Although a hail storm seems like a rare weather phenomenon, the truth is hail causes over $22 billion in damages in the U.S. every year.
If your vehicle has been a victim of a hail storm, you know it’s not something to take lightly. Hail can do anything to a car from leaving pockmark-like dents all over the hood and roof to breaking through the windshield. The heavier the hailstones and the higher the wind, the greater the destruction.
There are a few steps you can take, however, to protect your car from this weather hazard. Here’s how to prevent hail damage to your vehicle.
Know When Hail Could Happen
Being prepared is really the best thing you can do to protect your car from hail damage. Check the weather forecast regularly, especially from May through September, when hailstorms are frequent.
Hail tends to accompany thunderstorms that pop up during hot and humid weather as a cold front approaches.
Set your mobile phone or computer to receive alerts so you’ll always be notified when hail is moving through your area. This way, you can also park your car in a safer location if you’re at work or know you’ll be on the road the day the news predicts unsettled weather.
If you can avoid driving when a hailstorm may occur, keep the car at home or in a safe parking location.
Check Your Insurance Policy for Hail Coverage
If you live in an area where hail is common, check your auto insurance policy to make sure you’re covered. Add on this comprehensive coverage if it’s not already included.
While this can’t stop hail from making dings and dents in your car’s exterior, at least it can ease the pain of having to pay for costly repairs.
Read the fine print to confirm that hail is included under weather-related comprehensive insurance. Remember that you don’t have to use the insurance company’s approved repairers in the case of hail damage.
Park It in a Garage If Possible
If your home has a garage or carport and you know hail is in the weather forecast, use it. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people ignore hail warnings and leave their car exposed. If you start to see hail fall while your car is in the driveway or on the street, it may already be too late to move it out of harm’s way.
Do you rent versus owning your home?
Buy or rent covered parking if you live in a hail zone and the option is available to you.
If you’re out driving and a hailstorm hits, try to remain calm and keep an eye out for a public parking garage close by that you can park under. You can also park under a gas station or interstate overpass in a pinch until the storm passes.
Stay inside your vehicle until the storm is over as hailstones can cause serious injury. Follow these other tips if you find yourself caught in a hailstorm while driving.
If your office building has a parking garage, definitely take advantage and use it when hail is predicted. If a garage isn’t available, park it next to the side of a building that is blocking the direction of the hail. It may not completely protect your vehicle, but it’s better than having it out in the open.
Parking under a tree isn’t advisable as heavy winds can cause large branches to fall onto your car, creating even worse damage than hail.
Cover Your Car
When garaging the car isn’t an option, you can try covering it with some kind of padded material to try to minimize hail damage. Just keep in mind that even hail car covers designed for this purpose can’t guarantee your vehicle will stay blemish-free through bad weather. It depends on the size of the hail and the storm’s wind speed.
Get creative—you can use heavy blankets, floor mats, or furniture pads if a shelter isn’t available and you don’t own a hail cover. Blow up an air mattress and place it across the car’s hood. You can even use pool noodles.
Layering several blankets over your vehicle will provide additional padding. Whatever you have handy, you’ll want to get it onto your car before a storm hits.
Use paint-safe tape or rope to help secure the padding to the car. NEVER USE DUCT TAPE! This will leave a film on the panel that is virtually impossible to remove without damaging the clear coat!
What Won’t Protect Your Car From Hail
Keep in mind that special auto detailing products such as paint protection film, vinyl wraps, and ceramic coatings may not be enough to protect your car from hail damage.
Paint protection film, or a clear bra, is designed to wrap around a vehicle’s body (or portions of the body) to protect the paint finish from road debris, insect residue, pine sap, and other contaminants. It also makes cleaning the car easier as water beads up and rolls off the surface.
Paint protection film may be effective against very small hailstones, but again it depends upon the force of the impact from the wind. You should consider these products as extremely ineffective when it comes to large hailstones.
A hood protector or car bra will also not be able to shield your vehicle from hail damage.
Protect Your Car From Hail Damage
Keeping your vehicle safe from hail damage means taking pro-active measures when you know there’s a chance of hail in the forecast. Although it may seem like an inconvenience to move your car under shelter in the middle of the day or to wrap it with padding, having to bring it in for repairs is a bigger hassle.
Is it too late to protect your car from hail? Let StormWise restore your vehicle’s appearance. We can even provide you with a free rental car while yours is being repaired.
Get a free quote from us today!