Will my auto insurance cover hail damage to my car?

Comprehensive auto insurance coverage can pay for damage caused by hail. The average cost of comprehensive coverage is about $11.33/mo.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 29, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Hail can cause a significant amount of damage to vehicles and other property
  • The basic auto insurance policy that includes nothing more than what’s required by the state won’t pay to repair damages sustained in a hailstorm
  • If you want coverage to pay for repairs to your car after a non-collision loss, you need to purchase comprehensive coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage will pay up to the fair market value of your vehicle to cover bodywork, new paint, and other repairs needed after a hailstorm
  • If you carry a comprehensive deductible, the damage must exceed the deductible that you carry before the insurer will pay

Hailstones start as ice crystals that form in the sky and that becomes heavier as they fall to the ground. Since hailstones reach high speeds as they grow in size, they are often compared to fast-pitched baseballs in terms of how much damage they can do to a car’s exterior.

Since a hailstorm can wreak havoc on the finish of your vehicle, it’s important to protect your vehicle before a storm strikes.

Buying insurance to protect your assets is one of the wisest decisions that you can make. Unfortunately, a basic policy offers a bare minimum level of protection that doesn’t help pay for your own car repairs.

If you want protection that can help you pay for dent repair or window replacement post-storm, here is what you need to know.

Make sure you have the right coverage for hail damage at the right cost. Enter your zip code into our FREE comparison tool to get started!

Do basic insurance policies provide coverage for damage sustained in hail events?

A basic insurance policy is a policy that includes only what is required under state law. In most states, a basic policy consists of third-party liability coverage options and uninsured motorist protection.

The coverage requirements are in place to ensure that each driver has the money that’s needed to cover minor damages.

State insurance requirements are in place to offer a small amount of consumer protection to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.

The requirements are not in place to require vehicle owners to buy coverage to pay for their own property loss. If you want coverage for your vehicle, you need to add optional coverage to your policy.

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Are hailstorms a serious problem?

If you’ve never been stuck in the middle of a hailstorm, you might not be familiar with how often they occur in many areas.

States like Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming are prone to hailstorms and are known as Hail Alley, where they have seven to nine hail days in a single year.

But hailstorms can happen anywhere there’s a thunderstorm. The issue is most common in high plains where low temperatures are typical.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were 5,411 hail storms last year alone. Most of these storms were reported in April, May, and June.

How much damage can hail really do?

Before you reject any form of physical damage coverage on your auto insurance policy, take a look at how much damage hailstorms have done in the past in your area.

How much damage hailstones do to property in a specific area depends on the size of the stones. Pea-sized stones don’t do much damage but larger grapefruit and softball-sized stones can cause major damage.

According to the National Storm Damage Center, hailstorms cause about $1 billion per year in damage annually to buildings, houses, fences, cars, crops, and other types of property.

Some areas report exorbitant amounts of damage in areas where there are large numbers of hail events. Texas alone has reported $1.1 billion in damage alone for 2016.

Is there coverage that will pay for hail damage to your car?

A basic policy doesn’t pay for repairs to your vehicle needed after a hail event, but you are free to add physical damage coverage to the policy for an added premium.

If you want coverage solely to pay for hail damage, you must add coverage to your policy. Comprehensive is one of the two types of physical damage coverage.

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What does comprehensive coverage pay for?

Comprehensive coverage, which is also called Other Than Collision coverage, is designed to pay for repairs to your vehicle when it’s damaged in a loss that doesn’t involve a collision.

This is a very broad definition because comprehensive pays for a long list of different types of claims.

Here are some of the claims covered under comprehensive:

  • Windshield and auto glass claims
  • Deer accident claims
  • Fire damage claims
  • Vandalism claims
  • Stolen car claims
  • Flood damage claims
  • Falling object damage claims
  • Projectile damage claims
  • Hail and storm damage claims

Is there ever a time where you would be denied comprehensive coverage?

There are very few scenarios where you will be denied the option to add comprehensive coverage to your car. If your car has a salvage title and it’s never been repaired, the carrier has the right to deny you physical damage coverage.

Companies can also deny coverage if they inspect the car and they find pre-existing damage they have already paid to repair.

How much will your comprehensive coverage pay?

There is a limit to how much your comprehensive coverage will pay. If your car is damaged by falling hailstones, the company is only going to pay for repairs if they are less than the car’s Actual Cash Value.

If the damage is higher than the car’s Actual Cash Value, the vehicle will be declared a total loss.

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Is there a deductible?

Comprehensive coverage typically comes with a deductible. You are asked to select this deductible when you are buying your policy.

Since comprehensive is usually an inexpensive coverage, most people have $100, $200, or $250 deductibles for Other Than Collision insurance. The damage must exceed this amount before the insurer will pay.

If you’ve recently experienced a hailstorm, it’s time to consider buying additional protection for your car. The first step to getting comprehensive coverage is to get quotes for physical damage coverage.

You can ask your current carrier for an estimate and then compare this estimate to quotes from other carriers. Do a complete price comparison in minutes with our FREE tool. Enter your zip code to get started!

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