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Protecting Your Car During Denver’s Hail Season

Denver residents are all too familiar with the North American Monsoon, which brings afternoon thunderstorms — and often hail — from mid- to late-summer, according to the Desert Research Institute (DRI).

Colorado’s Front Range is in the heart of “Hail Alley,” which receives the highest amount of large hail in the world, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA).

Denver residents usually experience three or four catastrophic ($25 million-plus in damage) hailstorms each year, the RMIIA says, adding that Colorado’s 10 most costly hailstorms were centered in the Denver metro area.

Protect Your Vehicles

It’s not just your house that’s at risk. Here’s what RMIIA and other organizations say you should do to protect your vehicles.

  • If hailstorms are forecast, pull your cars, boats, RVs and other vehicles into a garage, covered parking lot or other protected area, recommends the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).
  • If no protected area is available, cover vehicles with thick blankets — pay particular attention to the hood, roof and trunk, as they’re often the most susceptible to damage.
  • If you’re on the road, Colorado’s E40 Express Toll website suggests seeking cover under an overpass, at a gas station or at some other covered location.
  • If you can’t find cover, pull off the road and bring your car to a complete stop (E-470 Public Highway Authority recommends angling your vehicle so that hail hits the reinforced windshield rather than the less durable side windows and backglass). You also don’t want to drive during a hailstorm, especially since there’s less of a chance of incurring damage when your car isn’t in motion. IBHS reminds motorists to avoid parking under trees, as they could fall onto vehicles, and E-470 recommends that you keep your face and head away from car windows and cover yourself with a blanket if one is handy to protect against any falling debris.

Once the storm has passed, IBHS says that you’ll need to check your vehicle carefully for dents, broken glass and damaged headlights. You should also:

  • Double check your auto insurance policy. As the World Hail Network observes, if you have comprehensive coverage, hail damage is typically included. 
  • If any windows are broken, cover them to prevent rain damage to the vehicle’s interior, recommends IBHS.
  • If you file an insurance claim, The National Alliance of Paintless Dent Repair Technicians (NAPDRT) notes that you can expect to discuss the preferred repair option with your insurance adjuster. There are two available repair methods: repair/paint and paintless dent removal.
  • Then it’s time to choose your repair shop. Although your insurance provider may make recommendations, NAPDRT emphasizes that you can take your vehicle to the repair company of your choice.
  • The Federal Trade Commission suggests that you get a written warranty or service contract for your repairs, but understand that there is no “standard warranty” on repairs. Check with your state attorney general or local consumer protection agency for more information on warranty right, the FTC says.
  • After the repairs are complete, check your vehicle from top to bottom and make sure that all the dents are gone. If there are any flaws after the work is complete, consult your warranty — typically the shop should fix them at no additional cost.