Hail caused by severe storms can cause significant damage to your vehicle if it’s not properly protected from the elements. If you have a vehicle that gets damaged by hail, it’s important to know whether your insurance will cover it. The type of coverage you have usually dictates whether you’ll have to pay for the damage to your vehicle out of your own pocket. Here’s what you need to know about making a hail damage car insurance claim.
What Type of Car Insurance Covers Hail Damage?
In 2021, there were 3,763 major hail storms in the United States, and in the previous year, State Farm paid over $3.1 billion in hail claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Texas was the state with the most claims, closely followed by Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri. No matter which part of the country you live in, it’s helpful to understand whether your car insurance will cover damage caused by hail storms so that you can protect your vehicle accordingly.
If you have comprehensive insurance coverage, your insurer will cover vehicle damage caused by hail. This type of coverage can pay for auto body, windshield, or interior damage resulting from a hail storm. However, if you only have liability insurance, your insurer will not cover the damage to your vehicle, and you will have to pay your own repair costs.
What Does Comprehensive Insurance Cover?
Comprehensive insurance covers just about any incident that’s directly beyond your control. This includes damage to your car resulting from wild animals, losses resulting from vandalism or theft, and damage from fires and natural disasters, which include hail storms. While this type of coverage includes many incidents, it doesn’t cover damage that liability or collision insurance already covers. This includes:
- Damages from potholes
- Damages to another person
- The value of items stolen from your vehicle
- Lost income due to absence from work resulting from the accident
- Personal injuries from the accident
What Does Liability Insurance Cover?
Unlike comprehensive insurance, liability insurance covers the cost of damages directly resulting from car accidents, including bodily injury of a driver or their passengers. Under liability insurance, each person negatively affected by an accident is able to claim a certain amount of money to cover their medical expenses, legal fees, and emotional distress. This type of insurance also helps people recover losses resulting from damage to their property, including their vehicle. Similar to comprehensive insurance, there are a few things that liability insurance won’t cover, such as:
- Natural disasters, including hail storms and floods
- Vehicle repair costs
- The policyholder’s injuries resulting from an accident
- Damage to the policyholder’s car
How To Make a Hail Damage Insurance Claim
If you only have liability insurance, you can’t make a hail damage claim until you purchase comprehensive coverage. If you already have both liability and comprehensive insurance, you should call your insurance provider, either by phone or email, as soon as you notice the damage so that you can begin the claims process. Filing a claim for hail damage with your insurance provider is typically the same process as any other type of car insurance claim.
It’s useful to keep in mind that others in your area are likely to make the same claim, so it may take time for your insurer to process your information. Most insurers give you at least a year to file an auto hail damage claim, but it’s important to call your insurer as soon as you’re able so that they will help you faster. Once you notify your insurer, they’ll send a claims adjuster to assess the damage.
To get the best possible compensation for your losses, document the damage to your vehicle beforehand and consider getting an estimate from a local body shop to see how much repairs might cost. This will help you become more prepared for the claims adjuster’s visit. They’ll then determine if your insurer will pay to repair the damage to your vehicle.
When To Make a Hail Damage Claim
It typically isn’t necessary to make a claim for minor hail damage, as the repair costs to your vehicle won’t exceed the amount of your deductible. Most car owners reserve making a claim for hail storms that cause significant damage to their vehicle. If you own your car, the decision to make a claim is ultimately up to you, but if you have a loan on your car, you’ll most likely have to fix it yourself, and any settlement you receive from your employer will go to you and your lender.
Whether you choose to make a claim comes down to the extent of the damage to your vehicle. The average hail storm claim can be as high as $3,000, depending on the level of damage. Most auto body shops can repair minor dents or cracks at a fairly cheap price. Common situations where you make want to file a claim include:
- Your vehicle is so damaged you’re unable to drive it safely
- The hail cracked your windshield, windows, or side mirrors
- Your doors or mirrors are stuck or jammed
- Your side mirrors are missing or loose
- The total cost of repair to your car exceeds your deductible
How Much Will Insurance Pay for Hail Damage?
The amount that your insurer will pay out to you as a result of damage caused by a hail storm is likely to vary, depending on the total damage to your vehicle and your deductible. Comprehensive insurance typically includes a deductible, which is the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket when you decide to make a claim. Although having a higher deductible on your policy can help you lower your premium, you may want to consider adjusting it if you live in an area that experiences strong hail storms.
If you make a hail damage claim, it’s important to note that the claim will be on your insurance record, which might affect what you pay for car insurance. Many hail storms can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and the annual cost of comprehensive coverage is generally between $100 and $300, so adding it can be a good option if you want to avoid high repair costs. Now that you know more about making a hail damage insurance claim, you can be more prepared if your vehicle gets damaged in a hail storm.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.