To say the weather in the United States is unpredictable is an understatement. Due to the power of global warming, unique and extreme weather patterns have become an increasingly common issue. This includes everything from thunderstorms to heavy snowfall.
The volatile weather has also seen the recent rise of another serious concern: hailstorms. It is said that, in the US alone, hail is causing as much as $22 billion in damage each year. Baseball-sized hailstones are battering the likes of homes, crops, and people, as reports of storms become a more frequent occurrence.
A large portion of that $22 billion is attributed to vehicle damage. When a car is a victim of a hailstorm, it could potentially cost thousands of dollars to repair the havoc caused. From large indentations across the roof and hood to windshields being smashed, hail is no joke.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost. By adding the following tips to your arsenal, you will be best prepared against the next hailstorm headed towards your vehicle.
Stay up-to-date with the weather
It’s a simple enough start, right? Yet one of the most effective ways of preventing hail damage is to know when it’s scheduled to rear its ugly head. Hailstorms can drop when you least expect it, yes, but local weather reports can often give you a heads-up, so you have adequate time to prepare.
To remain up to date with weather reports, it’s helpful to set up alerts on your smartphone. This way, you’ll be notified immediately if a hailstorm is headed for your area. Plus, the quicker you get that notification, the quicker you can react and protect your vehicle.
Aside from checking the weather forecast, there are a couple of other points to keep in mind. For instance, hailstorms tend to be more frequent between May and September. In addition, hail often accompanies thunderstorms that appear during hot, humid weather. This means the hail can be something of a surprise if the forecasts only note the thunderstorms.
Park it in a garage
If you have the luxury of your own garage, guess what: you should make use of it to store your vehicle! Even with the potential threat of hailstorms, you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t heed the warnings and risk leaving their vehicle exposed. Then when the hail starts to fall, they attempt to take it from the street into the garage – but at this point, it’s too late, and the damage has already been done.
When you’re not fortunate enough to have a garage, there’s always the possibility of renting external covered parking. A carport, for example, is a useful solution for those who live in an apartment yet want to rent covered parking.
When a garage or carport isn’t a viable choice, there’s still a way of covering your car – in a very literal sense. There are specialist hail car covers available. These are usually padded material that is draped over your vehicle.
If using a hail car cover, you must keep your expectations in check. Sadly they’re not a miracle solution. If a hailstorm is particularly chaotic, there’s no guarantee the cover will keep your vehicle free from blemishes.
If you don’t own a hail car cover, but a storm is coming, this is when you need to become resourceful. Various household items can help to at least keep your windscreen protected from the hail. Heavy blankets or floor mats can be an ideal solution, assuming the wind isn’t too strong that it simply removes them from the equation. To keep this makeshift padding in place, use a rope or paint-safe tape.
Improvise when on the road
You are in a tough spot if you’re driving on the road, and a hailstorm suddenly decides to attack your car. However, a spot of quick-thinking can get you out of trouble and ensure the damage caused by the storm is kept to a minimum.
First of all, a calm approach is a necessity. You’ll only make unwise decisions that could lead you to storm-related trouble. With a clear mind, you have a better chance of finding covered shelter while driving around. This shelter can be everything from a garage, gas station, or even an interstate overpass. As long as the hailstorm isn’t touching your car, it’s a suitable spot to keep it protected.
If the vehicle is exposed to the hail, avoid taking any unnecessary risks. This means you should stay in your vehicle until the storm passes. Hail has the potential to cause serious bodily harm – don’t give it the chance to test this out on you.
If you’re too late, get it fixed ASAP
If your vehicle has already suffered the wrath of a hailstorm, this means you’re going to have to reverse the damage and get it fixed. When doing this, you don’t want to go to any standard garage. Instead, you should take the car to a specialist auto hail repair shop, one that has a strong reputation for quality work and service.
You want to get the work done as soon as possible. If you don’t attend to the damage, it’s only going to further degrade with time. Plus, if, say, the windscreen is damaged, you need to fix it, so it’s roadworthy.
Have the right insurance policy
Nobody wants to be hit with a large, unexpected bill. This is especially the case when you have to pay for damage to your car, even though the damage was caused by the weather.
To limit your financial risk, pick the right insurance policy. You want one that lists the hail damage as being covered by your insurance provider. To check your current insurance, have a quick look at the auto insurance policy to see if hail is accepted.
It’s true: insurance won’t protect your car from suffering dents and broken windows. What it does provide, however, is financial relief. You won’t be left on your own, paying for costly repairs.