Wild weather all across the U.S. increasingly presents auto owners with hard times and unpredictable problems as we hurdle into the winter season. A severe storm can take a serious toll on your vehicle with dents and dings and can even total your car. Although wind and hail storms devastate regions in different ways, some states, such as Texas, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming, experience more damages than others. Of these, Texas continues to take the lead in hail damage claims with nearly 150,000 claims made in 2016. Hail happens, and the ability to harness secure solutions to counter the consequences can ease the emotional and financial burden faced by auto owners.
Hail Damage Stats by State
Last year was the most expensive hail season on record for Texas with over $4 billion insured losses recorded in a claims analysis done by the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT). A representative from State Farm reported to Fox 4 that auto claims during the season averaged over $4,000 per vehicle. Colorado fell second on State Farm's list with over 20,500 hailstorm claims made by drivers, followed by Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska, but none came close to Texas. Colorado's Front Range is located in the center of what is known as "Hail Alley." The hail season here occurs from mid-April to mid-August and costs at least $25 million in insured home and auto damages per year. Over the past ten years, Colorado hail storms alone have caused over $3 billion in insured damages. The largest insured loss event took place in May of 2014, hitting everywhere from Colorado to Pennsylvania; this five-day event resulted in insured losses of $2.9 billion dollars, including both home and auto claims. Over the past five years, nationwide home and vehicle claims linked to hail and wind storms accounted for nearly 40% of all insured losses, averaging around $15 billion, annually.
How to Handle Hail Damage
Often times a vehicle that has endured a hail storm will have cosmetic damages that can harm resale value and mar the appearance of your vehicle until repairs are made. If you own the vehicle outright, it is your decision whether or not to seek repairs. In the case that you still have an unpaid loan or are leasing a vehicle, repairs may be required. Listed below are some recommended action items if your vehicle has been damaged by hail.
- Once the storm has subsided and you can safely assess the damage done to your vehicle, check for dents and dings to the body as well as for cracked or broken glass. Take photos of the damage.
- Cover broken glass to prevent further damage to the interior from rain, and carefully vacuum out any glass to prevent cuts in the carpet and upholstery.
- Get an estimate from a trusted body and/or glass repair shop and save any receipts for what you spend to send in to your insurance for reimbursement.
- If the damage is minimal and repair costs are less than your current comprehensive deductible, it may not be beneficial to file a claim.
Depending on your auto policy and the state in which you reside, comprehensive insurance, as opposed to liability, will cover hail damage claims in full less any deductible that may apply. This holds true unless you have a policy that offers optional glass coverage that does not require your deductible be met. Consulting your insurer will confirm whether or not your policy includes this option, and the number of claims you have made throughout the year will determine the potential for an increase in premiums. It is unlikely you will see a jump in premiums for hail damage claims if you haven't made many claims up to this point; this is because natural disasters are unforeseeable and out of your control. According to the Insurance Services Office (ISO), hail insurance claims for 2016 increased 48% nationwide from the prior year. Even what may appear to be minor damages can be more extensive and, therefore, qualify your insurance provider to total out your car. Major hail damages will total a car or truck; for this reason, it is suggested to take your car to a repair shop for an estimate of the overall repair costs. Selecting a repair shop with certified technicians is key once you have made the decision to take your vehicle in to be fixed. Collecting estimates from a few body shops before committing to repairs may save you money. Some glass replacement and repair businesses like Glass America will come to you, at your convenience, if your vehicle has cracked or broken glass. No matter where you seek repairs, it is never safe to drive with a damaged front or rear windshield (back glass). Find an expert you trust who will repair your vehicle's glass and get you back on the road, safely. Call Glass America today to schedule your appointment at (877) 220-1724!