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3 Important Things To Do If Your Vehicle Suffers Hail Damage

With hail forecast across a large swath of America this weekend, we overview how you can best deal with hail damage to your automobile.

Hail damage to a vehicle can be extremely costly. However, it need not be the nightmare it seems if you follow a few simple steps after your vehicle is damaged by hail. Hail causes billions in property damage annually. The three states with the highest likelihood of a hail-related storm are Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska. Over a recent three-year period, Texas had over 600,000 hail damage insurance claims. Here are the three things you can and should do if you have a vehicle that is damaged in a hail storm.

Related Story: Aluminum Ford F-150 not at risk from hail damage according to top engineer

Car damaged by hail image by John GorehamStep One - Document the Damage and Event With Images and Video
It is very likely that your insurance company is going to be involved with repairing your hail-damaged vehicle. If hail damages your car, crossover, SUV, or truck, take as many good images of the damage as you can to document the full extent of the damage. If you can actually videotape the storm doing the damage, all the better. Get the images and store them away. They are going to be very handy.

Car damaged by hail image by John GorehamYes, Your Insurance Will Cover Hail Damage - If...
Hail damage is covered by the Comprehensive section of your insurance policy. If you have an outstanding loan on your vehicle it is almost a certainty that your policy includes such coverage. If you own the vehicle outright and have "full coverage," you need not worry. However, if you own the vehicle and cut the insurance policy coverage down as much as possible to save money on the premium, we hope you like the golf ball look. There is one last hope if your car was damaged at home during a hail storm. Your homeowner's policy may cover damage to other property, such as your car. Don't forget to explore that angle.

Step Two - Contact Your Insurance Agent
Some steps are obvious, and this one may be the most obvious. Contact your insurance agent as soon as the event occurs and file a claim. If your policy does not cover body damage, your policy still might cover glass. Be certain to begin keeping notes as soon as you make your first contact. Ask your agent if you are ready to proceed to directly to repairs, and document the reply with email.

Step Three - Begin Repairs
After your agent has given the green light to move forward on repairs, contact your best local resource for repairs. You are looking for an auto body shop with good reviews. Try Google for ideas and read what other customers have posted in the Google Reviews section. You may also need glass repair. We suggest starting with the body shop in case some of the areas surrounding the glass are damaged and require repairs. It is likely that the glass repair shop can do the work anyplace, so your autobody shop is just as good a place as any for them to perform that work.

If you have any hail damage advice to share, please post it in the comments section below. Your past experience may help a fellow hail damage victim.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin