How Much Does Car Insurance Pay for Hail Damage?

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  • Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
  • Is it Worth Claiming Hail Damage to a Car?
  • How to Fix Hail Damage on a Car
Nothing prepares you for the way your car looks after hail damage. Golf ball-sized hail can make it look like someone has tap-danced on your hood and roof in four-inch heels. And worse yet, hail damage repairs aren’t the same as collision repairs. So, do you take your car to a collision center, or is there someone else who can fix it? And will your insurance even cover the hail damage repairs or will you have to pay for it out of pocket?

Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

If you hate seeing those little dents all over your vehicle, there’s good news. Many car insurance policies will cover a hail damaged car. That’s assuming you’ve purchased comprehensive coverage for your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance is the sort that covers damages aside from collisions, including vandalism, glass damage, theft, wildlife accidents, and yes, act of nature including a hail storm.
If you’ve elected to save some cash by picking a liability policy only, you’re out of luck. Although liability insurance coverage is the bare minimum for most states, it only helps with the other party’s expenses or property damage in an accident, not yours.

Is it Worth Claiming Hail Damage to a Car?

While insurance may cover even minor hail damage caused by chunks of ice falling from the sky, determining whether it’s a good idea to file an insurance claim is a different matter. There are things to consider, such as:
  • How extensive is the car hail damage? If you’ve lucked out with only a handful of dents across your whole car, making a claim through your insurer may not be a good idea. Like most insurance claims, you’re responsible to pay your deductible for your hail damaged vehicle, and your premiums may increase as well. The total cost of the claim (future premium increases plus your deductible) could well be higher than paying for the body shop repairs yourself.
  • Do you have an older car? If your car has depreciated a lot due to age or high mileage, the repair costs could exceed your car’s worth and result in being deemed a total loss.
  • Your car value will be diminished. Having an insurance claim on your car shows up on a vehicle history report (VHR). Damaged cars are immediately reduced in appeal compared to ones that haven’t been damaged. However, if you fix it on your own without making a comprehensive claim through your insurance agent, it won’t show on a VHR and the resale value won’t be affected.

Is My Hail-Damaged Car a Write-Off?

It is possible for your car to be a total loss or write-off due to hail damage. Car value prior to the damage and the cost to repair the hail dents are two of the most important factors, as well as any rental costs. Like a collision claim, the point at which it becomes a total loss is when the cost to repair equals around 70 to 75 percent of the vehicle’s pre-loss value. So, for a $5,000 car, an insurance company would typically write it off if the repairs were $3,500 or more. So how much does it cost to fix hail damage? The cost is usually per dent. For small dents, expect it to be around $30, whereas medium-sized dents are around $50 each to pop out. Large dents are around $80 each, depending on the dent removal service chosen. At an average of around $50 per dent, 50 dents would be around $2,500. But a hail storm can leave hundreds of dents behind, which is why some cars may be written off by hail damage.

How to Fix Hail Damage on a Car

If you’re wondering how to fix hail damage on a car at home, the answer is: don’t. You probably shouldn’t try it. Paintless dent repair, or PDR, is a very precise process that takes hundreds, even thousands, of hours to master.
  • The PDR dent technician will access the backside of the dented panel through small factory holes. Sometimes, they have to drill holes of their own that later need to be covered or repaired.
  • Dents are gently massaged out with tools that look like long picks or stiff coat hangers.
  • The exterior is often heated with a heat gun that looks like a hairdryer to make the metal more malleable and prevent the paint from cracking.
*Dents routinely need to be tapped gently from the outside with a hammer to help make them perfectly smooth.
If the paint is chipped or cracked, the affected panel usually needs to be refinished after the dent is removed.
If you’ve purchased comprehensive coverage for your car, insurance will pay around 70 percent of your car’s value to fix hail damage. But if you’ve opted for cheaper liability-only insurance, you’ll be picking up the tab for hail damage yourself.

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