How to Protect Your Car from Hail Damage

The Scoop on Hail Damage Spring and summer in most states are synonymous with sunshine and blooming flowers, but they … Continued

The Scoop on Hail Damage

Spring and summer in most states are synonymous with sunshine and blooming flowers, but they are also harbingers of natural disasters in other states. 2017 was considered the worst year for hail damage in the United States with an estimated cost of $22 billion in damage to crops, cars as well as people. Midwest and Southern states have suffered 664 hail storms alone in the first few months of 2019. Hail stones the size of grapefruits have already fallen in Alabama in March and thunderstorm season is still far from over.

Thunderstorms can sometimes become severe enough to the point of producing hail. These chunks of ice rain angrily from the sky and can cause serious damage to property and cars. Hailstones make an appearance in states like Colorado and Nebraska around seven to nine days a year.  Severe thunderstorms can result in large jagged or round hailstones that can cause costly damage to vehicles of all sizes. This damage can be minor or severe and can take the form of cracked windshields and an assortment of dents all over the hood and roof. Some can fall at a speed of 100 mph, smashing glass and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The cost of hail damage is on the rise, and therefore car owners need to be proactive when it comes to protecting their vehicle from what is known as tornado’s little brother.

Holding Hail

Preventive Measures

  • Carports and Canopies

If you do not have a garage of your own and you need a temporary solution during hail season, you can easily invest in a carport or a canopy made of metal instead of fabric. These carports can be set up anywhere outside your home and offer the best protection during a storm. Some metal carports were designed to withstand 170 mph winds and a snow load of 90 pounds per square foot. These structures can be custom made to suit your needs and can be open or partially closed. Fabric canopies are also available in places like Home Depot and those are on offer in multiple sizes and styles. If you live in an area where strong winds are a common thing, then consider fortifying your carport using a weather blocker. Most weather blockers are made of a special poly-nylon blend and can shield your vehicle from the elements all year round.

  • Heavy Duty Hail Cover

Consider buying a hail cover if a carport is out of the question. There are several types of hail covers to choose from. Fitted covers are usually made with four or more  layers of durable fabric in order to prevent hail stones from impacting your vehicle. Protective foam is one of those durable layers and it was designed to absorb the impact of hail and bear the brunt of the thunderstorm. Inflatable covers are designed for light to heavy hailstorms and they form a protective air cushion around your vehicle thanks to a high-pressure fan that provide continuous air flow around the car.

  • Covered Parking

Knowing where to seek shelter the second a hail storm hits or even minutes before can save your car from hail damage. This is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way you can protect your car, especially if you were miles away from home. Writing down a list of shopping malls and department stores that have covered parking lots can come in handy during a thunderstorm. Knowing exactly where to go will help you save time and prevent your vehicle from getting banged up by the incoming wave of hail. You can also seek shelter under the canopy of a gas station and wait out the storm.

  • Budget DIY Car Cover

Regular car covers can also come in handy if your budget does not allow for a special hail cover. You can easily turn your average cover into a more durable shield for your vehicle with the help of insulation spray. This polyurethane foam spray can be used to coat the cover in one or two inches of foam.

  1. Make sure that you wear protective gloves and eye goggles before you begin this easy DIY project.
  2. Cover the ground with a drop cloth and spread out the cover on this clean surface.
  3. Shake the can for 30 seconds or less before using the spray.
  4. Spray the foam all over the cover and wait for it to dry. Allow room for the foam to expand.
  5. Pull the cover over your vehicle. Applying the insulation spray on a flat surface may result in odd cracking noises.
  6. Allow the material to mold itself around your car before removing it.
  7. Drape it over an elevated surface that closely resembles the length of your vehicle before using the spray to fill any gaps found on the surface of the cover.
  • Furniture Pads

Furniture pads are another budget friendly alternative to premium and pricey hail covers. These pads are used to cover all kinds of furniture and appliances in order to protect them from scratches and dents. Moving blankets can also be used as a protective layer under your standard car cover. All you need to do is secure them all around your car using ropes or towing straps before pulling the cover over them and securing it properly as well.

  • Large Office Buildings

Car owners who find themselves in the middle of a thunderstorm promising hail and thunder can use a large office building to shield their vehicle from this severe weather. Parking in the opposite direction of a storm allows the building to act as a shield from the strong winds and hail stones. If the storm hits while you are near your office building and the wind is blowing from the west, then parking in the east side of the building until the storm blows over will leave your car dent free.

  • Comprehensive Insurance  

Protection can take on an entirely different form and this one is of financial value. Comprehensive insurance can come in handy in case of hail or storm damage. This type of insurance covers flood damage and hail damage in addition to other nature-related accidents. Collision or liability coverage will not cover you when those hail stones come falling from the sky. Comprehensive insurance is the way to go in order to curb your losses and buy your peace of mind.

  • Hazard Free Parking Areas

Where you choose to park your car during thunderstorm season matters. Avoid parking under trees and in areas where loose roof tiles and other hazardous objects can easily fall and smash your windshield. Walk around your house and take inventory of all the things that can impact your car during a hail storm. This could be an old satellite dish or a long-forgotten Christmas reindeer that is still on the roof. The combination of heavy winds and hail can send the previously mentioned objects hurtling towards your unprotected car. Trimming down dead branches and securing garbage cans and lawn furniture is also recommended.

  • Air Mattresses and Other Creative Methods

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and many people in Texas have resorted to everyday items to protect their cars from incoming hail storms. Air mattresses are one of those items that car owners have strapped to the roofs and sides of their vehicles in order to shield them from hail. Pool noodles were also used to cover the roof of one car while one creative car owner has resorted to shrink wrapping his entire vehicle and covering the windshield and windows using flat packing boxes.

Related Post: Best Portable Garages

Car Hail

Repair Costs

Natural disasters have a way of surprising people in the worst way possible. Thunderstorms that give rise to hail can be unpredictable and unavoidable. Therefore, you need to know all about the repair costs associated with hail damage in order to make the necessary arrangements when disaster strikes. Keep in mind that prices may vary from one auto body shop to another.

There are several factors that determine the overall repair costs associated with this type of damage. Minor damage costs less to repair and requires a different repair technique when compared to severe hail damage. The size and depth of the dent and its location also matters a great deal when it comes to repair costs. Generally speaking, minor dents cause around $30-$45 to repair while medium sized ones cost around $40-$55. Large dents are a lot more expensive to remove and can cost around $75-$80. However, this number can jump all the way to $2,500 in case of severe damage following a powerful hailstorm.

When it comes to repairs, car owners have a choice between two services. Traditional body work involves the use of sanding and body fillers as well as repainting the damaged area. Paintless dent removal maintains the factory finish of your car and preserves its value. The latter is affordable and takes less time to complete than traditional dent repair. One quarter sized dent from hail damage on the hood can cost around $187 to repair using the PDR method. The same dent in the exact same location can cost around $450 to repair using the traditional dent repair method.

Sources:

  1. How to Protect Your Car from Hail – Wiki How
  2. Texans Find Creative Ways to Protect Cars From Hail – NBC Palm Springs