One of the most expensive things that many people will own is a motor vehicle, and when it comes to a hail storm, people may overlook their car as they take the necessary preparations following a hail watch warning.
Whether your insurance has cover for weather damage or not, having to deal with this is something that many people in the United States will have to do and this is especially a problem in ‘Tornado Alley’. Hailstones do not generally cause much damage in the majority of instances, but once these become above an inch in diameter then they can cause a lot of damage indeed.
Car Insurance – Your First Step
The first thing that anyone will want to do once they find that their car has suffered from hail damage is to check on their car insurance to see if the repairs are covered by the policy. If the car is damaged by hail and the repairs are covered by the insurance policy, then one of the first things to do is to notify the insurance company and not to arrange any repairs without speaking to them first. At this point it might be advisable to take photographs as evidentiary support.
Damage to Windows and Windscreens
One of the most frustrating things about hail damage is that the most vulnerable areas to the effects of a hail storm are those which cause the most damage. If the storm has hit a large area, then it is worth noting that the insurance companies will often be dealing with hail reports at the same time. The damage caused to windows and windscreens will often be the messiest part of the damage, although this has improved in newer cars with shatter-proof windscreens.
If your insurance policy does cover the repairs then it is best to follow their instructions and not to try tidying up any glass yourself unless they advise it. However, in many instances this will not be covered, and some areas that are vulnerable on the hail map will have insurance companies that don’t cover weather damage. If this is the case then it is best to wear protective clothing while trying to collect the smashed glass, and to place this glass into a firm container such as a bucket or a plastic bottle so that it cannot cause any cuts or injuries to other people.
The range of damage that car bodywork can suffer in a hail storm can be anything from a single dent up to a car that is so pitted and dented that it has no further flat surfaces. The first thing to look for is to see if there are any signs of the bodywork being pierced by the hail, which will usually only happen in storms with larger hailstones. If there is no sign of any mechanical damage, then it will often be fine to drive, for a short time at least. In cases where the entire bodywork has been dented, it can be impractical to repair the vehicle.
If you have insurance that does cover the damage, but it seems to be fairly minimal, it may be worthwhile to get an independent quote about repairing the damage. If these costs are small, then it can be worth it to repair the damage privately rather than incur the insurance costs and the excess on your policy. There are some people who will actively look for hail damaged cars as they are often perfectly fine to drive but are very cheap to buy because of the cosmetic damage that many of these cars will suffer.
Protecting Your Car Before a Hailstorm
There are some instances of storms that happen without any warning, but in the majority of cases there will be some notification that a severe weather event could happen. The hail watch warnings shouldn’t be taken lightly, and acting quickly will often mean that the hail damage report doesn’t include your car.
If you have a garage then putting the car in this protective building is a simple step to take, but even simple steps such as covering up the windows with towels or cardboard to cushion the impact of any hailstones can help to minimize the damage caused by such a storm.