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Depending on your location, you may already be a pro at handling golf-ball-sized ice nuggets falling from the sky — but if you’ve never experienced a major hail storm, you could be in for a surprise when one hits.

When it comes to protecting your vehicle, your first instinct will likely be to find some kind of shelter as quickly as possible. If you don’t have your own garage (or if you’re away from home when a storm hits), here a few other ways you can protect your car from the dings, dents, and other damage that can be caused by hail:

  1. Buy a carport. If you live in an area that is particularly prone to hail storms but you don’t have a garage, consider purchasing a foldup or collapsible carport to keep your ride safe through the season. For added protection, look for one that has covered sides and zips or snaps closed.
  2. Or go for a fitted car cover. Vehicle manufacturers often make protective covers designed to shield their vehicles from the elements. If you can’t purchase one from your car’s dealership or manufacturer, consider shopping for a generic or custom-made version. Some companies make car covers specifically constructed to prevent hail damage.
  3. Find a protected parking garage. If a storm is coming in and you can’t safely make it home to your garage, carport, or car cover, consider heading to your nearest mall or other location with a covered or underground parking garage. Park your car away from any open walls and wait until the hail stops. Remember to drive carefully, especially during a storm.
  4. Cover your vehicle with whatever you have on hand. In a pinch, thick blankets and comforters could be just enough to protect your parked vehicle from serious hail damage. Consider using duct tape or ropes to secure your car’s makeshift jacket until the storm has passed and you’re ready to hit the road again.
  5. Figure out which way the wind is blowing, then use the nearest building as a shield. If the wind is strong and the hail pellets are blowing heavily in one direction, figure out which side of the building is getting hit the hardest, then park on the opposite side of the building, as close to the wall as possible. 
  6. Last but not least…stay alert. Preparation is key when it comes to protecting your car from hail damage. Keep an eye on the weather forecast (especially during hail season) or set up automatic alerts on your phone so you have time to prepare when a storm is headed your way.

Does car insurance cover hail damage?

Sometimes a hail storm hits faster than you can get your vehicle to shelter, no matter how prepared you may be — and it can really do a number on your car. The good news is, comprehensive and all perils car insurance policies usually includes coverage for damage caused by hail (plus other non-collision incidents like theft, fire, and vandalism). If you only have collision coverageopens a pop-up with definition of collision coverage, then hail damage won’t be covered. Review your car insurance policy or talk to your licensed broker to make sure you have the right coverage to protect you if your vehicle is ever damaged by hail.