If you have never lived in a hail-prone state, then it is likely that you don’t know the extent to which it can damage a vehicle. It can cause cosmetic damage, dents and can even wear down the body of a vehicle, as further rounds of hail can cause compound damage to the car. As a result, it is therefore really important that you choose the right car insurance policy before you move to a hail-prone state.
If you choose the wrong policy, you and your vehicle might not be protected and you might have to foot the bill for dents and vehicle rentals yourself.
Are You Moving to a Hail Prone State?
The Insurance Information Institute (sometimes called Triple I) has ranked the most hail prone states in two different ways, by the number of hail loss claims and the number of major hail events. The top 9 states ranked by hail loss claims from 2017 to 2019 are:
- North Carolina
The five states with the highest number of major hail events in 2019 were:
- South Dakota
If you find the state to which you are moving on either of these lists, the first thought that comes to your mind should be about insurance options.
What are Your Insurance Options?
Before you choose an insurance policy, it is always a good idea to consider all of the options available to you.
Home insurance: Homeowners insurance in most regions covers hail damage to the structure of your home. However, in areas where hail storms occur more frequently, insurers are more likely to limit their hail coverage or increase the cost of their policies to reflect the higher risk. If you’re located in a state or region where a higher percentage of properties are affected by hail, then check your policy for restrictions.
Car Insurance: The most common auto insurance policies in the United States include:
- Liability Coverage – This coverage is mandatory in many states, as drivers have to buy the minimum amount of liability coverage that their state requires in order for them to drive. Liability coverage should cover both body injury liability and property damage liability.
- Comprehensive Coverage – This is a coverage option that covers damages from all manners of events, including acts of nature (important when thinking about hail damage), as well as theft, vandalism, and more.
- Collision Coverage – If you have an accident with another car or an object, collision coverage can help you to pay for your repairs (or even replace your car in some cases)
Auto Claims process
Normally, you must file a claim to your car insurance company if you want your damage to be paid by them. After your claim has been processed, the insurance company will send over an adjuster to look at the damage to your vehicle. They will recommend you to get it repaired by a certain shop, but this is only a recommendation, and you can choose whichever body shop you like.
It is important that you take control of your vehicle repairs.
Some repair shops are not experts at fixing hail stone repairs. Often, this means that they bang out the dent and then smooth out the surface with putty, which is then sanded. This can damage the integrity of your car and can be an obvious fix in many cases. This is different to hail damage repair specialists who use paintless dent repair, which returns a surface to its original form. In a way, it reverses damage as opposed to fixing it, meaning that it does not appear on accident reports.
Which Insurance Should You Choose?
If you purchase liability-only coverage, which is the standard coverage you need to drive, then you are not entitled to get your insurance to cover your hail damage costs. It is only there to make the road a safer place for the people that you share it with. Comprehensive insurance is the main insurance package if you want to be covered from hail damage – it also covers damage from storms, floods, and other acts of nature.
If you want to buy a comprehensive insurance plan, don’t leave this until hail season! If you don’t buy it before you think you will need it, you might still have to pay for your own damages. That’s because insurance companies have certain company-regulations in place that stop them from selling to people who just get insurance because an extreme weather event is predicted. This is the same for hail storms as it is for hurricanes – insurance companies would lose too much money if they allowed this, as most people would just wait until the last minute to buy the insurance and then cancel it when the weather goes back to normal. Some insurers do allow this but offer extremely high rates to cover their expected losses.