A hailstorm can be a surprisingly destructive event. Formed when water freezes together in high-elevation thunderstorm clouds, hail is composed of chunks of ice that can range in size from a pea to a softball. Even small hailstones can cause absolute chaos on cars, houses, and other property.
Most common from May to August, telltale signs of a hailstorm are gray clouds, thunder, rain, lightning, a sudden drop in temperature. If you live in a hail-prone state and see signs of a storm approaching, it’s important to take these precautionary steps to minimize the damage on your car.
Buy Hail Damage Insurance
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t win against nature. Massive hail storms and situational circumstances like traveling, being away from your car during the storm, or not having access to a garage can make car hail damage inevitable, even if you’re usually very careful.
If you live in a hail-prone state, it’s better to be safe than sorry and invest in hail damage insurance. Insurance plans with comprehensive coverage generally offer full protection from weather events like hail, so you can rest easy knowing that even if the worst happens, you’re still covered.
Have a Protected Place for Your Car
One of the best ways to protect your car from hail damage is to park it in a sturdy, secure, and preferably completely enclosed area. For most homeowners, this would probably be your garage, since it can keep your vehicle safe from all sides. This is important, because even though hail primarily falls from above, strong winds can cause it to hit your car from the side. Parking garages are also a great option for this reason.
If a garage isn’t available, a carport is still a good choice, especially if the side of the vehicle that’s exposed (often the back) can be covered with a cover or blankets. Covered parking lots and canopies, such as the ones at gas stations, can also work in a pinch. Finally, if you’re really pressed for time, parking on the side of a sturdy building can help shield your car, especially if the building is blocking the wind.
Get a Car Cover
If you don’t have regular access to covered parking, it may be a good idea to invest in a car cover. A car cover essentially works like a blanket for your vehicle, providing an extra layer of protection against the elements.
There are many different types of car covers available on the market, so it’s important to choose a heavyweight one that’s specifically designed to protect against hail. You should also look for a car cover that’s waterproof and breathable, so it doesn’t trap moisture underneath and cause mold or mildew to form.
Clean Your Surroundings
Another way to prepare your car for hail is to clear the area around it of any loose objects that could potentially be blown around by strong winds and become projectiles.
This means removing any loose items from your yard, such as lawn furniture, children’s toys, and sports equipment. If you have any potted plants, it’s also a good idea to bring them inside to avoid potential damage.
If Unable to Prepare, You May Need to Deal with Hail Damage
As we mentioned before, sometimes hail damage is unavoidable, no matter how well you prepare. If this happens, you may be wondering how to fix hail damage.
While some minor hail damage like a couple scratches or dings can be repaired with a do-it-yourself kit, in general, it’s best to go to a professional. Paintless dent repair, or PDR, is a very effective, non-invasive, and affordable way of fixing dents caused by hail. If your car gets damaged, see if you can find a reputable PDR technician nearby that can help.
While hailstorms have the potential to cause extreme damage to your car, with proper preparation, you can minimize or prevent this damage. By taking simple steps like having hail damage insurance, protected parking, a car cover, and doing a sweep of your car’s surroundings before the storm, you can avoid the hassle of hail damage completely.
And if the worst does happen and you need to fix hail damage, remember that paintless dent repair is usually your best bet.