Just before 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon in eastern Pennsylvania, the skies darkened as temperatures plummeted. Shoppers in a mall in Wyomissing heard a cracking and then scattered at the sight of glass falling from above—the mall’s skylights were shattering thanks to golf and tennis ball-sized hail. No one was hurt, but after the storm passed, the shoppers were met with more bad news in the parking lot: Their cars’ windshields were shattered too, and their hoods were dented as though by a hammer.
The images are pretty nutty (via @cdikos9 on Twitter):
Hail is largely a spring and summer phenomenon, because it is produced by the kind of strong thunderstorms most common in those seasons (the same kind I used to marvel at as a kid growing up in Kansas).
With hail season upon us, we thought it was worth asking: Will car insurance cover hail damage?
The answer: It depends. If you have only liability coverage, unfortunately, your insurance will not cover hail damage. But if you carry comprehensive coverage, hail damages above your deductible WILL be covered by your insurance policy.
Most companies sell comprehensive and collison coverages together, but The Zebra licensed insurance agent Steven Cummings explains that they are actually two separate coverages with two separate deductibles.
Not sure you remember what a deductible is? Let us define it for you:
Deductible: The amount you have to pay before your insurance benefits start kicking in. You’ll agree on this amount when you first buy your policy. For example, a $500 deductible means that that hefty door ding that will cost $350 to repair at the shop is all on your dime, but anything above $500 is covered by the insurance company.
The fact that comprehensive and collision are sold separately is actually good news in terms of hail damage: “Because comprehensive and collision are separate deductibles, you can choose a lower comprehensive deductible if you are in a hail-prone area,” Cummings explains. (Live in Nebraska, Colorado, or Wyoming? You might want to seriously consider a lower comprehensive deductible, because you’re in the most hail-prone states in the country.)
Just remember: In order to fix the hail damage on your car, you’ll have to pay your comprehensive deductible first. Then the rest is footed by the insurance company. The Zebra licensed insurance agent Jonathan Wagner offers one more great tip: “Some companies—although not all—offer comprehensive coverage only, so you don’t have to have “full coverage,” or comprehensive and collision both, to cover yourself against hail,” Wagner says. “This is a great option for vehicles primarily in storage.”
Mother nature can be a cruel momma indeed, but a low deductible on comprehensive coverage can save you from shelling out big bucks to fix major hail damage to your
loved one car. Oh, and if you’re in PA? The Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced today that it’s taking steps to help people affected by the hailstorm. Contact the Pennsylvania Insurance Department with any questions.