According to the National Weather Service, hailstones need to reach the approximate size of golf balls before they will do damage to your car. That’s welcome news – especially given that the U.S. experienced 5,382 severe hailstorms in 2019. Not only that, but insurers paid an estimated $7.26 billion for hail damage to automobiles from 2008 to 2014 alone, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Even so, minor dents and dings happen. Here’s what you need to know to prevent hail damage and what to do if hail damages your car.

Protect Your Car From Hail Damage

When hailstorms occur, damage to your vehicle does not have to be inevitable. There are several measures you can take to greatly reduce your car’s chances of sustaining hail damage in the first place. Here are just a few:

  • Keep your car in a garage or carport. Sometimes the most straightforward approach is best. If possible, avoid parking your car out in the open.
  • Seek shelter when potential hailstorms are forecasted. If you do not have a garage or carport, consider parking your vehicle in a parking garage nearby. Keep an eye on the weather report.
  • Head out to your local auto body shop. Auto body shops sell hail car covers to prevent hail damage.
  • Improvise. In a pinch, you can make your own hail cover. Use blankets, comforters and/or foam mattress pads, like egg crate toppers, to protect the roof of your car as well as windshield and back window. For additional protection, place car mats on the windows, and then layer a blanket or cover on top. Keep lightweight blankets and mattress toppers in place by duct taping them to your car. You can also use bungee cords, tie-down straps or rope.

After Hail Damage: Will Insurance Cover Repairs?

Although coverage may vary by carrier, generally speaking, hail damage is only covered by comprehensive automotive insurance. In most cases, liability insurance will not cover hail.

If you think comprehensive automotive insurance is best for you, make sure to be proactive about it. In some cases, insurers will not allow drivers to purchase comprehensive insurance once the media predicts major storm or qualifying event.

Paintless Dent Repair (PDR): A Solution for Minor Dings and Serious Dents

Even if you take due precautions, it is possible that an unexpected storm may leave your car with hail damage anyway. The good news is that repairing hail damage, especially minor dents and dings, can be relatively simple, fast and inexpensive, thanks to paintless dent repair (PDR).

What is paintless dent repair? In order to repair minor dents and dings, technicians access dents from the inside of the panel with the damage. From there, the technician uses special tools to view and repair the dent. These tools place just the right amount of pressure on the body of the car to gently, carefully massage the dented material back into its original position.

Because PDR fixes the dent and doesn’t just mask it like traditional dent repair (which only “fixes” the surface appearance), cars repaired with PDR do not have a lower resale value. Most dents can be repaired this way in just a few hours or that same business day.

Left untreated, hail damage can be unsightly and affect the resale value of your car. While it takes an inch-wide hailstone to do major damage, hail the size of a quarter can still leave a distinct and lasting mark. Take steps to prevent hail damage from occurring in the first place. Failing that, opt for paintless dent repair (PDR) to fix minor dings or major creases from your trusted Dent Shop.