Seen by some as a freak weather phenomenon and others as an inevitable part of the yearly climate, hail can come in all shapes and sizes. The larger the balls — and they can grow to the size of baseballs in certain parts of the world — the larger the dents these stones make on cars. In this piece, we’ll look at what you should do if your vehicle is caught in a freak hail storm that damages your vehicle.
As always, with vehicular damage, you should take photographs of the immediate aftermath of the hail that impacted your car. Be careful to gather all the evidence you need to prove that it was hail, and not some other event, that created the damage to your car. This could be useful when you talk to your insurer about repairs and payouts.
Next up, it’s time for you to check the damage. Most of this will be cosmetic, and it’s unlikely therefore that you’ll need to perform a mechanical check on your car in the aftermath of a hail storm. Nonetheless, you will need to check what parts of your car are damaged.
If you find that it’s merely cosmetic damage to your car’s outer shell, then you will likely be fine to drive your vehicle. If, on the other hand, your windshield or side mirrors have smashed under the impact of a hailstone, you might be forced to take your car off the road to make immediate repairs. Check with the law in your state to understand whether you can drive your vehicle legally when it has a smashed mirror or window. And, as always, err on the side of caution when it comes to driving a damaged car.
If you have comprehensive insurance, you should file a claim because hail damage will be covered. On average, a full auto hail repair costs approximately $6,500, much higher than the average deductibles that you carry.
However, many people fail to file a claim because they assume that the insurance company will raise their premiums – NOT true. Insurance companies cannot raise your rate because hail damage is a “no-fault” claim.
However, dealing with insurance companies is often the most excruciating part of having your car caught in a hailstorm: you’re required to talk endlessly with insurers about how you can get the money back for the damage and the repairs. It always takes time out of your day, and you’re often asked to talk to several different people to process your claim.
This is why there are companies that cater to hail damage specifically. They both repair your vehicle from the specific hail damage that it’s sustained, and they’ll talk to your insurers themselves. This means, of course, that you cut out those annoying phone calls, all while getting your car repaired by experts in the field of hail damage. Check out hail damage repair services near you to organize your fix.
Bonus tips: If you search for auto hail repair online, you may come across various offers to cover your deductible. Here’s everything you need to know about getting your vehicle repaired without paying a dime out of pocket.
Now that you’ve organized to have your car fixed, you’ll have a short wait during which you may or may not need to use your car. As specified above, it’s always unwise to drive a damaged car, especially one that may be illegal to take out onto the roads. The last thing you want after a hailstorm is to be pulled over by a police officer for a traffic offense.
Therefore, you should make absolutely certain that your car is both safe and legal to take onto the roads before getting behind the wheel. Remember that hail repair companies can come to pick up your car from any location, which means that you don’t necessarily need to take it home if it’s been damaged.
If your car will be taken off the roads for several days, it’s advisable to look for a new car to take on for a short-term rental. This might be a service included with your insurance agreement. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover a rental car, you may get complimentary rental service from a professional hail dent repair shop – another reason to use a hail repair specialist.
Using a rental car for the time that your vehicle is being returned to normal shouldn’t change your circumstances at all. It’ll simply keep you mobile while your car is out of your immediate access. Talk to your repair company to get a definitive date regarding the return of your vehicle to you.
Here’s a final note on staying safe in areas that experience frequent storms: in the event of a serious hailstorm, you should pull over to the side of the road and put on your hazard lights. This will protect you in the event of heavy stones penetrating your windshield, making driving dangerous.
There you have it: a complete guide to what to do when your car is damaged by hail.