Hail is a seasonal problem in Colorado, with hailstones that are sometimes as big as baseballs. When hailstones land on vehicles, they can shatter windshields, dent roofs and cause expensive damage. In many cases, car insurance companies will pay for hail damage. However, you must have the correct type of insurance to qualify for coverage. Find out who is responsible for your hail damage in Colorado depending on your insurance policy.
What Can I Do if My Car Has Been Damaged By Hail in Colorado?
Vehicle damage is one of the most common types of issues after a Colorado hailstorm. If your vehicle has been dented, scratched or the glass has broken in a hailstorm, document the incident immediately by taking photographs. Write down everything that you know about the incident, such as the date and time of the hailstorm, where your vehicle was parked, and how it was damaged. Then, contact your car insurance company to file a claim. Cooperate with the claims process to determine if your damage is covered by your auto insurance policy.
Your insurance company may direct you to a specific vehicle repair shop to have the hail damage fixed. If not, look for a reputable shop near you to obtain an estimate for hail damage repairs. This estimate will determine the value of your insurance claim. Ask the auto shop about Paintless Dent Repair, or PDR. This is a procedure where an auto body technician uses special tools to remove dents without replacing panels on your vehicle. It may be an option for minor damage. If the hailstones created larger dents, however, a more expensive type of repair is likely.
It may take one to three days to repair a lighter dent caused by hail, or three to four weeks for larger repairs. While your car is at the auto shop, you may need to rent a vehicle to travel to and from work. Ask your insurance company if it will cover your rental car costs based on the insurance you have available. If so, you may need to use a specific rental car company that has partnered with your car insurance provider.
Do Insurance Companies Pay for Hail Damage?
According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Colorado ranks second in the nation for the number of hail insurance claims. Colorado had around $618 million in insured losses and more than 100,000 auto and homeowners insurance claims for hail in 2018.
Whether or not your insurance will pay for hail damage depends on your car insurance policy.
In general, if you only purchased the minimum required amounts of car insurance in Colorado, hail damage is not covered. The minimum required amounts only provide liability insurance to pay for someone else’s medical bills and vehicle damage after a car accident. If you have comprehensive insurance, however, you will be protected from hail damage. Comprehensive insurance pays for any type of damage to your vehicle, including from vandalism or falling debris. It is the only type of car insurance that will cover hail damage.
No state requires comprehensive insurance. If you live in a place that often sees hailstorms, such as Colorado, comprehensive coverage is a smart investment. Typically, adding comprehensive coverage to an auto insurance policy only costs an extra $100 to $300 per year. This is much less than the average price to repair dents and cracked windows from hail damage.
Can Hail Damage Impact My Car’s Resale Value?
Yes. Hailstones can cause dents and aesthetic damage that reduces the value of your vehicle. If you know you wish to sell your car, it may seem counterintuitive to pay to have hail damage fixed first. However, fixing hail dents can have a positive return on investment when selling your vehicle, even if you have to pay out of pocket for the repair.
You can most likely sell your car for a much higher price if it doesn’t have hail damage. Consider PDR if you are looking for a low-cost way to fix dents caused by hail before selling your vehicle, as this is a cheaper alternative to repairing entire panels. If you need assistance with the insurance process – such as if you encounter a denied hail damage claim – contact an attorney in Colorado.