Worried about hail damage to your car? You should be! Hail can do terrible things to your car's exterior, so in this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of ways to protect your vehicle. The best way to prevent damage to your car will depend on your own situation - are you at home or on the road? Do you own a garage or not? So, to cover all of your bases, we will go into depth on each scenario in order to better prepare you to protect your prized possessions from hailstones.
There are many ways to protect your vehicle from hail damage:
- Pull Under a Bridge or Overpass
- Park Beside a Building
- Park in a Parking Garage
- Cover the Car
- Park the Car in Your Garage
- Find a Gas Station with An Awning
- Use a Carport
- Buy a Hail Protection System
Hopefully, one of these options will be available to you during the next hail storm. Stay with us as we discuss these various methods as well as other topics pertinent to hail damage on vehicles.
How to Protect Your Car While Driving
Say you are driving along when large, punishing hailstones begin raining down. What do you do? Well, you have some options, and, as usual, the better prepared you are, the better off you will be.
Pull Under a Bridge or Overpass
If you can find a large bridge or overpass to park underneath, these structures should provide some protection against the hail. Of course, if the hail is blowing sideways and the bridge is very high, the protection might be fairly minimal.
Park Beside a Building
Parking next to a tall building can help shield you from hail, as long as you park on the side that the wind is blowing towards. Try to get the entire length of your car right up next to the building if it is possible to do so safely. The closer you are to the building, the better protected you will be from the blowing hail.
Park in a Parking Garage
If you are able to pull into a parking garage, using any of the covered spaces will allow you to hide from the hail. And, even if you have to pay a fee for the privilege of using the garage, it will be well worth it to avoid the very expensive hail damage. Finding the business or shopping areas will give you the best chance of finding covered parking garages.
Find a Gas Station with an Awning
Many gas stations use a large owning to protect customers from the weather. If you can find one of these gas stations during the hail storm, pull under the awning as quickly as possible. Many other drivers will attempt to seek refuge in there as well, so the faster you get in, the better. And, after you are safe from the weather, be sure to make a purchase from the business whose property you just used - if not gas, at least a drink, and a candy bar.
Cover Your Car
If you live in an area prone to hail, or plan on traveling through one, bring a car cover with you in your car. In the worst-case scenario, you can park and quickly pull the cover over your car if the hail starts. Blankets can also be used if you don't own a car cover. No blanket, either? You can always throw your floormats over the windows to prevent breakage.
When it comes to buying a car cover, the thickest ones will provide the most hail protection. And some are even marketed as hail-protecting.
Click here to see this on Amazon.
Protecting Your Car at Home
Hopefully, you won't be caught driving when a large hailstorm hits. But even if you are at home, it is still important to protect your vehicle from damage during the storm. Here are the best ways to prevent expensive damage at home:
Park in the Garage
Of course, the best option, if it's available, is to pull your vehicle into a garage. These solid structures will provide the most protection from hail because they are able to ward off hail from all angles.
Unfortunately, this isn't always an option - many people do not have access to a garage for any or all of their vehicles. So let's move on to some other options.
Use a Carport
Carports generally do not have enclosed sides, so they can't offer as much protection as a full garage. See this one from Amazon for an example of a common temporary carport:
Click here to see this on Amazon.
Clearly, there is a lot of space there that can let hail in on the sides. Still, having at least a solid roof will greatly reduce the damage inflicted on your vehicle. Maybe your home came with an attached carport that has a solid roof and sits against one side of your house - that will provide good protection as long as the wind isn't blowing the hail in from the other side. Attaching a tarp to the side of the carport will help protect against sideways-blowing hail.
Another option is to buy a temporary enclosed carport, like this one on Amazon:
Click here to find this on Amazon.
As long as you have space on your property, you can erect one of these temporary structures to park your car in. It might not be as strong as a standing building like a garage, but as long as the hail and wind aren't hurricane-force, you should be fairly protected from most weather, including hail. Just make sure to use strong stakes to hold it down!
Buy a Hail Protection System
Okay, say you don't have access to a garage or carport, but still really need to avoid any hail damage to your car. What do you do? One option is a hail protection system.
Click here to buy this product on Amazon.
Like a giant car cover, these systems incorporate an airflow system that can inflate the cover over your car, providing an air buffer to keep the hail from contacting your vehicle. The system cited above even includes a remote-activated airflow system so you don't have to run out into foul weather to start it up. This is a novel approach to hail protection for anyone without access to a garage.
Will a Tarp Protect a Car From Hail?
While most people don't own dedicated car covers, tarps are pretty common items in many households. Owning a tarp can be better than nothing when it comes to hail protection:
Click here to find this on Amazon.
A tarp will provide some protection from hail damage, but because they are usually relatively thin, they will not fully protect your vehicle from large hailstones. The thicker your tarp is, the more protection it will offer.
However, if you own a tarp, don't despair - there is hope for you still. Placing as many large, fluffy blankets as possible under the trap will greatly enhance your hail protection. Tie them town under the tarp so they don't fly off in the wind, and these big blankets will absorb most of the hail's impact and should serve to protect against all but the most intense of hail.
Does Hail Damage Write off a Car?
Just because you have a couple of dings on your car doesn't mean your insurance will total it. However, if the damage is severe, or even somewhat severe, that is a possibility.
It might seem counterintuitive to some folks, but even the cosmetic damage caused by hail can cause so much damage that the repairs would cost more than the value of your vehicle. That's because hail often affects every body panel of your car, so each one must be painstakingly repaired or replaced and then, usually, painted. This entire process is extremely time-consuming and expensive.
How Much Does Hail Damage Reduce the Value of a Car?
To find out how much your car's value will depreciate after hail damage, we must find out how much it costs to repair. The true cost to repair hail damage will vary greatly depending on the extent of the damage - how much of your vehicle is damaged and how large the damage is. The cost will also depend on the year, make, and model of your car.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let's talk some figures. According to this article, the average claim for hail damage is somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000. But it can get worse, with some repairs costing as much as $15,000!
Having thousands of dollars in needed repairs will seriously affect the value of your car, by at least as much as the cost of the repairs. After all, prospective buyers will have to go through the hassle of performing the repairs as well as paying for them.
Can You Get Comprehensive Insurance on a Hail Damaged Car?
First of all, if you want insurance to cover hail damage, you must purchase comprehensive coverage. Liability will only cover damage you cause to other property with your vehicle.
But if you have comprehensive insurance, it should cover the cost to repair hail damage. As the name implies, comprehensive coverage includes payment for damages caused by pretty much anything. Just know that some insurers may prevent you from adding comprehensive insurance just prior to a big storm, so add it sooner than later!
Can You Claim Hail Damage on a Car Twice?
Yes, it is possible to have two separate insurance claims filed for hail damage. You just can't file two claims for the same damage. That means you must use your insurance money to fix the hail damage before filing any new claims for repairs. And be careful, because if your insurance company issues you a check for hail damage repairs and you choose not to get the repairs done, the company will likely withhold that money from any future claims until the repairs are completed.
However, if your previous hail damage was claimed and repaired, you should not have a problem getting a second claim approved for subsequent hail damage.
Does Repaired Hail Damage Affect Car Value?
If you have been through the hassle of having your vehicle hail damaged and then repaired, will that history of damage impact your resale value? Unfortunately, it can. Anytime prospective buyers see that a vehicle has had extensive repairs, it can scare them away, meaning your vehicle's value may decrease.
However, having the damage repaired at a certified auto body shop and making sure there are no traces of damage should go a long way towards preserving your resale value.
Be Prepared and Be Safe
Anyone from the Midwest can attest - hail damage can be dangerous and severe. The most important thing is to keep yourself and your family safe. However, after that, trying to prevent the very expensive damage hail inflicts on your vehicle should also be a priority. Watching your local weather forecast will help you prepare your vehicle against hail damage.
Know some important safety tips here:
Driving with a Cracked Windshield: Should You Be Doing That?
What to Do in a Tornado While Driving?
Can a Travel Trailer Be Stolen? (And How to Prevent It)