What you need to know to keep your car protected and looking it’s best.
During the past twelve months, 272 severe weather warnings were issued across the Pennsylvania. Hail falls on the commonwealth relatively rarely, but when it does the damages can be severe. This past summer, over 2 million Pennsylvanians experienced unexpected hail when storms hammered the Lehigh Valley resulting in damaged roofs, broken patio furniture, and many, many automobile dents.
Hail quarter-sized or smaller is typically limited to cosmetic automobile damage such as dings, dents and broken windows. Even though the damage might be superficial, the repairs can be complex. According to Car and Driver Magazine, the average hail damage repair costs $3,000. Larger hail can fall to the ground at excess of 100mph, easy totaling any vehicle.
Can I make a hail damage claim with my auto insurance?
YES, but, it depends on what kind of auto insurance policy you have.
In Pennsylvania, all drivers are legally required to purchase collision liability coverage, which is the bare minimum auto insurance. This type of plan only funds repair damage to your car as the result of an accident. Collision liability coverage plans are typically less expensive; however, they offer significantly less coverage compared to comprehensive insurance. If your car is damaged by hail and you do not have comprehensive coverage, you will have to pay for all repairs in full.
If you want to protect your vehicle from hail damage and other Acts of God (such as fire, storm or other natural disaster,) you’ll need to purchase comprehensive auto insurance. Comprehensive coverage is optional, so it is more expensive. But comprehensive coverage protects you from many more types of incidents. While comprehensive plans will likely cover the cost of hail damage, in some cases if the damage is minor, it is better not to file an insurance claim.
Is it worth it to make a hail damage claim?
Sometimes; It depends on your insurance. The amount of your deductible, cost of repairs, the value of your car should all be determined and considered before filing a claim.
If a vehicle on your comprehensive insurance plan has sustained only minor hail damages, you might be better off not filing a claim. The more claims you file with your insurance company, the higher your rates are.
Comprehensive deductibles can range from $100 to $2,500, depending on the terms of your policy and the amount of your premium. You are financially responsible for paying the amount of your deductible for any repair, and your insurance covers the remaining costs. Generally, unless your car is worth less than double your deductible, it is worth it to file a hail damage claim with your insurance.
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Will my insurance rates go up if I file a claim for hail damage?
In most instances, hail damage won’t directly raise your rates. Insurance premiums go up when a policy holder is found responsible for the damages. If you get into an accident that is your fault, rates will go up, but hail storms are considered an Act of God, and are covered most all comprehensive insurance plans.
Your rates can also go up if you file claims frequently. It’s a good idea to first get an estimate for auto repairs before deciding whether to file a claim with your insurance company. If the repair is less than or equal to your deductible, you are better off not filing a claim. Especially in cases of minimal hail damage, car owners will save money in the long run by paying out of pocket for minor repairs.
How to make an auto insurance claim in Pennsylvania
The first step is contacting your insurance company to begin the claim process. Once you contact your policy holder, they will send someone out to inspect the damage to your vehicle. It is always a recommended to document the damages yourself as soon as you notice anything on your vehicle.
In cases of extreme hail, it is not safe to drive your car if any of the windows are broken or cracked. Some comprehensive plans offer roadside assistance, towing and a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired.
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How long do I have to file a car insurance claim?
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a car insurance claim is two years, however, there are some exceptions where claims must be filed within 6 months. Most insurance policies require all claims to be filed within a prompt and timely manner, to allow the insurance company enough time to investigate your claim.
Regardless of how your vehicle was damaged, never delay in making a claim with insurance. When insurance companies pay out a claim, they lose money, so your insurance company has an incentive to deny any claim they get. Delaying even a few weeks can give your insurance company the reason they need to question and deny your claim.
It is easy to put off repairs that are superficial and do not adversely impact the performance of your car, however, even if you have lots of documentation and evidence, delaying the filing process increases the risk of your claim being denied.
Badell’s Collision: Commitment of Excellence
Badell’s Collision is a local, family-owned body shop serving Eastern Pennsylvania since 2003. We are proven auto body experts who specialize in hail damage repair. We pride ourselves on our great customer service and high satisfaction. We save our customers time and headaches by getting the job done right the first time, and keeping you up to date with our progress, every step of the way. Request a quote online or stop by one of our locations in Aston or Malvern today!