What To Do When Your Car Is Damaged By Hail

Hailstorms can be sudden and devastating, especially to your vehicle. Understanding what steps to take after your car has suffered hail damage is helpful for a smooth insurance claims process with your car insurance company. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the car insurance claims process after your vehicle is damaged by hail.

Step 1: Document The Damage

As soon as it is safe to do so, take detailed photos of your vehicle highlighting the hail damage. This will be important when you file your insurance claim, as it provides a clear record of the extent of the damage.

Step 2: Contact Your Car Insurance Company

Hail damage is covered under the comprehensive coverage of your car insurance. If you have comprehensive coverage, start a claim with your insurance provider as soon as possible. Provide them with the details of the incident and the damage to your car. When this damage happened, where it happened, what time and what parts of your vehicle is damaged. Most insurers have a 24-hour hotline for such claims. You will likely be given a claim number and a name and contact phone number and email of your claims adjuster.

Step3: Understand Your Coverage

Review your auto insurance policy to understand what coverage you have for hail damage. You can find this coverage information on the declaration page of your car insurance policy. Be aware of your deductible amount, as this will influence your out-of-pocket costs. The most common deductible is $250, $500 or $1000. Your comprehensive coverage deductible is the amount that you will pay. The car insurance company will pay for the remaining damage to your vehicle.

Step 4: Work with the Adjuster

An adjuster will be assigned to your case to evaluate the damage to your car. They may visit in person or perform a virtual assessment using photos you’ve submitted. It’s important to be present during the evaluation so you can ensure all damage is noted. Feel free to ask questions about the process and how they determine repair costs.

Step 5: Choose a Reputable Body Shop

You will likely have the option to choose a body shop to handle the repairs. Some insurance companies may recommend certified shops, but you have the right to choose any body shop that you like. The one advantage to choosing a recommended shop is there is no dispute the the damage and costs of the repairs. This helps eliminate delays in your claim. Check reviews and ask for recommendations to find a reputable shop experienced in hail damage repair.

Step 6: Understand the Payment Process

Once the adjuster has assessed the damage and provided a repair estimate, your insurance company will issue payment. Usually, this payment is made directly to the body shop, but sometimes it might be issued to you. If your car is financed or leased, the check may include the lienholder’s name, requiring their endorsement.

Step 7: Factor in the Deductible

Your deductible is the amount you agreed to pay out-of-pocket towards the repair of your vehicle. This amount will be deducted from the total cost covered by your insurance. For example, if the total repair cost is $3,000 and your deductible is $500, your insurer will cover $2,500.

Step 8: Role of the Lienholder

If your vehicle is financed, the lienholder may have specific requirements for repairs to ensure the car remains in good value. They may also need to inspect the repairs before the insurance payment is finalized. Always keep your lienholder informed throughout the process.

Step 9: Finalizing the Claim

After repairs are made, inspect your vehicle to ensure everything has been restored to your satisfaction. If you approve of the work, your insurance will close the claim. If there are issues, contact your insurer and body shop immediately.


Dealing with hail damage can be stressful, but knowing the right steps to take can ease the process. Always maintain good communication with your insurance company, adjuster, and repair shop to ensure your vehicle is repaired to your satisfaction. Remember, protecting your vehicle before a storm by using covered parking can significantly reduce the risk of hail damage.

By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to handle the aftermath of hail damage and navigate the claims process with confidence.

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