How to Protect Your Car From Hail Damage

Even the smallest hailstones can wreak havoc on your vehicle, but you can protect your car by using covered parking or buying a car cover.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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Hail storms cause severe damage to property each year, with some of the worst totaling billions of dollars in insurance payouts. You can help protect your vehicle from notorious hailstone dents by always parking under shelter, covering your car in a blanket or tarp, or investing in a hail protector.
Part of what makes hail storms so destructive is their unpredictability. And although larger hailstones are obviously the most devastating, even the smallest chunks of hail can cause dents and cracks in your car.
That’s why the
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app
Jerry
has compiled a simple list of ways you can protect your car from hailstorms—and potentially save thousands of dollars. For an added layer of protection, download the Jerry app to find the best deals on
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Watch the weather  

While hailstorms can be difficult to accurately predict—and there’s always a chance they’ll hit without warning—keeping a keen eye on the weather should be your first line of defense. Hail is more likely to happen in gloomy, windy, or rainy conditions, so stay on guard when the weather is less than ideal. 
If you have a smartphone, consider downloading The Weather Channel app and enabling notifications. Then, you’ll receive weather-related warnings (including for hail storms!) based on your current location. 

Look for covered parking 

If hail is in the forecast—or if the weather just looks iffy that day—you’ll want to do your best to find covered parking. It can be tempting to use your home’s garage for storage, but you’ll want to keep it clean and clear enough to be able to pull your vehicle in on short notice.
If you don’t have a garage or if you’re not at home when a hailstorm strikes, you can still seek refuge in a public parking garage or ramp, under a building’s awning, or even under a highway overpass. When none of these options are readily available, park next to a building opposite the direction of the wind so that it can act as a shield for your car. 
MORE: How to tell if a parking garage is liable for a stolen or damaged car

Invest in a car cover

There will be plenty of times you’ll have to park your car out in the open, but using a car cover can add a small layer of protection. A basic car cover probably won’t be thick enough to protect your vehicle against larger hailstones, so you’ll want to add additional protective layers. Here are a couple of basic options:
Budget: Amazon Basics Silver Weatherproof Car Cover
Available from
Amazon
, $42
This basic car cover comes in a range of sizes to fit sedans and SUVs from 160" to 200" long. It will help protect against UV rays, dust, dirt, wind, rain, snow, ice, and tree debris—though it might not offer much protection from large hailstones.
Splurge: Motigma
Available from
Amazon
, $149
This charcoal and red car cover is on the higher end, offering waterproof protection from the elements and a universal fit. It's made from a thick polyester blend and has a driver's door zipper for easy access to the car without removing the cover.

Blankets or tarps

Covering your car in thick blankets or tarps will provide more cushioning and protection than a standard car cover.
Moving blankets
are a good option, as they’re typically quite large and heavy duty. 

Hail protector

If you’re particularly concerned about avoiding hail damage, investing in a hail protector may be your best bet. Hail Protectors are portable, inflatable car covers that provide maximum cushioning for your vehicle. They take just a few minutes to set up, are remote controlled, and work in 60+ mph winds.
While they're pretty pricey, keeping one on hand is a good idea if you drive an expensive car and/or your region is subject to frequent hailstorms. 
Hail Protector Car system
Available from
Hail Protector
, $396+
This inflatable hail protector offers complete protection from hailstones of all sizes and takes just a few minutes to set up. Options include a WiFi control enabler and a three-year warranty.

Pull over during storms

Even if you take every precaution possible, there’s always the possibility that you’ll get caught in a hailstorm while out on the open road. If it's safe to do so, the very best thing you can do to protect your vehicle—and yourself—is to pull over and wait it out.
If you're on a local road, find a nearby parking lot that you can stop in until the storm passes. If you're on a high-speed road, like a highway, you'll need to evaluate whether there's a safe place to stop. If you decide to pull onto the shoulder, be sure the car is completely off the road and clear of traffic lanes. Stay in your vehicle—do not get out.
While hail may damage your vehicle while you’re parked on the side of the road, it could total your car if the impacts occur while you’re in motion. Additionally, high winds, decreased visibility, and slippery road conditions significantly increase your chances of getting into an accident. 

Purchase comprehensive coverage

Most states require drivers to purchase a minimum level of basic car insurance coverage—often referred to as “liability coverage”—before registering their vehicles. But liability coverage doesn’t cover the cost of damages from natural disasters. 
Adding
comprehensive coverage
to your car insurance policy is the only way to help cover damages that result from non-collision accidents, such as storm damage, animal damage, and falling objects—including hail. 

How to find affordable car insurance

While adding this supplementary coverage to your
car insurance
policy will raise your rates,
Jerry
will help ensure that you find the best deal on your policy.
Just download the Jerry app and answer a few easy questions. In less than a minute Jerry will scour quotes from more than 50 providers and present you with the best rates on the coverage you need. If you have any questions about the policies, Jerry has licensed insurance agents at the ready to help
“As a young person who owns a sports car and a high-end sedan, I couldn’t find quotes below a certain threshold. By using
Jerry
, I managed to find full comprehensive coverage on both vehicles and am now saving $150 a month!” —Channing Y.
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