Is Hail Damage to My Car Covered?
After the Storm
The one sure thing about the weather is that it is always unpredictable. Severe storms can wreak havoc on your house, car, and city. A car can easily be pummeled with unsightly dents due to hail damage. The cost to repair hail damage can be shocking because the damage is commonly spread across the entire vehicle. The good news is, it's possible hail damage could be covered under your car insurance policy.
Do I Have Hail Damage Coverage?
If you purchased liability only on your car insurance policy, you will not be covered for a hail damage claim. Both hail and storm damage is covered under car insurance policies which have listed comprehensive coverage on the damaged vehicle. Comprehensive coverage needs to be purchased before damage occurs.
Even though hail is rare in a hurricane, insurance carriers do put a hold on adding comprehensive coverage when a hurricane is projected to make landfall. If you are unable to get comprehensive coverage before the hold is in place, you will be responsible for all physical damage to your vehicle. If hail happens to occur in a separate storm or the actual hurricane, you only have coverage if you added it in time.
Will I Have to Pay a Deductible for Hail Damage?
Deductibles are determined at the time you purchase car insurance on your vehicle. Many insurance companies require a deductible on comprehensive, but sometimes a zero deductible can be offered at an additional cost.
If you have hail damage and a deductible on comprehensive coverage, you will need to pay your deductible at the time you get your vehicle repaired. Regardless of your deductible amount, it is almost certain the cost to repair your hail damaged vehicle will exceed your deductible.
Can Hail Damage Total My Car?
To put it simply, yes: your car can be totaled by hail damage.
The damage can be extensive and depending on the current value of your vehicle it may not be worth fixing. An insurance adjuster will be able to verify whether or not repairs will be made to your vehicle.
Hail damage can be frustrating to deal with. Often people feel the situation may have been unavoidable and don't feel as though they should have to pay for repairs or a deductible. Storm damage is one of those unexpected life surprises everyone has to deal with from time to time. Remember that deductibles are in place to keep your overall insurance costs at a reasonable rate. Hopefully, if you are caught in a storm, you had the foresight to purchase comprehensive coverage on your vehicles if you are not equipped to self-insure. Otherwise, you need to make sure you are parking in a garage or under a covering such as a carport as often as possible.
If you do file a claim, keep in mind that your car was probably not the only car affected by the hailstorm; it may take longer than usual to process your insurance claim and repair your vehicle.
If I File A Claim And The Insurance Company Cuts Me A Check, Do I Have To Fix My Hail Damage?
Lucky you! Many insurance policies will only send you a check once the repairs have been made, but some will simply send you the amount of the estimated repair cost minus your deductible.
If you own your car outright and the damage is merely cosmetic, you probably do not need to make the repairs. However, if you choose to live with your “dimples,” you will probably get far less money for your vehicle if and when you attempt to resell it. If you have an auto loan, you will likely be required to make the repairs.