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rental car damage and liability insurance

There are two main types of auto insurance coverage that can protect your vehicle from hail damage:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: This covers damage from weather events like hailstorms, as well as theft, vandalism, fire, and more. It's an optional add-on coverage.

  • Collision Coverage: This covers damage to your car from collisions with objects or other vehicles.

Hails can be a real problem in some states, if a hailstorm begins near you, please go look for shelter

Having comprehensive and collision coverage gives you the most protection. But comprehensive specifically covers hail damage, while collision does not.

Coverage TypeCovers Hail Damage?

Assessing Hail Damage

When your vehicle is damaged by hail, the first step is to assess the severity of the damage to determine if repairs are needed and whether you should file an insurance claim.

  • Take detailed photos of all hail damage on your car. This provides documentation for your insurance company.

  • Note the size of hail that fell. Larger hail causes more severe damage.

    • Hail size is estimated by comparing it to common objects:

      • Pea size: 1/4 inch diameter

      • Marble size: 1/2 inch

      • Golf ball size: 1.75 inches

      • Baseball size: 2.75 inches

  • Look for dents on the roof or hood - if present there, likely the entire vehicle is damaged.

  • Broken glass or windows could mean there is damage inside the car or that it is unsafe to drive.

  • An insurance adjuster will inspect your car and write up an estimate for repairs.

  • They will determine if your car is totaled - meaning the repair costs exceed the car's value.

Signs your car may be totaled by hail damage:

  • Extensive damage over the entire vehicle

  • Large dents that have altered the shape of body panels

  • Damage has affected mechanical or electrical components

If totaled, the insurance company will pay the car's actual cash value.

Options to repair hail damage:

  • Paintless dent repair: Dents are popped out from the inside using special tools. This avoids repainting.

  • Traditional repair: Dents are pulled out and the area is repainted and smoothed with filler. More extensive repairs.

Repair Type Process Cost
Paintless Dent Removal Dents popped out from inside Lower
Traditional Repair Body filler, repainting Higher

Assessing the severity of hail damage is key to knowing if you need repairs and should file an insurance claim.

Filing an Insurance Claim

If your hail damage assessment determines that repairs are needed, here are the steps to file an insurance claim:

  • Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to begin the claims process.

  • An insurance adjuster will review your claim and inspect the vehicle damage. Be sure to share your damage photos as well.

  • The adjuster will provide an estimate for repairs which you can take to an auto body shop.

    • If the shop's estimate is higher than the insurance estimate, ask the shop to contact your insurer to negotiate costs.
  • Review your comprehensive coverage deductible amount - this will be subtracted from any claim payout.

  • For minor damage, your deductible may exceed the repair costs. In that case, you likely will not receive a payout.

  • If your car is totaled, the insurance company will pay the actual cash value after deducting your deductible.

  • You can then use those funds to help purchase a replacement vehicle.

Tips for filing your hail damage claim:

  • Document the damage with detailed photos.

  • Save any receipts or documentation showing the date of damage.

  • Take your car to at least 2-3 reputable body shops for repair estimates.

  • Negotiate politely with your claims adjuster if their estimate seems too low.

  • Review your policy details to understand your coverage, deductible amounts, and options.

Claim Stage Description
Initial Contact Report damage to insurance provider
Adjuster Inspection Adjuster will review damage and provide repair estimate
Body Shop Estimate Get estimate from preferred auto body shops
Claim Settlement Insurer provides payment minus deductible

Following these steps can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your hail damage through your comprehensive coverage insurance.

Impact on Insurance Rates

Filing a claim for hail damage does not directly lead to an increase in your insurance rates, but there are some important factors to understand:

  • Comprehensive claims are considered not-at-fault, so a single hail damage claim generally won't raise your premium.

  • However, frequent comprehensive claims could potentially impact your rates down the road.

    • Insurance companies look at your full claims history when setting premiums.
  • The higher your deductible, the lower your comprehensive premium will be.

    • But a high deductible means you pay more out-of-pocket per claim.
  • Where you live plays a key role in rates. Areas prone to frequent hailstorms often have higher premiums.

Steps to help avoid a premium increase:

  • Maintain a long history without claims.

  • Choose a higher comprehensive deductible if permitted by your finances.

  • Ask about any multi-policy or safe driver discounts your insurer offers.

  • Improve home safety features like roofing and windows to prevent damage.

  • Park vehicles in a garage or covered area to reduce risk.

  • Shop around with other insurers at renewal time to compare rates.

Average Cost of Comprehensive Coverage by State

State Average Annual Premium
Texas $285
Colorado $298
Nebraska $269
Kansas $286

Higher premiums seen in states with more hailstorms

While a single hail damage claim is unlikely to increase your rates, being in a storm-prone region and having multiple comprehensive claims over time does increase that risk. Take preventative measures and maintain a long claims-free period of coverage.

Protecting Your Vehicle

Since repairing hail damage can be costly and inconvenient, it's best to take proactive steps to prevent your vehicle from being damaged in the first place:

  • Park in a garage or carport if one is available. This provides complete protection from hail.

    • A public parking garage is also a good temporary option if a storm is approaching.
  • Use a specially designed car cover for hail protection.

    • The cover should be thick and padded enough to absorb hailstone impacts.

    • Be sure to properly secure the cover to withstand high winds.

  • When a hailstorm is imminent, move your vehicle to a sheltered location:

    • Under a sturdy overpass

    • Next to a strong building away from trees

    • Under a gas station canopy

  • Avoid parking under trees or near older structures that could have debris blown onto your car.

  • Check your comprehensive deductible and consider a higher amount to lower your premiums.

  • Ask your insurance agent about discounts for multi-policy, safe driver, etc. to offset costs.

  • Improve home siding, windows, roofing to prevent damage that could result in dropped rates.

Tips to protect your car when driving in a hailstorm:

  • Pull off the road and stop away from overpasses and trees.

  • Use jackets, blankets to cover yourself and your car's glass.

  • Face away from windows as hail can shatter the glass.

  • Wait for storm to pass before resuming driving.

Taking preventative measures can help minimize the risk of hail damage. But comprehensive insurance is still recommended for full protection in severe weather.


In summary, here are the key things to know about using comprehensive coverage to protect against hail damage:

  • Comprehensive insurance specifically covers damage caused by weather events like hailstorms. Collision coverage does not.

  • Take photos and assess damage to determine if repairs are needed and if you should file a claim.

  • An insurance adjuster will inspect and write up an estimate for the hail damage.

  • For severe damage, they will declare the car a total loss and pay the actual cash value.

  • Paintless dent repair can fix minor dents from small hail. Larger damage requires traditional body work.

  • File a claim with your insurer as soon as possible after the storm. Provide documentation of damage.

  • Review your deductible - you pay this amount before insurance benefits kick in.

  • A single claim is unlikely to increase your rates, but frequent claims over time might.

  • Use preventative measures like covered parking, car covers, and avoiding storms.

  • Comprehensive coverage and smart prevention give the best protection against surprise hail damage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Comprehensive insurance covers hail damage, collision does not.

  • Take photos, get repair estimates, file claim quickly after storm.

  • Insurer will inspect damage, calculate payout for repairs or total loss.

  • Prevent hail damage with covered parking, car covers, wake avoidance.

  • Infrequent claims unlikely to impact premiums, but multiple claims may over time.

With comprehensive auto insurance and smart prevention, your vehicle can be well protected against costly hail damage repairs. Consider the coverage limits, deductible amount, and discounts available to find the optimal policy.

Additional Information

Here are some extra tips and information on protecting your vehicle from hail damage:

  • When purchasing comprehensive coverage, choose a deductible you can afford to pay out-of-pocket if needed.

    • A lower deductible means higher premiums but less money you pay on a claim.

    • Higher deductibles save on premium costs but mean you pay more per claim.

  • Ask your insurance agent which body shops they recommend for hail damage repairs.

    • Use an established shop with expertise repairing hail damage.
  • Negotiate with claims adjusters - don't be afraid to push back if their estimate seems too low.

    • Be polite, but firm. Provide supporting documentation like repair shop estimates.
  • If possible, move your vehicle safely under cover at the first sign of an approaching hailstorm.

    • Pay attention to weather forecasts and warnings.
  • When your car is due for replacement, opting for a metal roof can help prevent future hail damage.

    • Metal is more dent-resistant than glass or plastic roof panelling.
  • If your area is prone to frequent hailstorms, your rates will reflect that increased risk.

    • Consider adding Storm Chaser coverage from insurers like State Farm to cover damage.
  • Maintain sufficient liability insurance limits to protect other vehicles your car may strike if disabled by hail damage.

Useful Resources:

Protecting your vehicle investment against unpredictable hailstorms requires smart prevention strategies and comprehensive insurance coverage. But doing your research, advocating for fair claims payment, and maintaining responsible driving habits can help minimize headaches down the road.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Comprehensive Coverage and Engine Failure: Expert Tips and Analysis

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