Summer often brings hailstorms into our area, and we all know how damaging hail can be. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hail caused $3.5 billion in property and crop damage in 2016. Between 2000 and 2013, insurance companies in the US paid close to $54 billion for hail losses. When it comes to vehicles, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that Wyoming, Montana and Colorado were all among the top 10 states with the most reported hail damage claims for cars; coming in numbers five, six and seven respectively. That’s a lot of dented vehicles!
Thankfully, there are several ways in which those of us living in “Hail Alley” can protect our cars from damage caused by hail. Read on!
Tip #1: Find covered parking
This might seem obvious, but if you hear about or suspect a hailstorm in the area, try to get your car somewhere covered before it begins. Your garage is often the best choice. However, this can be challenging if you’re at work, if you live out in the country or in an apartment complex; so it’s important to know where the closest place is with available covered parking, like a shopping mall or friend’s house. If you can get there safely before the storm hits, then do so.
Tip #2: Cover your car with blankets
If you don’t have access to covered parking or can’t get your car to shelter before the storm hits, you can cover it with blankets, a tarp, rugs, cardboard boxes or any other object that might help pad it against the hail. The roof and hood are the most vulnerable during a hailstorm, so try to layer these areas with extra padding. Bubble-wrap and even old mattresses and sleeping bags can be useful for this purpose. Just be sure to secure homemade covers with duct tape, bungee cords or something heavy. Wind can get pretty strong when it hails!
If you know you live in an area where hail is frequent, it would be wise to have these protective items set aside and ready for the next storm so that you don’t have to scramble to find them when it hits. You could even store a blanket or tarp in your trunk for hailstorms that hit when you’re away from home. However, if it’s already hailing, don’t risk your safety and stay indoors. Your car can take the damage better than you can!
Tip #3: Purchase a hail shield
Nowadays, there are several products on the market designed to protect your vehicle from hail damage. From $30 heavy-duty hail blankets sold by Walmart to $400 covers that inflate to protect your entire vehicle–it all depends on how much you want to spend. According to the reviews, commercial covers can go a long way in preventing hail damage to your car. However, the larger the size of the hail stones, the more protection you’ll need. If hail in your area tends to be on the larger size, you might consider investing in a higher-quality cover for your vehicle.
Tip #4: Get insured!
Aside from the tips above, being insured is one of the top things you can do to protect your car in the event of a hailstorm. If your vehicle does sustain damage, you should call you insurance agent as soon as you can to report it. Take photos of the damage as well in order to better document your claim. Your agent will work hard to help you repair your vehicle so that it’s back in top-condition.
Your car is an important investment, and we hope that these tips will be help you protect it the next time a hailstorm rolls into your area!