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Does Hail Damage Devalue a Car?
Hail is just one of the many types of weather that can damage a car, both physically and in terms of value. It is also one of the most difficult to protect against as hail can frequently strike without warning.
Hail damage can have a significant effect on your car's value. It can also be costly to repair if insurance doesn't cover it.
How Does Hail Damage a Car?
Hail damage comes in several forms, each affecting the car and its value differently.
- Mirror Damage: If hail is particularly severe, there is a chance that it could break the mirrors in your car. It can also bend and shift the alignment of your mirrors, especially those on the side of your vehicle. This can destroy a car's value as it is unsafe to drive with a damaged side mirror.
- Dents: The most well-known type of damage caused by hail is denting. Smaller hailstones may not dent your car. If the storm is severe enough, large hailstones may leave conical imprints in your car's frame. While you can repair a few without much difficulty, repairs become more and more expensive as the number grows.
- Paint Damage: One of the most frustrating kinds of damage caused by hail is damage to a car's paint. Even relatively minor hailstorms can ruin a car's paintwork by scratching off the paint. This issue can be fixed in several ways, the easiest is to have the car spray painted.
- Broken Glass: Sufficiently heavy hail can even break the glass of a car. Mirrors, lights, and even the windshield are all at risk during a hailstorm. If these pieces break, it can be catastrophic and could take your car off the road for days or weeks at a time.
Can Hail Damage Be Repaired?
The good news is that hail damage can be repaired. However, you will have to consider some factors before any repairs.
Firstly, how much damage has the hail caused? Minor damage (like paint scratches small dents) can be repaired without much issue and at a minimal cost. However, problems such as damaged electrical systems and ruined interiors can easily cost more than the car is worth. In this situation, it may be advisable to write off the car than to fix such extensive damage.
Secondly, does your insurance cover the damage? Certain types of insurance, such as liability and collision insurance, will not cover damage done to your car by hail. In this case, you could be stuck with a hefty bill and an extensive list of repairs.
On the other hand, comprehensive insurance usually covers hail damage. If you have this type of insurance, you should consider filing a claim.
Finally, how much will the car be worth after all repairs? Unfortunately, if your vehicle suffers enough damage, the cost of repairs may exceed the car's value. A good rule of thumb is if repairs cost more than 50% of the vehicle's value, you should consider the car a total loss (or totaled).
How Much Does It Cost To Repair Hail Damage?
Hail can damage the value of your car in several ways, as discussed above. The question is by how much? This varies depending on the type of damage your car has suffered.
- For dents, the cost depends on the number and size of the marks. Small ones may cost between $50 and $75, while a significant imprint can easily cost more than $150 to repair.
- Damaged windows and glass can be expensive to repair. A broken windshield, for example, can easily cost over $200 to replace when accounting for labor costs. Taillights can cost over $75 to repair or replace, while side mirror replacement can cost as much as $300.
- Repairing paint damage can become expensive quickly, depending on its severity. Minor scratches and chips can cost $150 for the entire vehicle. However, more extensive damage can quickly increase costs. Spray paint can handle moderate damage and costs around $300. A body shop best deals with severe damage, costing as much as $600 per panel.
By How Much Does Hail Damage
Reduce the Value of a Car?
While comprehensive insurance will usually cover the damage done to your car by a hailstorm, this does not mean that the car's value will not decrease.
If you attempt to sell your vehicle without getting the damage repaired, the resale value could be slashed by one-third. The precise amount lost is determined by the extent of the damage. For example, if the repair costs are $400, we can say that the vehicle lost $400 worth of value.
However, if you get your car repaired by a professional, its trade-in value may not be affected. This is especially true if the repairs are high quality, leaving the car virtually indistinguishable from its state before the hailstorm.
As such, if you are interested in selling your car after a hailstorm, make sure to get it repaired by someone capable of completing the job to a high standard.
Will My Insurance Cover the Damage?
As mentioned above, the coverage you will have depends on the plan. However, there are also some other factors you will need to consider.
To summarize the level of coverage, you will have from various plans:
- Collision Coverage: This covers damage to your car caused by collisions with other objects. This insurance covers any damage caused by another vehicle, an animal, or an inanimate object.
- Liability Coverage: This form of insurance covers damage caused by you and is a legal requirement in most jurisdictions.
- Comprehensive Coverage: This is the most all-encompassing form of insurance. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by a whole host of events, such as vandalism and fire.
Out of these three, only comprehensive coverage will pay for damages caused by hail. Hail is classified as an Act of Nature, an event not covered by collision or liability insurance. However, it is worth noting that, in areas where hail is common, you may have to pay extra for this particular kind of protection.
Could Hail Damage Increase My Insurance Premium?
Some people worry their insurance company could increase their premiums if they file for damages due to hail. Yet this is unlikely. As mentioned before, hailstorms are considered an Act of Nature.
As such, filing a claim should not increase your premium as you did not partake in any risky behavior that incurred damages.
However, you may find that, regardless, your premium increases the following year. This can be due to several factors. One thing to consider is how widespread the damage of a hailstorm was.
If a hailstorm damages many vehicles in a region, then your insurance company may have to increase premiums to cover costs. Insurance companies are built on the principle that only a few of their customers will file claims at any one time. If all their customers do so, companies may have to increase prices to cover their losses.
How To Deal With Hail Damage?
There are a few steps you should take to deal with hail damage.
Analyze the Damage: Once the hailstorm has stopped, have a thorough look at the damage the storm has caused to your car. In particular, make sure to check for cracks on the windshield, the side mirrors, and taillights, as these areas are particularly vulnerable.
If you do not feel confident in analyzing the damage yourself, you should call a professional to do it for you. Take pictures of any areas that have taken damage.
- Call Your Insurance Company: Once you have analyzed the damage, the next step is to call your insurance company. Your level of coverage will depend on the plan you have with your insurance company.
- Find Out the Repair Costs: If your insurance plan does cover some or all of the costs, you should still look into the cost of repairing the vehicle. If repairs cost more than 50%-60% of the car's value, you should consider it totaled and move on if possible.
- Look for Repairs: If your car is worth repairing, be sure to shop around at various garages and stores to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.
How Do You Prevent Hail Damage From Happening?
While no one can control the weather, there are a few precautions you can take to reduce the risk you face from hail. Some precautions are listed below:
- Parking inside is the most obvious solution. Whether this is in your garage or a large parking lot, avoiding the brunt of a hailstorm is the best way to protect your car if you have the option.
- However, if you are caught out in a hailstorm, you should pull over and seek cover. Driving in a hailstorm risks causing more damage than the storm itself could cause. Pull over and shelter beneath an overpass, a tree, or even a building. You reduce the risks of crashing and hail damaging your vehicle by doing so.
- If your home does not have a garage, covering your car can reduce the amount of damage a hailstorm can inflict. A mattress, a tarp, or even an old blanket can help your car ride out the hailstorm.
- Listen to local weather warnings. Pay attention to local weather warnings and prepare accordingly. For example, if hail is likely on a particular night, park your car in your garage or cover it up beforehand to prevent any damage.
While these are not full-proof solutions, all of the options listed above reduce the risk of damage from hail.
Dealing with hail damage can be a stressful experience with many associated costs. Hail damage can harm your vehicle's value. Extensive damage may even take your car off the road entirely.
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