimate, as not every scenario warrants a claim.

For example, if your vehicle only sustained minor hail damage but you have a higher deductible, you may need to cover the cost of repairs yourself. Imagine your deductible is $1,000, but hail storm repairs are only going to cost you $800. In that case, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim because your insurance company won’t pay for repair costs that amount to less than your deductible.

Will a hail damage claim increase your premiums?

Another factor to consider is whether your car insurance company will raise your rates as a result of a claim for hail damage. Your insurance company may not raise your premiums in this case because you’re not at fault for the property damage, but you’ll want to check with your insurance provider to be sure.

Some insurers raise rates any time you file a claim or if you already have a claims history that could also result in a rate hike. If the damage isn’t too bad, it could be less expensive in the long run for you to pay to fix the damage yourself, even if it costs a little more than your deductible.

However, if a major storm causes significant hail damage to your car — such as broken windows, dents, or scratched car paint — you probably will want to file a hail damage claim. Repairs will help maintain the value of your vehicle, which is important if you plan to sell it in the future or trade it in for a new one.

Pro Tip

If your car has dents from hail damage but the surface of the paint is still intact, you may be able to have your car repaired at an auto body shop that uses a paintless dent removal technique. This may be a much less expensive fix for your vehicle that could save you a lot of money, especially if you don’t have comprehensive coverage or if your deductible is high.

What to do if your car is damaged by hail

If there is a hail storm in your area, the first thing you need to do is seek shelter until the storm passes. During the storm, your own safety is much more important than your car’s. Once the storm has passed, you can then venture outside to assess the damage to your property, including your vehicle.

If the hail damage looks bad, you can document it by taking photos or video (who knows, it could make for a good TikTok post!). The insurance adjuster will likely take their own pictures of the damage, but it never hurts to have your own records just in case.

After you’ve fully documented the damage, another good idea is to do what you can to protect the automobile from further harm. For example, you might want to move it into a garage or sheltered area as soon as possible in case more storms are on the horizon. If necessary, you should cover any broken windows with plastic or a tarp to mitigate any interior water damage. You’ll also want to clean the broken glass from the interior to avoid cuts to the carpet and upholstery.

How to file an insurance claim

If you decide to file a hail damage claim after assessing the damage, you’ll want to contact your insurer right away. Let them know the following information:

  • The vehicle involved (if you have more than one that was damaged)
  • The nature of the incident (in this case, hail damage)
  • The time and location of the incident
  • The extent of the damage

The insurer will most likely appoint an adjuster to evaluate the damage, or they may send you to an approved repair shop for an estimate. The adjuster will eventually send a report to your insurance company, after which you can get your car fixed.

Your company may issue you a check, direct deposit the money into your bank account (minus the deductible), or send the money straight to the auto body shop. If your car is found to be totaled, the payment minus the deductible will be sent to you.

Pro Tip

These days, you may be able to file a claim online or through your insurer’s mobile app. If you’re not sure what your options are, check with your agent.

Other types of car insurance to consider

For coverage in the event of any type of damage to your car (whether you’re at fault or not), there are other types of insurance you may want to look into. For instance, comprehensive insurance may cover any needed repairs, but if your insurer declares your car a total loss because of hail damage, you may suddenly have some new issues to deal with.

Gap insurance

If your insurance company decides that your vehicle is totaled and needs to be replaced, they will reimburse you for the actual cash value of your car. This sometimes works out fine, but you can run into problems if you’re still making payments and discover that you owe more than the car is worth — or more than your insurer is willing to pay based on the repair estimate. In this case, you would need to come up with the difference to pay off the auto loan.

This is where gap coverage comes in handy. Gap (short for guaranteed asset protection) insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers the difference between your car’s actual cash value and what you owe on your auto loan. With gap coverage, you won’t need to pay the difference (which could be significant in some cases). This will help you put more money toward your budget for a new vehicle.

Keep in mind that you probably don’t need gap insurance if your car is old or already paid off. Gap insurance may be a smart investment if your vehicle is less than 10 years old, you still owe money on it, and it’s worth more than a few thousand dollars.

Rental reimbursement coverage

Rental reimbursement coverage — also known as rental car coverage or transportation expense coverage — will reimburse you if you need to rent a car or use public transportation while your car is undergoing repairs for a claim. You should also use a rental car or other means of transportation if you need extra time to buy a new vehicle because the damage to your car was extensive to the point beyond repair.

NOTE: Gap and rental reimbursement are optional types of coverage, so you’ll need to add them to your existing policy, which will raise your premiums a bit.

Tips for protecting your car from hail damage

Avoiding hail damage altogether is ideal but not always possible. That said, the simplest way to avoid hail damage is to avoid traveling during inclement weather and put your car in a garage when there’s a threat of a hail storm.. If you don’t have a garage, or if you’re already driving, try to find a covered parking space or some sort of shelter. If you live in a city, it may be worth the expense of keeping your car in a parking facility for a few hours.

Another option is to use a padded car cover to protect your vehicle from hail storms. A padded cover has the added benefit of protecting your car from other weather-related events, such as falling tree branches in windy conditions. If you don’t have access to protected parking, a cover might be a worthwhile investment — especially if you live in a state that is more prone to hail storms, such as Wyoming, Nebraska, or Colorado.

Key Takeaways

  • Hail damage is only covered if you have comprehensive coverage as part of your auto insurance policy.
  • Comprehensive insurance will also cover other situations, such as your car being stolen or vandalized, catching on fire, being damaged by weather, or being hit by falling objects.
  • Comprehensive coverage does not cover accidents involving another car or collisions in which you are at fault.
  • Consider your deductible before filing a comprehensive insurance claim for hail damage; if you only have minor damage, it may be less expensive in the long term to pay for the repairs yourself rather than increase your premiums.
  • To avoid hail damage while out driving, try to find shelter as soon as possible, such as a covered parking spot. If you don’t have a garage to park your car in, consider investing in a padded car cover to protect your vehicle from weather damage.
View Article Sources
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  3. Hail Damage and Statistics – Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association
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  10. What Is Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage and Is It Worth It? – SuperMoney