Preparing for severe weather: How to protect your car from thousands of dollars in hail damage
By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer
Severe storms bring a myriad of damaging impacts, and hail can be one of the costliest.
A hailstorm in San Antonio, Texas, in 2016 proved to be the costliest in the city’s history. More than $1 billion in damage was reported, the Insurance Council of Texas reported. Hail as large as baseballs pelted over a hundred thousand cars, racking up damage claims.
Cars out in the elements are one of the most susceptible pieces of property, and for some, their most valuable.
“Look at what people are paying for cars these days,” Darren Huggins, National Collision director said. “If they don’t own a home, it’s the single biggest investment they’ve made. And they want to protect it.”
Following severe storms that struck Texas and the southern Plains in mid-April, social media was littered with images of mattresses, blankets, bubble wrap and other makeshift materials fastened onto all kinds of vehicles with the intention to prevent any severe hail damage.
While the unique methods of protection may have been inventive, there’s no telling how effective a blanket can really be against a powerful storm, experts say.
The top surfaces of the car such as the hood and roof are the most vulnerable in terms of potential hail damage, Huggins said. Most modern cars use tempered glass for the windshield, and “it’s going to take pretty severe hail to penetrate that,” he said.
Damage to the body of a car can also be the most expensive to fix.
Sam Sarkisian, president of the Autobody Association, said repairs can run anywhere between $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the damage.
If hail hits the car but does not fracture the paint, the repair cost will be much lower, Huggins said. Technicians can work from under the panel to massage out the dent rather than needing to do any replacement work.
Taillights can also be a costly fix, he said.
State Farm spokesperson Dave Phillips said the average hail claim in 2015 ran just under $3,500. Texas had the highest number of hail claims in the U.S. with more than 23,000.
For those wanting to get creative, Huggins said anything that could cushion the blow from hail is worth trying.
"Try using a tarp, blankets, even a sleeping bag might do the trick," he said. "But it's most important to protect yourself first."
Huggins urged car owners not to go outside during severe storms. If already driving, seek a covered area to wait out the storm.
For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - April 25, 2019, 4:04:04 PM EDT
The record-setting flu season in the U.S. is finally over. Here’s how bad it has been.
5 years after the Flint lead crisis started, some residents still don't trust the quality of their tap water
It's been half a decade since residents of Flint, Michigan, began reporting illnesses, rashes and strange tastes from the brownish-looking liquid coming from their faucets after their city's water source switched.
Weather News - April 25, 2019, 1:30:25 PM EDT
A late-season windstorm will take aim at the southern British Isles later Friday into Saturday, threatening to cut power and disrupt travel for the final weekend in April.
Weather News - April 25, 2019, 4:13:50 PM EDT
April 25-28 marks the anniversary of one of the biggest, deadliest and most destructive severe weather and tornado outbreaks in the United States in recorded history.
Weather News - April 25, 2019, 12:23:30 PM EDT
Residents along India's eastern coast are being warned about potential impacts from a budding tropical cyclone next week, while no relief from the dangerous heat will come to the nation's northern and western regions.
Weather News - April 25, 2019, 4:06:04 PM EDT
"It's bad, real bad. We took a direct hit."
Weather News - April 25, 2019, 2:49:22 PM EDT
Kenneth, which has already turned deadly, is the first tropical cyclone with the equivalent of hurricane strength to strike Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado since modern record-keeping began.
Weather News - April 25, 2019, 2:29:47 PM EDT
Those tired of the seemingly endless weather pattern bringing frequent rounds of soaking rain to the Northeast since the summer of 2018 should expect no end to the onslaught in the near future.