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If you reside in areas with heavy rain seasons, such as Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming in the United States, or even in Canada, China, Russia, India, and Northern Italy, you’re no stranger to the relentless barrage of hailstorms. With these regions witnessing an average of seven to nine hailstorms per year, the threat of damage is more than just a passing concern.
It’s a reality. One of the most significant casualties of these icy onslaughts is often your car, likely your second most significant investment after your home.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, hail-related damage can cause an average annual loss of $1 billion, with a significant portion affecting automobiles.
But what if you could prevent such costly damage? In this blog post, we aim to empower you with knowledge and strategies to effectively safeguard your car from hailstorms.
We’ll explore the nature of hailstorms, their potential impacts, and, most importantly, practical preventive measures you can implement to protect your vehicle. Remember, when it comes to dealing with the menace of hailstorms, being informed is your first line of defense.
What Is Hail and How Much Damage Can It Cause?
Picture this: A storm is brewing, and instead of the familiar pitter-patter of raindrops, there’s a sudden barrage of icy pellets. This is a hailstorm, a natural phenomenon that transforms simple rain into a destructive force.
Hailstones, the ice balls we associate with hailstorms, are formed when thunderstorm updrafts carry raindrops into colder regions of the storm cloud, causing them to freeze.
Depending on the size of these hailstones, which can range from as small as peas to as large as softballs, they can wreak havoc on whatever they hit. One of the most common victims? Your car.
With potential damage, including everything from minor dents and paint chips to smashed windshields, it’s crucial to understand the threats posed by hailstorms. The better we comprehend these icy tempests, the more effectively we can shield our cars from their damaging effects.
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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.
To wrap up, taking proactive steps to protect your car from hail doesn’t necessarily require a large investment. Even simple and affordable solutions, such as using blankets or moving blankets – which can be bought for as low as $10, or potting soil – available for about $12 per bag, can provide a basic level of protection. For those residing in hail-prone areas, investing in a quality car cover, ranging around $500, can be a worthwhile expenditure.
When you weigh these costs against the potentially thousands of dollars needed for car repairs post-hailstorm, it becomes clear that these preventative measures are indeed a fair exchange for the safety they offer.
As with many things in life, preparation and knowledge are key. By staying informed about weather updates, using effective covering methods, and having smart parking strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of impending hail storms to your vehicle.
However, should your car fall victim to a hailstorm, knowing how to assess the damage and navigate the insurance claims process safely can make the ordeal less stressful. At the end of the day, your quick action and preparedness can ensure the best possible protection for your vehicle.
Remember, hailstorms, as intimidating as they may be, are a natural phenomenon that we can prepare for. With the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you are now equipped to protect your vehicle from hail damage, ensuring its longevity and your peace of mind.