Posted on: 29 July 2015
As hail damage has become increasingly common, insurance claims for hail damage have risen by 84 percent between 2010 and 2012. That means nearly double the number of claims were submitted in 2012 versus 2010, and the numbers continue to grow. If you have to park on the street and you live in an area where hailstorms are common, you may be especially worried. Here's what you can do to protect your car:
1. Buy a temporary garage
If you don't have a standard garage for your car, you can buy a range of temporary options, including carports, awnings and sheds. For the best level of protection, opt for a metal cover rather than a fabric one, but keep in mind that if you cannot get metal, fabric can work as long as it is taut and in good condition. When it starts to wear down from the elements, replace it.
Also, when installing any type of temporary garage, remember the wind and anchor it in place by cementing its poles into the ground. Also, consider enclosing its sides with metal walls or a weather blocker which is a protective sheet that provides some coverage along the sides of a carport.
2. Invest in a custom made hail cover
If you don't have room for a temporary garage, consider investing in a custom made hail cover. Regular car covers are simply thin layers of material that can keep dust and grime away, but if a chunk of ice falling from the sky hits these covers, they offer virtually no protection.
Hail covers, in contrast, feature a layer of protective foam that works like a motorcycle or bicycle helmet. The foam absorbs the impact of the hail so your car doesn't have to.
You can also buy hail covers that fill with air. When you throw the cover over your car, it looks like an average car cover, but when it starts to hail, you use the cover's remote control feature to engage its air bags. The cover fills with air, and the hail virtually bounces off.
3. Modify a conventional car cover
If you cannot afford a specialized hail cover, you may be able to modify a conventional car cover. When thinking of modification designs, remember you need a soft layer to protect the car from the hail, and you need the cover to stay on your car in spite of the winds often associated with hail storms.
The easiest modification is to cover your car with heavy blankets – try buying a pile of used furniture pads from a moving company – and then, put your regular cover over them. Make sure everything is well secured with ropes or towing straps.
If you prefer a foam-filled cover, take your existing car cover and stretch it out on the garage floor. Grab a can of spray insulation and spray it all over the cover to create a 1- to 2-inch layer of foam. When the foam dries, put the cover over your car.
As you wrap the cover over your vehicle, you may hear some of the insulation cracking. It is just doing that because it dried in a straight piece rather than a curved piece. Once you have fitted it onto your car and figured out the general shape of it, lay it over two sawhorses so it sits about in the position it will be in on your vehicle. Then, use the spray foam to fill in any holes or gaps that were created as you moved the cover from laying flat on the floor to wrapping around a vehicle.
4. Buy comprehensive insurance
Unfortunately, none of these ideas can insure your car is fully protected from hail damage. Because of that, you need to ensure your insurance policy protects you financially. If you only have liability or collision coverage on your vehicle, call your agent and add comprehensive coverage – it covers the cost of damage that occurs from acts of nature.
If your car isn't insured because you are not using it, call your agent about storage coverage. This type of coverage is essentially comprehensive with no liability or collision coverage. It costs much less than most other policies, and if your car suffers hail damage, it can be a financial lifesaver.