Pretty much every car owner dreads hail. Depending on the size of the hailstones and the force of the winds, hail can cause serious damage to your vehicle whether you’re driving or parked. In some instances, cars can be declared total losses due to hail after a volatile hailstorm. Hail can cause cosmetic damage to the hood, roof and sides of your vehicle but it can also break your windshield or windows.
So what happens if your car is declared a total loss by your car insurance company? You have a few options which we’ll discuss in this article.
Repairing Your Hail Damaged Vehicle
Hail damage mostly causes cosmetic issues and doesn’t cause mechanical problems. You may decide the vehicle is worth fixing even if your insurance company labels it a total loss.
A total loss is when the cost of repairing the vehicle would be more than the vehicle is worth or insured for.
The first step is to speak to a body repair specialist and get several quotes about the expense to have it repaired. If this seems feasible and affordable to you, you can opt to proceed with getting this work done.
The insurance company will likely give you a cash settlement for your vehicle based on your loss settlement (replacement cost or actual cash value). They would likely not handle the repairs.
You may also opt to not repair the hail damage, which is also fine.
Regardless, if you keep the vehicle, you will need to fill out paperwork with your insurer.
Getting a Salvage Title for a Hail Damaged Car
Because the car was declared a total loss you are consequently looking at having to get a salvage title for the car. This simply means that your car will now be branded as having been declared a total loss by your insurer for one reason or another—in this case of course hail damage. While the car is still drivable and you are having the damage repaired, the title will pose some issues for you especially if you go to resell the vehicle down the road.
Finding Car Insurance with a Salvage Title
This can be the tricky part. Generally, insurance companies do not necessarily like to insure vehicles with salvage titles. It can be particularly difficult to get collision and comprehensive coverage for cars that fall into this category. You may only be eligible for third party liability coverage.
It will also depend if you had the hail damage repaired or if you’ve left it. If you’ve left it, you will at the very least be ineligible for hail damage coverage.
The best thing to do is to discuss your plans with a broker. They’ll be able to advise on your insurance prospects for a hail damaged salvage vehicle.
Accepting the Total Loss
If you accept the vehicle is a total loss, your insurance company will settle with you based on the terms of your insurance contract. If you have replacement cost coverage, you’ll receive what you paid for the vehicle or enough to replace it as new, depending on the exact agreement. If you have actual cash value coverage, you’ll receive the market price of your vehicle (purchase cost minus depreciation). In many cases, this is a cash settlement and you’re free to purchase whichever vehicle you’d like afterwards.
If you have any questions about your claim, talk to your broker. They’re there to help you through the process.