How To Protect Car From Hail and Prevent Damage

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hail storm on car, illustration

If you live in hail-prone areas like Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, or even internationally in Canada, China, Russia, India, and Northern Italy, you know the damage hailstorms can inflict. These regions experience an average of seven to nine hailstorms annually, posing a significant threat to your car, often your second-largest investment.

Hail-related damage is a serious concern, with the National Insurance Crime Bureau reporting an average annual loss of $1 billion, largely impacting vehicles.

This blog post is designed to equip you with strategies to protect your car from hail. We’ll dive into understanding hailstorms, their impacts, and practical steps you can take to shield your vehicle. Staying informed is your first defense against these icy threats.

Key Ways To Protect Cars From Hail:

  • Regularly watch weather forecasts.
  • Install phone applications for hail alerts.
  • Purchase hail protection covers.
  • Cover your car with blankets or cardboard boxes, etc.
  • Park your car in the garage or under the tree.
  • Park the car under carports or portable shelters.

What Is Hail and How Much Damage Can It Cause?

hands full of hailstones, ice balls

To understand the threat of hail, imagine a brewing storm that replaces raindrops with a volley of icy pellets. This is a hailstorm, a phenomenon that turns ordinary rain into a damaging force.

Hailstones, ice balls synonymous with hailstorms, are formed when raindrops are catapulted by thunderstorm updrafts into colder parts of the cloud, freezing them.

The size of hailstones varies widely, from tiny as peas to as big as softballs, and this size dictates the extent of havoc they can cause. Cars are often the prime victims of hailstorms.

The damage caused by hail can range from minor dents and chipped paint to completely shattered windshields. Knowing the potential threats of hailstorms is vital to effectively protect our cars from their destructive impact. Understanding these icy tempests allows us to better prepare and safeguard our vehicles.

How To Protect Your Car From Hail

When it comes to dealing with the potential damage from hailstorms, prevention is undeniably better than repair. Why? Consider the costs and the inconvenience. The financial burden of fixing dents, replacing broken windows, and repainting your vehicle can be quite hefty.

Besides, no one relishes the idea of being without their vehicle while it undergoes repairs. Therefore, taking steps to prevent your car from hail damage is not just a smart decision; it’s a necessary one.

1. Staying Aware of Forecasts

checking weather forecast for hail

Weather reports or forecasts are a valuable tool for predicting hail showers. Regularly checking forecasts on TV, radio, or online can alert you to incoming severe weather, giving you time to protect your car.

If the weather appears uncertain or you’re in a season known for hailstorms, it’s wise to check forecasts more frequently.

2. Utilizing Weather Apps and Alerts

hail alert phone

In our digital age, technology makes staying updated on weather conditions easier than ever. Mobile applications such as AccuWeather, Weather Underground, and The Weather Channel provide real-time weather updates and warnings straight to your smartphone.

You can set these weather apps to send push notifications for severe weather alerts in your area, including potential hailstorms, ensuring that you’re aware of any threats as soon as they arise.

3. Hail Protection Covers

car cover for hail protection

Specialized car covers designed for hail protection can be a great investment if you live in a hail-prone area. These standard car covers are usually padded or inflatable, providing a cushion against falling hailstones. They’re designed to fit securely over your car, reducing the risk of damage from hail.

4. DIY Alternatives

cardboards over car to prevent damage

If you don’t have a specialized inflatable car cover, using items like thick blankets, cardboard boxes, or bubble wrap as a hail windshield cover can be a good temporary solution if you need overnight hail storm protection.

While these methods may not offer as much protection as a dedicated car cover, they can significantly reduce the impact of smaller hailstones, preventing or lessening potential damage.

5. Use of Garage

home garage for car

If you have access to a garage, use it. Parking your car in a garage, particularly during hail-prone seasons, is one of the best ways to shield it from hail damage.

Remember to keep your garage uncluttered so that there’s always space for your car when you need it. 

6. Carports and Portable Shelters

If a garage is not an option, a carport or portable car shelter can be a good alternative. While they may not offer as much protection as a garage, these structures can shield your car from the direct impact of hail hitting, helping to minimize potential damage.

It protects the car from hail to sun exposure. Some portable shelters are designed specifically as hail protectors, offering extra features like reinforced covers.

What To Do If Your Car Gets Hit By Hail

hail damage on car

Here’s what I recommend you do if your car gets hit by hail.

1. Immediate Actions

Safety Precautions Before Inspecting the Car

  • After a hailstorm, the first instinct is to check your car for damage. However, safety should always come first. Make sure the hail storm has completely passed before going outside, as the hail storm can start up again unexpectedly. Also, look out for broken glass or sharp hailstones that could cause injury.

Assessing the Damage

  • Once it’s safe, inspect your car thoroughly. Look for any visible signs of damage, including dents, cracks, or broken glass. Remember to check all sides of the car, as well as the roof and hood. Look whether any tree branches have broken and caused damage or not. Take photos of all damage for insurance purposes, noting the date and time.

2. Insurance Claims and Repairs

Importance of Comprehensive Car Insurance

  • If your car has been hit by hail, having comprehensive car insurance will be a huge relief. This type of coverage includes non-collision damage, such as that caused by natural disasters like hailstorms or falls of any heavy items. If your insurance policy includes this coverage, you can file a claim to help cover the cost of repairs.

How to File an Insurance Claim for Hail Damage

  • Begin by contacting your insurance company as soon as possible. They’ll guide you through their specific claims process, which usually involves submitting photos of the damage and sometimes an inspection by an adjuster. Be sure to keep a record of all correspondence with your insurance company during this process.

How Repairs are Typically Handled

  • Once your claim is approved, your insurance company will guide you to their preferred body shops or allow you to choose a repair shop. Repairs can vary based on the extent of the damage. For minor dents, a process called paintless dent repair may be used. More severe damage may require more intensive bodywork and repainting. Remember, it’s essential to repair hail damage promptly to maintain your car’s value and prevent further damage.


As you can see above, protecting your car from hail doesn’t have to break the bank. Affordable options like blankets or potting soil offer a basic defense while investing in a quality car cover, around $500, is beneficial for those in hail-heavy areas. These costs are minimal compared to potential repair expenses after a hailstorm.

Preparation is key. Stay informed about weather forecasts, use effective coverings, and park smartly to minimize hail damage risk. If your car does suffer hail damage, understanding damage assessment and the insurance process can ease the experience. Ultimately, your prompt action can safeguard your vehicle effectively.

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