How to Handle Your Claim When Hail Damages Your Car
Environmental influences can sometimes leave you high and dry after inclement weather, and since it’s often impossible to predict when harsh conditions will strike, it’s hard to prepare. One of the most important ways you can prepare yourself, however, is arming yourself with information. Weather conditions like hail can seriously damage your property, and as the year comes to an end and the temperatures begin to drop, it’s important to know how to file a hail-related claim.
Carinsurance.com has a wealth of information on the topic, focusing mostly on frequently asked questions. These questions tackle questions like “Am I covered?” and “Should I file a claim?”, so we’ve condensed the information they provide into an easy-to-read guide to hail damage and insurance.
Does my insurance cover hail damage?
If you’ve purchased comprehensive auto insurance, otherwise known as “other than collision” coverage, you should be covered for hail damage, as well as vandalism and theft. It’s an important policy to keep in mind while looking at car insurance quotes, because this kind of protection is vital to dealing with unpredictable conditions like weather. You’ll still need to cover your deductible, but before you file a claim, consider how severe the damage really is. Ask yourself which costs more – the deductible or out of pocket repairs?
Am I required to fix my car if I don’t mind the dings?
It depends on whether or not you truly own your car. If you’ve made all of your payments and the vehicle belongs entirely to you, then you’re not obligated to repair it. It’s your property, and if a few small dents don’t bother you, you might choose to leave them. If you’re still paying off a car loan, however, you’ll legally obligated to maintain the value of the car since it’s still technically the lien holder’s asset.
Will claiming hail damage raise my premiums?
Depending on your state’s laws and insurance carrier’s ratings system, it very well may, but in general, comprehensive claims like this shouldn’t impact your rates at all. It was unpredictable and out of your control, so you’re not penalized. Some states may raise your premium, however, so check for your own individual state. There are even some states that don’t allow surcharges for claims like this, so you may be better off than you think.
Does hail damage affect the title of the car?
If certain conditions are met, the hail damage can, in fact, be noted on your car’s title, but only if both of the following are true:
– The insurance company declared the damage a total loss
– Your state allows hail damage as he sole reason for a salvage title
Failing either of those requirements, the damage will not be noted on your title, but many states do have a “hail” designation for cars totaled by hail. Be careful, though. Even if the damage isn’t on the title, it may still show up on electronic notification systems like Carfax.
What if the car is hail-totaled and I choose to keep it?
Ask your insurance company to buy the car for its salvage value. They’ll send you a check for the difference between the car’s value before and after the hail storm (minus your deductible). This may require an inspection, and your car’s title will be “branded” to reflect its previous state, making it difficult to insure.
Does gap insurance cover my vehicle’s lost value?
It does not. Gap insurance only covers you when your car is totaled, and it pays only the difference between the car’s value before the crash and how much was still owed on it, minus deductibles.
Have you ever had unexpected weather damage your car? Do you have any tips on dealing with the property damage? Let us know in the comments section!