How to protect your car from storms and hail | finder.com

How to protect your car from storms and hail

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Save yourself some trouble and save on car insurance.

The best way to protect your car from bad weather is by parking it in a fully enclosed garage. But if that’s not possible, a carport also works well. Failing that, you can take a few steps to protect your car.

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Compare policies and cover your car from storms and weather damage

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Root
Included free
No
Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.

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car-storm

3 ways to protect your car from storms and hail

If you know what’s coming you can take steps to save your car.

1. Know when bad weather is coming

There are two main ways you can stay ahead of the weather.

  • Stay on top of the news. The National Weather Service has up-to-date weather warnings.
  • Receive warnings from insurers. A lot of insurers have started offering storm and hail warning systems. If your insurer offers one of these, it might be worth subscribing to it.

If you know what’s coming, you might have time to prepare accordingly.

2. Park your car somewhere safe

If there’s a hailstorm rolling in, you might want to get your car under cover. When in doubt, it might be as easy as finding an underground parking garage.

Shopping centres are often good for this. Plus you can use it as an opportunity to do some shopping to avoid the weather. If you’re expecting heavy rain and have cause to be concerned, then you might want to look for higher ground.

Think twice before parking under a tree. Falling branches can cause just as much damage as hail, and are often the result of heavy winds. Also watch out for loose roof tiles, TV antennas and anything else that might come from above.

And whether or not you’re expecting bad weather, you’ll want to avoid parking on grass overnight. The dew that gathers during the night will rise to the bottom of your car. Over time this can lead to rust and significant damage.

3. Use tarps

If there’s no time for anything else, this might be the way to go. Heavier tarps generally work better. Remember to tie them securely. If they just blow away you’ll be facing a damaged car as well as missing tarps.

Did you know?

How exactly can I save on car insurance by protecting my car from bad weather?

If you park your car in an enclosed garage every night, insurers will often recognize this and give you lower insurance premiums than someone who parks out in the open. Sometimes they’ll also give you discounts just for parking in a carport or under safe cover.

You can also save in two key ways by avoiding claims entirely.

  • Pay no deductible. The deductible can be several hundred dollars which you’ll need to pay when making a claim. By avoiding claims entirely you can avoid paying the deductible.
  • Keep premiums down. Insurers will often base your premiums on your claims history. If you avoid making claims, it may help you save in the long run. It can also mean keeping discounts, such as a no-claim bonus.

As always, the prevention is better than the cure.

Which car insurance policies cover hail damage?

Generally, you will only be covered for hail and storm damage with comprehensive car insurance. This is typically the only coverage type that can insure you against damage to your vehicle that occurs when you aren’t on the road.

Can hail cause enough damage to write off my car?

Yes. It’s surprisingly easy for hail damage to total your car, meaning that it would cost more to repair than the vehicle is worth.

One of the main reasons is that hail damage will typically be spread across the whole of the car, so it can’t be fixed by just replacing a single panel or without a huge amount of work.

Hail damage will also tend to affect a wide area, sometimes battering an entire city at once, so insurers and repairers might be overly busy after a hail storm, and the cost of labor and replacement parts might be unusually high for a while.

When won’t I be covered for hail damage?

If you don’t have comprehensive car insurance, you’re unlikely to be covered against hail or storm damage to your vehicle.

Other exclusions may also apply. For example, if you park your car in an enclosed garage every night and are getting discounted insurance for doing so, then you might not be covered if your car wasn’t parked in the garage when an overnight hail storm hit.

Other policy exclusions may also apply. For example, the insurer might not pay out if the “hail damage” was caused by you deliberately throwing a hailstone through the car window.

How do I submit a claim for hail damage?

You will generally need to:

  • Check that you are covered and read your insurance policy for more information on how you’ll be claiming
  • Contact the insurer as soon as you’re reasonably able to
  • Provide all appropriate evidence and documentation to support your claim

Whenever possible, you should try to avoid driving the car between the time of damage and making a claim.

You can find a more detailed explanation of hail claims here.

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Hail can be an extremely expensive natural disaster

According to Munich Re, a global reinsurer and risk management group, hail is Australia’s most frequent and most financially devastating natural disaster, with the Sydney hailstorms of 1999 being the most costly single loss event in Australia’s history, as of 2014. The storm damaged 45,000 homes, 63,000 cars, 23 planes and countless boats. More than 120,000 insurance claims were made as a result. Adjusted for inflation to 2018 levels, the storm caused $2.98 billion of damage to insured property and an estimated $4 billion of total direct economic loss.

While hail storms don’t cause as much damage as hurricanes or other tropical storms in the US, they can still have a massive impact. Hail storms often affect wide areas, causing millions of dollars of unavoidable property damage.

If you do need to make a car insurance claim for hail or storm damage, there are some special procedures you might need to follow. It’s worth knowing how to claim, but might be even more worthwhile knowing how to prevent yourself from needing to.

Picture: Shutterstock


Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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