UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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So you just went through a hailstorm. Your car is damaged. Maybe there are dozens of “dings” across the hood and roof of your car. Or maybe it’s relatively minor. The important question is: is your vehicle covered? Does auto insurance cover hail damage? Today, we’re answering that question to help you receive the maximum compensation for your hail damage.
Hail Damage Isn’t Covered Under a Basic Liability Auto Insurance Plan, But It Is Covered Under Comprehensive Plans
Hail can occur across the United States. Typically, hail damage is not covered under a basic liability auto insurance plan. Most insurance companies find it far too expensive. After all, when a hail storm rips through the region, it could leave insurance companies with millions of dollars of liability to cover overnight.
In most cases, only those with “comprehensive” auto insurance coverage are covered from hail damage.
If you purchased liability only insurance coverage, then you will not be covered for a hail damage claim. Hail damage is treated like any storm damage, and both are only covered under comprehensive auto insurance plans.
If you’re in a region that’s particularly prone to hail, then you may have avoided adding hail coverage to your policy. Your insurance company might charge prohibitively high rates for hail and glass coverage, for example. In other regions, however, that are less prone to hail, comprehensive coverage might not be overly expensive.
However, as we’ll learn below, even those who have comprehensive coverage may not wish to file a claim.
How Much Does Hail Damage Cost?
Hail damage might not look like a big deal. Your car might have a few small dents and dings. However, hail damage can be surprisingly expensive. In some cases, your windshield may be damaged. Each dent might cost $100 to repair. If you have several dents, then the cost can quickly add up.
Paint problems, cracked windshields, and other cosmetic issues can also raise the cost of repairs.
Should You File a Hail Damage Claim?
Even if you are covered under a comprehensive insurance policy, it may not be in your best interest to file a claim.
Your decision on filing a hail damage claim depends on the extent of your damage, the cost of repairs, the value of your vehicle, and the cost of your deductible.
For example, if it’s going to cost $2,000 for a paint job and dent repair, and you have a $1,000 deductible, then your insurance company will only cover the remaining $1,000. If your car is older and worth only $2,500, then it may not be worth it to file a claim. You might be better off using the cash for something else – like starting a new car fund.
It’s also important to note that filing a claim may have an effect on future premiums. If this is your first claim under comprehensive coverage, then it may not influence future premiums. However, depending on the number of previous claims you’ve filed, you may face consequences. Some insurance companies might increase your deductible, for example. Others might prevent you from getting comprehensive coverage. Typically, this will only become an issue in cases of frequent claims – say, if you’ve made three hailstorm damage claims in two years.
If you have comprehensive insurance, then the cost of repairing your damaged vehicle will typically exceed your deductible. That means it’s in your best interest to make a claim. However, if you only have a few minor dents, then it may not be worth it. Get a repair estimate and check your deductible.
Can I Add Comprehensive Coverage Prior to a Storm?
So you think you can outsmart an insurance company by adding comprehensive coverage to your vehicle just prior to a storm arriving in your region.
Let’s say a big hailstorm or hurricane is scheduled to arrive later in the week. It’s in your best interest to add comprehensive coverage ASAP, right?
Unfortunately, most insurance companies block your ability to add comprehensive coverage if a storm is scheduled to arrive in the coming days.
Conclusion: Does Auto Insurance Always Cover Hail Damage?
Auto insurance only covers hail damage if you have a comprehensive insurance policy. Hail damage falls under the same category as storm damage. If you have basic liability insurance, then you won’t be covered.
If you do have comprehensive coverage, it’s usually in your best interest to file a claim. However, depending on the cost of repairs – and the price of your deductible – you may be better off paying for repairs out of pocket. You also need to consider the fact that repeated hail damage claims could cause your rates to rise.