Many people are under the impression that basic car insurance will cover damages to their vehicles caused by hail. However, this is not true. Basic car insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle as a result of hail. Additional insurance is required for hail damage.
What is a Hail Storm?
A hail storm occurs when winds force precipitation up and down through clouds of below-freezing temperatures. The rain droplets then gather into layers of ice forming hailstones. Hail can be present in various sizes from the size of a pea right up to the size of a golf ball. Large hailstones can cause severe damage to vehicles depending on the strength of a storm. Hailstorms are quite common in Southern Ontario.
Facts About Canadian Hailstorms
Canadian hail season usually falls between May and October with July being the most active month. Hailstones range in size from peas to baseballs, but any size hailstone can cause significant damage in a very short period of time. The most common province in Canada to experience hailstorms is Alberta with Ontario following closely behind. Hail can fall at a speed of up to 100 kilometres an hour. It is wise to pay close attention to weather reports to prepare for any known possible hailstorms.
High Wind Storms and Falling Debris
Much like hailstorms, wind storms with high winds over 60 kilometres an hour can cause debris to fly around, fall and cause damage to vehicles. The government will issue high wind warnings when winds exceed 60 kilometres an hour. Damage from high winds to vehicles as with hailstorm damage is not covered under basic car insurance.
Comprehensive Coverage For Hail and Wind Storm Vehicle Damage
In order for your vehicle to be covered for hail or wind storm damage, you must have comprehensive coverage that includes these types of damages. Some insurance providers also require a declaration for storm damage on your vehicle. It is always important to read the fine print contained in your auto insurance policy, if in doubt ask your insurance provider for clarification.
Is it Worth Claiming Hail Damage to a Car?
Depending on the degree of damage to your vehicle caused by hail, and the amount of your deductible, it may or may not be worth claiming hail damage to your car.
Does Hail Damage Claim Raise Car Insurance Rates?
Typically your first hail damage claim will not affect your car insurance rate. However, numerous hail damage claims can raise your car insurance rate.
How Much Does Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
With the proper car insurance coverage, the full value of your car would be covered for hail damage.
How Long Do You Have to Claim Hail Damage on a Car?
You have up until 1 year to file a claim for hail damage in Ontario.
What Part of Auto Insurance Covers Hail Damage?
You must have comprehensive coverage to make a claim for hail damage to your car.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix Hail Damage on a Car?
Depending on the extent of the damage caused by the hail and the repair method used, the cost can vary. There is no definitive cost.
How Is Hail Damage Repaired on a Vehicle?
Large hailstones can cause severe damage to the body of a vehicle and in some instances even break windshields. Depending on the degree of severity of the hailstone damage there are a couple of different ways hailstone damage can be repaired. Traditional hailstone damage repairs can take over a week to repair, especially when the vehicle has to be repainted. However, there is also a method known as paintless dent repairs which can result in a faster turnaround time.
Can a Vehicle Be Written Off Due to Hail Damage?
Depending on your insurance provider, the coverage you have, and the degree of severity of the damage incurred to your vehicle during a hailstorm, your vehicle may have to be written off. If the cost of the repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle, your insurance provider will take the route that is less expensive for the insurance company. It may be cheaper for them to cut you a check for the value of your vehicle.
When Should I Not Make a Claim For Hail Damage?
When you make a claim for hailstone damage under your comprehensive coverage you are required to pay your deductible at the time your vehicle is being repaired. If the damage to your vehicle is less than what your deductible is, it would only make sense to pay out of pocket as opposed to filing a claim. Many people choose to have a higher deductible to reduce their annual premium, typically most people choose a $500 deductible but others may choose between $1000 and $2000 deductible. It may be a wise idea to get an estimate of repairs prior to making the decision to file a claim.
How To Protect Yourself and Your Property During a Hailstorm
If you have advance warning that a hailstorm is coming it is a wise idea to prepare for the storm. If you are fortunate enough to have a garage or car shelter, put your vehicle in either one to protect it from potential hailstone damage. If you are indoors, stay away from windows and doorways, it may also be a good idea to take cover in your basement as high winds can also cause heavy limbs and trees to fall. You may also want to unplug electronics and appliances if they are not hooked up to surge protectors. If you are caught outside during a hailstorm take cover in a solid building keeping away from windows, doors, and skylights. If there are no buildings available crouch to as low to the ground as you can get and cover your neck and head, keeping away from tall trees and structures in the event the hailstorm is accompanied by lightning. If you are driving, pull over when safe to do so as visibility may be very low and you are also at risk for the shattering of car windows.