Hail damage to a car can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to repair. Thankfully, car insurance covers hail damage — but only if your policy includes comprehensive coverage.
Should you file a car insurance claim for hail damage to your car, though? You should if the repair costs are higher than your deductible. If they’re not, you’re better off paying to fix the hail damage out of your own pocket.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
How does car insurance cover hail damage?
Comprehensive car insurance covers hail damage to a vehicle. If you only have basic car insurance, or state-minimum car insurance, it won’t cover damage caused by a hail storm.
How does comprehensive insurance cover hail damage?
Comprehensive car insurance covers several perils that can damage or destroy your car, including:
- Falling objects
- Floods, hurricanes and tornadoes
So, if your vehicle is damaged or destroyed — declared a total loss — due to a hail storm, the comprehensive portion of your policy will pay to repair or replace it up to your coverage limits.
Does full-coverage insurance cover hail damage?
Full-coverage car insurance usually includes comprehensive and collision coverage as well as liability coverage. Because of this, full-coverage auto insurance does cover hail damage to your car.
Does liability insurance cover hail damage?
Liability car insurance doesn’t cover hail damage. Liability coverage only pays for injuries or property damage you cause in an accident. It won’t cover damage to you or your car.
If you only have liability car insurance, sometimes called basic or minimum car insurance, and want to protect yourself and your vehicle from hail damage, add comprehensive coverage to your policy. Our research shows it only costs $8.75 a month to add comprehensive coverage to a basic car insurance policy.
Get cheap car insurance that covers hail damage
That’s far less than what it costs to repair hail damage to a car. The average insurance payout for hail damage is more than $4,000, according to State Farm, so comprehensive coverage offers an excellent return on investment.
This is especially true if you live in a region that’s hit by a lot of hail. Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming are the states that are most prone to hailstorms, making comprehensive auto insurance practically a necessity.
Should I claim hail damage on my car?
Before you file a claim for hail damage, compare the estimated repair costs with your auto insurance policy deductible.
If the cost to fix the hail damage isn’t significantly higher than your deductible, consider paying for the repairs out of pocket. Otherwise, you risk seeing your car insurance premium go up.
Your insurance rates are more likely to rise after filing a claim for hail damage if you’ve filed other claims before. The more claims you file, the more likely your premium will go up. If the claim for hail damage is your first, your premium probably won’t increase.
If you decide to file an auto insurance claim for hail damage after a storm in your area, do so quickly. Chances are many of your neighbors are in the same boat. The sooner you file your hail claim in this situation, the sooner your insurance company will process it.
Do I pay a deductible for hail damage to my car?
Yes, you need to pay your comprehensive coverage deductible after you file a claim for hail damage to your car.
Depending on where you bought your policy, your insurance company may subtract your deductible amount from the total repair costs and send that directly to the mechanic or shop.
How much does insurance pay for hail damage to a car?
How much your car insurance provider pays for hail damage depends on:
- Your policy’s comprehensive coverage limits
- Your deductible
- The amount of damage done to your car
Can hail damage total a car?
Hail damage definitely can total a car. This is especially true if the hail is big and your car is on the older side. Even brand-new cars can be totaled by a major hail storm, though, so don’t assume it’s only possible for hail to total old cars.
What should you do if your car is totaled by hail damage?
If hail damage totals your car, the first thing you should consider is the fact that your insurance provider will base the dollar value of your car on its actual cash value, or ACV. ACV is the estimated current market value of a vehicle, not what you paid for it.
This comes into play if your insurer offers a claim payout based on your car’s salvage value. This is the amount your car is worth for parts. Say your car has an ACV of $15,000 and your insurance company gives it a salvage value of $9,000. It will send you a check for the difference — in this case, $6,000 minus your deductible amount.
This may not be enough to cover the repair costs required to return the car to road-worthy status, at which point it gets a rebuilt title. You’ll also need to pay for an inspection to make sure the car is drivable.
Even if you’re able to restore your car to road-worthiness, its rebuilt status will make it difficult and maybe even impossible to get comprehensive or collision car insurance coverage for it. Insurance companies usually consider cars with rebuilt titles to be high risk, and often have a difficult time calculating their value. Most auto insurers would rather deny coverage than take on such risk.
Protecting your car from hail damage
Prevention is the best way to avoid hail damage — and avoid filing an auto insurance claim for hail damage.
Here are some simple, inexpensive steps that can protect you and your car from hail damage and hail-damage claims:
- Keep your car in a garage or carport if hailstorms are frequent where you live.
- Buy a car cover designed to prevent hail damage. If you want to save money, the floor mats of your car can double as window covers.
- Avoid driving if your local weather forecast calls for hail. Should you get caught in a hail storm, find cover for your car as quickly and safely as possible and wait it out. The velocity of a moving car can increase the damage hail causes.
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