Insurance claims for hail damage jumped 48 percent from 2015 to 2016, with Texas, Colorado and Nebraska ranking highest, respectively, for the number of hail damage claims filed, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Texas totaled more than four times as many hail claims as the second leading state, Colorado, and had 39 percent of all the claims filed last year, according to an NICB analysis of insurance claims from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) ClaimSearch database.
Of the 965,000 hail damage claims filed last year, 32 percent were for damage to cars.
Hail damage claims by state, according to the NICB analysis of ISO claims:
Hail damage and car insurance
If your car is dinged by ice balls falling from the sky, you can decide to live with the cosmetic damage or you may want to file a hail damage claim to have it repaired. Before you reach for your car insurance card, here are five must-know considerations:
- You must have comprehensive insurance coverage, which also covers theft, vandalism, water damage and animal strikes, to file a claim.
- You will have to pay your deductible amount, so it's prudent to assess the repair costs – if you have just a few dents, the cost to fix your car will not exceed your deductible. Esurance pegs the average cost to repair each dent at $50 to $125. Major hail damage could be several thousand dollars and can total a car, in which case a claim makes sense. For minor damage, you might want to visit a paintless dent repair shop and avoid a claim.
- Your car insurance rates typically won't increase if you make a hail claim, as generally insurance companies won't hold you accountable for damage caused by severe weather. If, however, you've had other recent claims on your policy, your insurer may hike your rates.
- If you do file a claim, have the insurance adjuster inspect your car in the shade or in a garage, as bright sunlight can obscure dents.
- Once your insurance company completes its estimate of the cost to fix your car, take your vehicle to a repair shop of your choice and get a comparison estimate. Typically, if there's a big discrepancy, your repair shop can contact your insurer with the information and have your insurer provide a revised estimate or have the insurer approve its estimate.