Large hail can cause extensive damage to cars, SUVs, and trucks if they are parked outside. Windows can be broken, and that metallic paint job you just paid for is ruined with all of the dents and dings to the roof and hood of your vehicle. While your insurance might cover the damage, many people would rather avoid the hassle of making a claim and losing access to their vehicle while it is being repaired.
There are numerous steps everyone can take to protect their car from hail damage. One of the most important is loading an app on your smartphone to provide alerts for storms in your area. Even if hail is not forecasted, when storms are in the area, protecting your car provides peace of mind from these natural disasters.
5 Reliable Steps To Protect A Car From Hail
If there is a storm coming, look for covered parking, move your car and park your vehicle in a garage if you have one. The following steps can also help protect your car if you park your car outside all of the time or are driving and prevent hail damage. One of the most important steps to take is listening to weather reports, especially when storms are forecasted for the area. Adding an alert to your smartphone from a reliable weather app can also help being forewarned about impending storms with the potential for hail.
Protecting your car from hail may also involve multiple solutions depending on where your car is and what activities you are doing when the storm hits. E,.g. at work, running errands, traveling vs. parked at home.
1. Purchase a reliable hail cover
If you live in an area where hail storms are common, purchasing a good quality hail car cover may be a good solution. Most auto supply stores carry them. Purchase a car cover that is designed to fit your make and model of car. The car cover should also provide a solution to enable secure attachment to the car. Hail storms often are accompanied by lots of wind. You want to make sure that the cover is not easily detached in windy conditions.
Some car covers may only cover the window area to avoid broken windows. A car cover that protects the entire car will help to avoid damage to the finish of the metallic portion of your vehicle. Make sure the car cover is rated for hail protection. Also, look for portability and ease of use when buying auto hail cover products. A cover that you can quickly attached to your auto is great in case you get caught under a hail storm during the process of attaching such products.
2. Get comprehensive insurance
Many drivers only purchase liability and collision insurance to provide coverage for their car and other drivers if involved in an accident of some kind. Damage from hailstones falls under comprehensive insurance for most insurance companies. Comprehensive insurance covers cracked windows from stone chips, for example, and damage from weather-related events such as hailstones.
Adding comprehensive insurance to your total insurance package increases the total cost of car insurance, however, this coverage may be worth it, especially if you live in an area prone to regular storms that produce hail. Although we recommend using auto cover, this insurance will protect you from a large bill if your driving through a hail storm.
3. Use parking garages
Park your car in the garage if you have one whenever at home. This will protect the car from the sun as well as accidentally leaving it outside in a hail storm. Parking garages are another great location to seek shelter to park your car. Instead of parking on the street, parking in a parking garage may be worth the parking fee to provide peace of mind and safety for your vehicle during a fast-moving storm. If you do park in a parking garage, always park near the center away from open sides, where hail could still blow in and damage your car.
4. Find shelter when driving
It is not always easy to find shelter when drivers are traveling. However, there are a number of steps drivers can consider to minimize the damage and keep you safe. If available, park under an overpass on the highway. Pull well over from the traveled area of the road to avoid being rear-ended. Parking under a gas station canopy may also provide some cover.
If you cannot find physical protection, drive into the hail, since your driver’s window is much stronger than the side windows or rear window. Another solution is to park on the lee side of a large building. The building provides protection from the hail since winds usually drive the hail right past your car in these situations.
5. Build a port for your car
Many homeowners do not have a garage attached to their homes. While a full garage might represent more expense than consumers are willing to spend, a carport is a less expensive solution. The carport also protects your car’s paint from the sun and the corresponding fading that comes with high exposure to direct sunlight day after day. A carport can also be closed in on one or more sides, especially if the wind traditionally comes from one direction.
The carport should be well secured to avoid damage from high winds. If you have to leave your car outside, spending a little more money on a good quality carport can avoid losing your temporary carport in a wind storm. If you leave in an area where you get lots of hail storm and snow weather, building a carport can almost guarantee that your auto wont need as much repair from hail damages.
Cheap Selected DIY Methods
There are less expensive solutions that may work in an emergency, especially if you have little warning of an impending hail storm and nowhere to park your car where it is protected.
Cover your vehicle with a tarp or a blanket. Roll down the windows, tuck the tarp or blanket inside the window, and roll up the window. This approach will hold the cover in place in windy conditions. You can also duct tape the tarp at the bottom of the car to hold it in place and protect the entire car. Covering your car with blankets provides more protection.
Car covers cover the entire car. Purchase one specific to your make and model. This products are great to have especially if you are planning to go on long trips.
Throwing the floor mats on the windshield and rear window to protect the car. This solution provides some coverage, probably not the entire window. The floor mats may also blow off the car, particularly if the winds are strong.
Try pool noodles
Consumers come up with innovative ways to protect their cars when a hail storm hits. One couple bought enough pool noodles to cover their car. They sowed the noodles together to form a blanket that covered the car and tied the pool noodle blanket to the front and back of their car. The side of you auto might not be protected, but you can still save a lot of dent repair money in case your insurance claim is not approved.
While it may look funny to see a car covered in pool noodles, solutions like this are effective and do not cost much. Noodles were selling for $.94 cents each at the time. This couple suggested that the pool noodle blanket should be well secured to the car, front and back as well as running a rope across the top and inside the doors to avoid losing it when there are high winds.
Dent repair from hail damage can very expensive depending on the amount of work and the access to the affected areas. Make sure that you speak to your insurance company to include hail storm damage in your policy. Also, we always recommend to purchase a reliable auto hail cover for better protection. If you are on a budget this effective DIY pool noodle solution might be something you should take a look into.
Air mattresses for cars
Several air mattresses can be tied together and secured to the vehicle to protect your vehicle from hail. Hail should literally bounce off the inflated air mattresses. Similar to the pool noodle solution, it is important to secure the mattresses together and also to the car. A light mattress filled with air could blow away in the wind, never to be found again if it is not secured tightly to the car.
Another couple suggested sowing yoga mats together and attaching them to the car. Yoga mats are thick enough to provide protection, can be rolled up and stored when not needed in the trunk of your car. Make sure they are well secured to each other as well as to the car. This is indeed a quick way to protect car from hail damage.
Tip: Try our paintless dent repair tool recommendations if you have suffer hail damage.
Wrapping It Up
Hail storms can cause a great deal of damage to your car. Parking inside is the best solution to protect a car from hail, however, if inside parking is not available, there are many alternatives to consider. Parking under overpasses, in the lee of a building, parking garages, car covers, air mattresses, yoga mats, carports and more.
Carrying comprehensive car insurance also provides protection for car owners that covers the repairs to your windows and chipped paint as well as dent repair if your car is damaged during a hail storm. If you live in a high-risk area for hail storms, using all of these solutions from time to time can reduce the damage to your vehicle. Load a weather app on your phone that provides alerts to warn if a storm is coming potentially with hailstones.
Most collision repair locations provide repairs for hail damage for cars covered by residential car insurance as well as business insurance coverage for business vehicles. Also, we recommend getting rental coverage on your auto insurance if you need a vehicle to get to work everyday. Check our article about how to repair a nail in your tire. If you need your tire number for replacement try a tire finder online.