Adding “Hail Coverage” to Your Auto Insurance Policy
Technically, it’s not called “hail coverage”, or even “hail damage coverage”. On your auto policy (and every other auto insurance policy in the country, for that matter) it’s referred to as Comprehensive coverage. This simplified name cleverly hides the fact that it helps protect you from a plethora of different types of damage (hail included, of course). But it may not always be in your best interest to file a claim. Below, we’ll explain the pros and cons of taking advantage of your comprehensive coverage in order to repair your hail damage. So if you want to learn more, just go ahead and keep reading.
Comprehensive Coverage and Hail Damage
Comprehensive coverage protects you from financial hardship in the event that damage happens to your car which was not caused by you, another at-fault driver, a stationary object, or another vehicle. It is most often used to protect against theft, fire, hitting an animal in the road and, of course, hail. Any of these disasters could potentially leave you not just without a vehicle, but without the funds to replace it if you choose not to purchase this optional (but essential) form of coverage.
If you believe you have enough hail damage on your car to file a claim, you’re going to have to take certain steps to make sure your insurance company doesn’t reject you. For starters, make sure you:
- Get as many photos of the damage as possible
- Try to keep your vehicle in a covered area until your claims adjuster can give you an evaluation (in case another hail storm comes along and does more damage)
- Get estimates from local body shops (in writing) and submit them with your claim
- Be proactive with your claims adjuster – stay on top of deadlines, ask questions early and often; don’t wait for them to call you
Following the steps above, as well as any other directions from your insurance company, should help you have a relatively quick and painless claims process. But even if everything goes smoothly, your hail damage gets repaired, and it comes at little upfront cost to you, don’t automatically assume that it’s an open-and-shut case. There may be financial repercussions attached to your claim in the future.
When Filing a Claim Does More Harm Than Good
And by harm, we mean financial harm. Several different factors will come into play, including your deductible amount, the total cost of repairs, and how much you’re willing to pay in the future when your insurance company raises your rates for filing your claim.
First, take a minute to evaluate the repair cost quotes you received and figure out whether they are more or less expensive than your deductible. Obviously, if your deductible is more, then it’s a no brainer: don’t bother filing a claim. If you can get it fixed for cheaper on your own, and avoid having your rates raised in the process (which usually happens when you file a claim), then it’s a win-win for you, minus the unexpected repair costs, of course.
But what if your repair costs are more than your deductible? Well, you should then consider how much more expensive your repair costs are before you file your claim. After all, Newton’s Third Law of Insurance clearly states: “for every claim paid out, there is an equal and opposite increase in your monthly premiums”. Now, we’re not exactly sure how a 17th century English physicist from 300 years in the past knew so much about today’s American auto insurance industry, but that rule is as true as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.
All joking aside, when your premiums go up as a result of filing your claim, you will be paying for it in the long run – literally. In the graph below, you can see the difference in monthly premiums you can expect to pay after filing a claim for hail damage against your Comprehensive coverage:
Over the course of the next 5 years, those drivers could end up paying up to $1,200 or more in increased premiums. And if their total repair costs were equal to or less than that (plus their deductible), then it may have been a better idea to have avoided filing that claim.
If you’ve filed one too many hail damage claims (or any other claims, for that matter), then it may be time to shop around for a new insurance company. Even though you have a history of filing claims, being a new customer might make you eligible for discounts! Check our quote generator tool for more information.