What does insurance pay for hail damage?

Unlike sleet, hail is large enough to cause serious damage to your home or your car. Hail is dangerous purely due to many droplets of hail fall in a hailstorm and how big they are. A thousand golfball sized pieces of ice is enough to cause enough damage to your car to write it off, purely due the enormous panel beating expense. Similarly, while your roof might keep you dry, it is not made withstand everything (otherwise we’d all be living in bunkers) and the expense of replacing a roof could cost you many thousands of dollars, not just for repair but also for temporary accommodation costs.

Facts about hail damage

States in the middle latitudes of the United States are most at risk of hail damage. The Insurance Information Institute reported that Texas has had the most major hail events since records began, with Kansas, Colorado , Nebraska, and South Dakota taking up the next places. While these states might have had the most events, it is Oregon that represents the state with the highest average claim loss between 2000 and 2013 (source: III).

This implies that extreme weather events occur more frequently in Oregon, despite less over all in comparison to other states. With that said, no one is immune! The III further reports that in 2016 over 12.6 million US properties were affected by hail damage.

Let’s take a closer look at what insurance will pay for hail damage to cars and your home.

What does insurance pay for hail damage to your car?

You will be covered for hail damage if you have comprehensive car insurance and will only pay your excess, which is a weight off one’s shoulders.

Unfortunately, if you’ve opted for cheaper third-party coverage luck was not in your favor this time. According to Stormwise, hail damage costs $6543 on average, if you choose to get it repaired. This figure would include everything: parts replacement, dent repair cost, remove and install cost and a sales tax. If this is too much for you to pay at once, contact your local windscreen technician and find out if you have to get your windscreen replaced or repaired. State law varies but luckily YourMechanic.com has prepared a handy list of assessing whether you need to get it replaced or not.

If your car is still drivable, keep in mind that the value of the car has now been significantly reduced. There are swathes of articles that argue against buying hail damaged cars. The numbers range between 10-60% of value lost after hail damage. It’s not to say all hope is lost for selling when that time comes, there are plenty of markets willing to take your car.

Can I drive a hail damaged car? 

Yes – but only if the damage is cosmetic. Roadworthy items such as the windscreen, mirrors and light lenses must be repaired to keep the car roadworthy.

How is hail damage assessed?

Hail damage is assessed systematically. Your technician will first assess which parts of your car can be buffed out with a paintless dent removal tool – a PDR. The price of this calculated by factoring in the labor time, extent of damage and location of damage on the car.

If the damage has been found to be too severe for the PDR, the panels themselves will need to be replaced. If you require OEM panels (original equipment manufacturer), this might increase both the time and the cost of repair. Your technician will advise you on your options. Generally, if your car is a little older and has already got a lot of mileage on it, we recommend using whatever is cheapest yet delivers comparable quality.

The cost of labor and tax is then tacked on to the price of the panel replacements and voila, you have a comprehensive quote.

Tip: always get your repair itemized to know what you’re paying for.

What does insurance pay for hail damage to your home?

Generally, your home will be covered for hail damage but how that applies may vary. The devil is always in the details. All can be clarified by thoroughly reading the terms and conditions of your policy or speaking with an agent. Key things you should look out for are whether there are any ‘exclusions’ or ‘policy limits.’ These terms designate certain scenarios where you are liable for the damage yourself. To this end, we like to use SuperMoney’s handy tool to browse through insurers to see if they can fit your needs.

 In states such as Nebraska or Colorado where over 40% of homes have experienced hail damage(!) this is something that should not be taken lightly. No one wants to see their house on the news.

How much does hail insurance for your home cost?

As mentioned previously, hail insurance is usually covered through your homeowners insurance and costs $1211 per year on average. Between 2014 and 2018, the average claim for hail damage was $11,200 and was the most frequent claim over this period, with 2.3 claims per 100 house years.

source: iii.org

How do I prove that my home experienced hail damage?

Hail damage can look like simple degradation to the untrained eye. The Nebraska Department of Insurance produced a handy guide on hail damage and how one can identify it.

This is something for your own reference, as when you make a claim after the hail storm, your insurer will send an adjuster around to assess for themselves, but its handy to know how to diagnose hail damage yourself. You might disagree with the adjuster or think they have not lived up to your expectations and without prior knowledge of hail, you could have the wool pulled over your eyes.

On the other hand, hail generally must only be 1.25 inches in diameter before it causes damage to heavy composites shingles and 1 inch in diameter before it causes damage to lightweight shingles. Your roof might just have damage due to age and weathering.

Cracks, blisters, curled edges and discolored streaks or patches are not evidence of hail damage.

Wrapping up

Thankfully, hail damage is one of those headaches that can be solved by getting a good comprehensive insurance policy and thoroughly checking the terms and conditions of your coverage. No matter if the damage occurred to your car or your home, after a hopefully quick assessment period your insurer will take care of it, minus a small excess fee.

If you need help shopping for an insurer or are thinking of switching insurers for your home or car, we can recommend SuperMoney to browse through some of the best insurers on a state by state basis.

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