Hail Season Tips: How To Best Protect Your Car
Getting caught in a hailstorm can be dangerous and leave you with a very broken and battered vehicle. Colorado knows this all too well as Allstate pointed out in a recent blog post. “Colorado’s Front Range is in the heart of ‘Hail Alley,’ which receives the highest amount of large hail in the world,” the company claims, adding that “Denver residents usually experience three or four catastrophic ($25 million-plus in damage) hailstorms each year.”
In lieu of these hazards, Allstate has been kind enough to share some tips for how best to protect your vehicle and your finances during this difficult seasons — and this isn’t just for Colorado folks, but for any area that experiences hailstorms.
Here’s what they recommend.
Your prized automobile can quickly become a beaten and battered mess when set upon by falling hail. Body damage, in particular, can lead to exorbitant repair costs. “If hailstorms are forecast,” Allstate advises, “pull your cars, boats, RVs and other vehicles into a garage, covered parking lot or other protected area … If no protected area is available, cover vehicles with thick blankets — pay particular attention to the hood, roof and trunk, as they’re often the most susceptible to damage.”
Furthermore, if you’re caught driving when the hailstorm hits, do what you can to seek shelter quickly, whether that be parking safely and waiting out under an overpass, a gas station, or some other covered location.
“If you can’t find cover,” notes Allstate, “pull off the road and bring your car to a complete stop … angling your vehicle so that hail hits the reinforced windshield rather than the less durable side windows and backglass.”
Of course, it’s best never to drive in a hailstorm because a resting car stands a much lower chance of getting significant damage than one that is traveling at a significant rate of speed. Also, don’t park your car under trees or other heavy objects susceptible to damage from the hailstorm. And when the storm is over, “you’ll need to check your vehicle carefully for dents, broken glass and damaged headlights,” the company writes.
Consult Your Auto Insurance Policy
Comprehensive car insurance coverage will typically include hail damage. Until you can get the car fixed, however, make sure to cover any broken windows. This will prevent rain damage to the vehicle’s interior, which can drive the size of your claim up, as well as the possibility of a future premium increase.
“If you file an insurance claim,” Allstate writes, “expect to discuss the preferred repair option with your insurance adjuster.”
Allstate notes two available repair methods: repair/paint and paintless dent removal.
After this, you simply choose a repair shop. While the insurance provider can make recommendations, you have the right to take your vehicle to the repair company of your choice.
“After the repairs are complete, check your vehicle from top to bottom and make sure that all the dents are gone,” Allstate urges. “If there are any flaws after the work is complete, consult your warranty — typically the shop should fix them at no additional cost.”
Mother Nature has many different ways that she can cause trouble for your vehicle, and hailstorms are but one of them; but don’t underestimate the damage that they can do or the danger they can represent. If you know one is coming, try to take shelter. If you can’t, take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of damage. And if you suffer damage, work with your insurance company and a reputable repair shop to get your car back into the proper working order. Stay safe, everyone!