Innovations in Hail Damage Prevention

My wife and I have a garage, but for reasons beyond our control, we have had no choice but to park our car outdoors over the last several weeks. Thankfully – at least as far as our car is concerned – over that time, it has barely even rained, let alone hailed. But every time the sky even starts looking wicked, we get to thinking it’s time to take some extra precaution on our car sitting out there in the elements.

Though there are car covers specifically meant to help prevent such damage – and you can get a decent one for under $150, and probably under $100 – there are a number of innovative ways you can protect your car from hail damage even if you haven’t invested in one.

Blankets, pillows, mattress toppers or folded towels – They’ll get a good soaking but they are a great cushiony buffer against hailstones. You’ll want to cover as much of your auto body and definitely the glass as possible.

Floor mats – This one is a great idea, because they are right there in your car. Just pop them out and drape them over your wind shield. They are thick enough to provide a solid barrier without much risk of damaging your car themselves.

Cardboard – Depending on the amount of rain that comes down, this option isn’t the best, as soon enough a good soaking will compromise the structural integrity of cardboard. Even so, it will, for a while anyway, provide some measure of defense against direct impact.

Potting soil bags – Placed carefully on your sunroof, windshield, rear window etc., potting soil bags are thick, and sturdy and will almost certainly not be moved by the wind. The only thing you have to worry about is that they aren’t so heavy that they damage your car.

And speaking of things blowing away, it is highly recommended that you do not secure any of these creative protective materials to your car with stones. Depending on the wind, even stones could go flying and cause unforeseen damage to your car, or someone else’s property. Best leave them on the ground where Nature intended them.

To secure any and all of these anti-hail devices, use bungee cords, string or rope if you really want to be sure “that baby ain’t going anywhere” or just top it off with objects heavier than stones, so long as they haven’t got any jagged edges. This will minimize the damage should the object find itself airborne.

If none of these options are available, park under a tree or overhang of a structure. Of course in parking underneath a tree during a storm you always run the risk of other damage due to wind or lightning. So you have to weigh the risk depending on the ferocity of the storm you expect. If there is a structure nearby with a larger than average roof overhang, try to at least get your windshield in a protected position. If some of these sound like quite elaborate operations, maybe they are, but when you compare it to the potential damage of a raging hailstorm, I think you’ll agree it is worth the trouble.

And don’t forget to fold your side mirrors in. You can always re-set them to that perfect position later. But leaving them out in a hailstorm is like going out in 100-degree heat without sunscreen on your ears. There are going to be issues later on.

Prevention, as in so many other situations, is the best option, but should all else fail, be sure you have a good comprehensive insurance coverage, the best way to protect your vehicle against non-driving damage when your car is just parked in the driveway minding its own business. Some sunny day in the near future, go through your closets and find the materials listed to have ready for a not-so-sunny day. But first, give Horihan Insurance a call to go over your vehicle’s current comprehensive coverage and/or the options available for it.

SIDE NOTE if you are considering selling your car: Hail damage reduces the appraisal value of your car by not just the cost of repair, but a little more, simply because aesthetically it would be less appealing to a potential buyer. That along with the knowledge that they’ve got the actual repairs to deal with.

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