Hailstorms range according to their effect, and there have been many times when a hailstorm bruises a car, or completely damages it, and then leaves the owner of the car in a quagmire, even when such property has been insured.
This is because, claiming insurance, or getting insurance coverage on hail damages can be controversial in most cases. Sometimes, insurance adjusters can say no hail damage, insisting that the damage on the owner’s property wasn’t caused by hailstorms, thereby denying the claims for hail damages.
In this light, what should you do when your car gets destroyed, totaled, or damaged by the hail?
Imagine getting into your car on a cool evening to take a therapeutic drive around town, then several minutes into the drive, the weather changes and you found yourself in a terrible hailstorm that damages your car to the extent that you had to get out of the car and watch the hailstorm perform an injustice to your priced possession.
What happens next? Do you file for a claim with your insurance provider? Will they accept your claim and cover the damage caused to your car by the hailstorm without you having to pay out of your pocket?
As long as you have comprehensive insurance coverage, you should claim hail damages on your car from your insurance providers if the hail damage is too severe. However, minor hail damages are not worth claiming because the amount to repair them is not more than the deductibles.
What Does Hail Damage on a Car Look Like?
The extent of hail damage to a car depends largely on the size of the hail, however, a hail of any size can bring damage to your car. This means that the bigger the hail that hits your car, the greater the damage it will cause.
There are different types of hail damage to cars, and thinking about insurance depends on the type of damage and the extent of it.
Hail damage to your car can look like this:
1. A Dent/Dents
Dents are the most common types of hail damage that appear to cars and roofs after a hailstorm. Depending on the extent or harshness of the storm, dents can differ in size, shape, and depths.
Most of the time, however, dents caused by hailstones are round. You can spot them on the roof of your car, on the hood, and sometimes even on the sides like your door.
Hailstones have also been known to cause dents that lock up car doors, making them hard to open.
2. Peeled Paint
Sometimes, the hailstorm might not be strong enough to cause a dent of reasonable depth, but it is just enough to scratch your car and scrape off the paint off the body of your car.
Also, heavy hailstorms can – and often – cause scratches even after leaving several dents upon your car.
If you inspect your car after a hailstorm, heavy or not, and you notice several marks or scratches on its body, don’t be too quick to berate the children in the neighborhood as it just might be the hailstorm’s job.
3. Broken Mirrors and Cracked Glasses
A hailstorm that is strong enough to cause dents on your car can as well break plastic, mirrors, glasses attached to your car such as your rear-view mirror, your windscreen, your indicators, etc.
Should I Claim Hail Damages on My Car?
If there are just a few scratches on the body of your car that simply scraped the paint off after the hailstorm has passed, then you can simply repaint yourself.
You do not need to inform your insurance providers or file for an insurance claim over a peeled-off paint because the insurance holders would deem it as completely unnecessary.
Also, if after the hailstorm, the paint of your car is still intact without any peels or scrapes, and instead, you have just found a few dents on its body, you can opt for the paintless dent repair (PDR) as it is an affordable option to repair the damage to your car, returning it to the state it was before the storm.
However, there are times when the gravity of the damage done to your car by the hailstorm is more than what the PDR method can handle, such as numerous dents all over the body of the car, broken mirrors, broken windshields, broken windscreen, numerous scratches all over the body of the car and several interior damages.
In cases like this, you would need a proper repair or even panel replacement, and this is where you need to file an insurance claim for the damages to your car. Either that or you visit a hail repair specialist and pay for repairs out of your pocket.
How Do Insurance Companies Access Hail Damages on Cars?
If you eventually decide to file an insurance claim, you will have to take photographic evidence of the damage caused by the hail, and also, finding and attaching photographic evidence of the state of the car before the hailstorm will further validate your insurance claim.
Many times, short videos of the damaged car are also requested by the insurance providers. This is how they assess the car to see the extent of the damage and the amount of insurance claim you are entitled to.
How Long Can You Wait to Claim Hail Damage on a Car?
The ideal time to file an insurance claim on a hail-damaged car is within thirty to sixty days after the damage/hailstorm.
This does not mean that if you file a claim after sixty days, your claim would be rejected. It just means you have a better chance at getting your insurance claim if you file it within thirty to sixty days than you do if you file it three or six months later.
However, it is important to state that many insurance providers set a time limit of six months to a year to file whatever claim there is to file on a hail-damaged car.
After assessing your damaged car after a hailstorm, it is important to make a swift decision as to whether you are going to be filing a hail damage claim on your car, or whether you would be repairing it out of your pocket.
If you have decided to file a claim, it is better to file it earlier than later as the chances of getting your insurance claim might grow slimmer as time passes and it is not safe to drive a car severely damaged by hail.