Claims for car and homeowners insurance decreased in 2021 from 2020. Hail damage presents a dilemma for car owners: It is usually cosmetic but highly visible. Some people decide to live with dings while others file comprehensive insurance claims only to find out the repair cost doesn’t meet their deductible.
So, should you fix your car? Should you keep a hail-damaged car that’s been totaled? Will your rates increase? Here are a few things to know about filing an auto insurance claim for hail damage.
Does auto insurance cover hail damage?
You’re covered for hail damage if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, known as “other than collision,” which also covers animal strikes, vandalism and theft. You will have to pay your comprehensive deductible.
Minor hail damage often isn’t worth claiming because the repair costs don’t exceed the deductible. However, major hail damage can total a car.
“The time to prepare is now,” says Gina Wilken, State Farm public affairs specialist. “Call your insurance agent and review your coverage. After a hailstorm is not the time to find out your coverage is outdated.”
How do you file a claim for hail damage?
You must have comprehensive insurance to file a hail damage claim. Here are the steps to take if you have to file a hail damage claim:
- Document the damage.
- Get an estimate from a trusted body shop for the repairs, but don’t initiate repairs if you’re going to make a claim.
- Compare the estimate to the amount of your deductible to be sure repair costs significantly exceed the deductible.
- File a comprehensive insurance claim.
- An insurance adjuster will assess the extent of the damage and determine if your insurance company will pay to repair the damage or if your car is totaled.
- If your car is repairable, your insurance company will pay for repairs minus the deductible.
- If your car is totaled, your insurer will pay the car’s actual cash value minus the deductible, which you could use to help buy another car.
Will a hail claim increase my car insurance premiums?
It depends on your state’s laws and the insurer’s rating system, but generally, comprehensive claims of this nature don’t affect your rates. Claims for damages caused by natural events typically are not held against you since they are unforeseeable and out of your control. But you should check with your insurer to be sure.
Remember that even if your rates can’t be raised due to a hail claim, the number of claims against your policy can affect your rates. If you recently filed other claims, the total amount of claims made could cause you to be seen as a higher risk. Thus, you’ll pay more.
How much does car insurance pay for hail damage?
Last year, the average car insurance hail damage claim was $5,000, according to 2021 State Farm hail claims data. What your car insurance will pay depends on the actual damage and your deductible.
What are the top 5 states for hail damage claims?
State Farm received 255,000 hail claims in 2021, totaling $2.5 billion for home and auto claims. The top five states in 2021 for hail damage claims, including both home and auto, were:
State Farm total hail claims paid for home and auto
- Texas: $710 million
- Minnesota: $253 million
- Oklahoma: $202 million
- Illinois: $187 million
- Colorado: $139.5 million
FAQ: Auto insurance and hail damage
Do I have to repair hail damage?
If you own your car outright, the choice to repair a hail-damaged car is yours. However, if you have a loan outstanding on the car then you must fix it. Any settlement will be made out to you and your lienholder.
What if I didn’t fix my car when I made a previous hail damage claim?
You can still claim for new hail damage. However, the previous hail damage you did not repair will be considered, and you won’t be paid twice for the same hail damage.
As part of the claims process, the insurance adjuster will determine how much damage your vehicle is from the new hailstorm and how much pre-existing damage you failed to repair. Your insurance adjuster and agent should be able to explain how your car insurance company will handle this new comprehensive claim for hail damage.
Will auto insurance cover my windshield if it’s damaged by hail?
Yes, if you have comprehensive coverage. Sometimes, your insurance company may waive the deductible for glass repair. It’s common for insurers to waive the deductible if the windshield is being repaired instead of replaced.
In some states, you can buy full glass coverage separately from your comprehensive, covering a hail-damaged windshield. This guide to windshield coverage explains glass repair coverage by state.
Does hail damage affect your car’s title?
Hail damage is noted on your car’s title only if the following are both true:
- The insurance company has declared it a total loss.
- Your state allows hail damage as the sole reason for a salvage title.
Many states have a hail designation to distinguish hail-totaled cars from wrecked or flooded ones. Others mark the title as “salvage.” If the car is not declared salvage, the title is clean. However, the damage may appear on electronic notification systems like Carfax.
Resources & Methodology
State Farm. “State Farm releases 2021 hail claim data totaling $2.5B.” Accessed August 2022.