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Hailstorms are hazardous to your car, and they could be increasing in frequency and severity with climate change.

Hail proof car covers are retail products that promise to protect your car’s finish from dents, scrapes, and even glass breaking due to hailstones.

How Do Car Covers Protect From Hail?

Car covers for hail work by providing a physical barrier between the hail and the vehicle's surface. These covers are usually constructed from multiple layers of padded or reinforced materials that are designed to absorb and dissipate the energy of falling hailstones, minimizing the impact force before it reaches the car's body. The outer layer is typically made from a durable, weather-resistant material that repels water and withstands the elements, while the inner layers include cushioning materials, such as foam or bubble padding, which act as shock absorbers. 

Do Car Covers Protect From Hail?

Car covers can offer some protection against hail, but their effectiveness largely depends on the type of cover you use. Standard hail proof car covers, which are designed primarily for protection against dust, sun, and light rain, offer minimal protection against hail since they lack the padding necessary to absorb the impact of hailstones. 

For significant protection against hail, there are specialized hail-proof car covers available. These hail covers are made with multiple layers of padded or thicker materials designed to cushion the impact of hailstones, thereby minimizing the potential for damage. The effectiveness of these hail protection car covers in preventing damage varies depending on the size and density of the hailstones and the specific materials and construction of the cover.

How to Make a Hail Proof Car Cover By Yourself

How to Make a Hail Proof Car Cover By Yourself

Creating a DIY hail proof car cover involves selecting materials that can absorb impact and protect your vehicle during a hailstorm. While it may not offer the same level of protection as a commercially available hail proof cover, it can still provide significant defense against smaller hailstones. Here's a step-by-step guide to making a hail proof car cover:

Materials Needed:

  • Thick blankets or comforters: These will serve as the primary cushioning layer.
  • Water-resistant fabric or tarp: To protect against moisture and ensure the underlying layers remain dry.
  • Bungee cords or straps: For securing the cover to the vehicle.
  • Optional: Bubble wrap or foam padding for additional protection.
     

Step 1: Measure Your Vehicle

Take measurements of your vehicle to ensure the blankets, padding, and water-resistant layer cover it entirely, from the roof down to the wheels.

Step 2: Layer Your Materials

Start with the thick blankets or comforters as the base layer. If you're using bubble wrap or foam padding for extra protection, place it on top of the blankets. Make sure the layers are evenly spread out to cover all areas.

Step 3: Cover With Water-Resistant Material

Once your cushioning layer is in place, cover it with the water-resistant fabric or tarp. This layer should be large enough to extend over the edges of the underlying blankets or comforters, preventing water from getting through.

Step 4: Secure the Cover

Use bungee cords or straps to secure the cover to your vehicle. Make sure the cover is snug but not too tight, as you want to avoid scratching your car's paint. The cover should be secure enough to prevent it from being blown away by the wind.

Step 5: Reinforce Corners and Edges

Pay special attention to corners and edges, reinforcing them with additional bungee cords or straps if necessary. These areas are more likely to catch wind and could potentially uncover the vehicle if not properly secured.

Important Considerations For Using Hail Covers:

  1. Get one that fits your vehicle or has ways to secure it to the vehicle because storms usually include wind that could tear a poorly fitted cover off the vehicle.
  2. Check for manufacturer’s warranties that may promise reimbursement of the purchase price if your vehicle has a hail damage while the cover is on. You’ll need to provide proof in order to submit a claim. Know in advance what is required so the cover doesn’t get thrown away.
  3. Practice putting it on the car a few times so that you can do it quickly and efficiently before a storm blows in.
  4. Keep the hail cover in your vehicle so that you have it when you need it.
  5. Proactively cover the car when you go into a building on a stormy day; you may not be able to get to the vehicle in time to deploy the cover if a storm has already started.

Custom car covers made for specific models can cost several hundred to one thousand dollars. The most expensive inflate to add a layer of protection. Universal car covers can be purchased for $100 or less.

Alternatives to expensive hail covers have been suggested by people from states most impacted. They say:

  • Thick pieces of cardboard will help protect your car’s finish but securing them is challenging as winds are likely to pull them away.
  • Heavy blankets, such as the kind used in moving vans, and bath towels can cover a vehicle to deflect hail.
  • If you have a roof rack, securing a large piece of plywood to it during hail season can protect most of your vehicle.
  • Beware of securing blankets to a vehicle with duct tape as it can damage the car’s finish.
  • Parking under trees is unlikely to offer much protection and may result in a limb falling on your vehicle during the storm.

If you’re concerned about your vehicle losing value due to hail damage, you may increase your insurance coverage for storm damage during the months when they’re most likely. But getting hail damage assessed by an adjustor and fixed by a body shop can take a long time when all of your neighbors have been similarly affected.

Hail is a hazard for all car owners in nearly every state, and protecting your vehicle is a matter of cost, whether through a custom cover, a slapdash solution like cardboard, or by adjusting your insurance coverage to include comprehensive.

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