Spring brings the promise of warmer weather—and in some parts of the U.S.—the end of snowstorms. But instead of snow storms, some states have to worry about hail storms.
Insurance Business America reports that spring brings an onslaught of hail related insurance claims. Insurers receive 47 percent of their hail claims for the year between April and June.
Some areas of the U.S. are affected more than others, like the "Hail Belt." The "Hail Belt" is located in the Midwest and Great Plains. Almost 60 percent of severe weather claims in this area were hail related.
Progressive Insurance conducted a recent study that revealed the five states with the most hail claims. They were, in order:
Case in point, an article form Wfaa.com reported that April hail storms in north Texas have caused enough car damage to keep a repair shop busy until October. Storms in this area have left large hard-to-remove dents and even totaled cars.
Depending on the size and speed at which it falls, hail can cause considerable damage to a person's car. Hail, and the winds that can often come with it, can cause huge dents, broken windows and windshields, and even engine damage. Small dents alone can cost hundreds of dollars to repair.
According to the National Storm Damage Center, every year hail causes about $1 billion in damages in the United States, including car damage. Although hail is often smaller, it can grow as big as soccer balls. And hail can fall at a speed of up to 120 miles per hour.
9News.com noted that golf ball-sized hail can cause severe damage to roofs and trunk lids. They may even need to be completely replaced if the damage is extensive.
You're probably wondering if your car insurance will cover you for hail damages. Unfortunately, liability insurance alone won't protect your car. Consider buying comprehensive insurance, which includes coverage for hail damage. This is especially important if you live in an area where it hails often.
If hail has damaged your car, take photos of the damages. Make sure to let your insurance company know about your claim as soon as possible. You'll then have to get your car appraised. According to Dentwizard.com, a hail estimate will take around 30 to 45 minutes to complete.
Your insurer may have a specific repair shop they prefer, which could make filing a claim easier. Regardless, you should be able to choose where you get your repairs done.
The time it takes to fix your car will depend on how extensive the damages are. Light to moderate damage will take about one to three days to repair. More serious damage can take up to three weeks.
The cost? Abcnews.com reports hail claims on average are between $2,500 and $7,000. This depends on factors such as:
- Location of damage
- Size of dents
- Type of metal car is made of
Policyholders who have windshield damage may be in luck. Many insurers will repair your windshield free of charge, without a deductible. Learn more about windshield and glass claims here.
Typically, the car owner will have to pay their deductible for a hail claim. Then the insurance company will pay for the rest of the damages. If the amount it costs to fix your car is the same or lower than your deductible, it's best not to file a claim.
How to Protect Your Car from Hail Damage
First, find out if you live in an area where it hails often. Since hail occurs during thunderstorms, keep an eye on the weather for any approaching storms. When a storm is approaching, make sure to move your car to a safer place like a covered garage.
If you're driving during a hail storm, pull over. Find a covered parking lot if at all possible and wait out the storm.
Drivers who can't find covered shelter should do whatever they can to protect their car. This can include using car floor mats, blankets, cardboard, or even pillows to protect your windshield, roof, and hood of your car. If you know you're in a high risk area for hailstorms, you can prepare by keeping items to protect your car stored in your trunk.
People who are have a higher chance of hail storms can also invest in a car cover. These can range from $30 to $500. Some more expensive covers claim to protect against all kinds of hail damage.
Some hail damage isn't preventable. Buying comprehensive car insurance is the best way to protect yourself from having to pay for damages from hail.