Does car insurance cover hail damage?

Your car insurance will likely cover hail damage if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive covers damage to your vehicle from events outside of your control, often including hail and other weather-related damage. If hail damage is covered, your car insurance can pay for the repairs minus your deductible and up to your policy's limit — usually the cash value of your car. If you don't carry comprehensive coverage, your car insurance will likely not cover hail damage repairs.

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Car with dented in hood from hail.

How do hail damage car insurance claims work?

If your vehicle sustained damage by hail and you have comprehensive car insurance coverage that covers hail damage, you can file a claim by following these steps:

  1. Start your claim. Most insurers let you file a car insurance claim online, in a mobile app, or over the phone. Start your claim as soon as possible after the hail damage occurs.

  2. Include photos or video. Take photos or video of all the hail damage you can find on your car and include them in your claim or send them to your adjuster once your claim is in progress.

  3. Find out your repair options. Your adjuster can provide a repair estimate and shops that can repair your vehicle. If you have a preferred body shop whose estimate is higher than your insurance adjuster's, consider connecting your shop with your adjuster. Sometimes, they can reach an agreement.

  4. Arrange payment. You'll be responsible for paying your comprehensive deductible, and your insurer will pay for the rest of the repair costs up to your limit. Some insurers may pay the repair shop directly, while others may have you pay the repair shop and reimburse you.

Can a hail damage claim raise my insurance rate?

Yes. If you make a hail damage claim, your insurance rate may increase when you renew your policy. Insurance companies differ in how they review claims and risks when determining rates. Even if your insurance company doesn't raise your premium for one claim, they will add your new claim to your claims history, and a history of frequent claims may increase your premium.

If you live in a hail-prone area, your insurer may raise the cost of your comprehensive coverage because there's a higher likelihood of weather-related claims. Keeping your car in a garage or a covered parking spot can reduce the likelihood of hail damage and a potential rate increase.

Is filing a claim for hail damage worth it?

To determine if you should file a hail damage car insurance claim, compare your comprehensive deductible with the estimate to repair your car. If your repair estimate amount is less than your deductible or close to it, you're better off paying for the repairs out of pocket. If the repair estimate is significantly more than your deductible, filing a claim may make sense.

Can hail damage total your car?

Yes. A bad hailstorm can total your car more easily than you'd think. Since hail typically hits an entire vehicle, your whole car is likely to be damaged, and such significant damage can be challenging to repair. Suppose your insurance company deems your vehicle a total loss and you have comprehensive coverage. They will likely write you a check for your car's actual cash value, minus your deductible instead of paying for the car to be repaired. You can then use that money however you'd like.

Can hail damage be repaired?

Mechanics can sometimes repair hail damage on cars using "paintless dent removal," through which the dented areas are gently pushed back to their original positions. Other repair methods, used when filling and repairing dents or replacing damaged panels, can be more time-consuming and expensive.

How can I protect my car from hail?

Use these hail damage prevention tips the next time a hailstorm is headed your car's way:

  • Pay for permanent covered parking if hailstorms are frequent in your area
  • Wait out the storm in temporary covered parking like a mall parking garage
  • Cover your car with thick blankets or a hail car cover

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