If you live in the American Heartland, you live with the threat of hail during the spring and summer. Quarter to softball sized hail damages 250,000 cars per year in the United States. Having a garage or covered parking is an easy way to protect yourself from a hailstorm. If you don’t have that or if you’re on the road when hail strikes, how can you protect yourself?
Comprehensive insurance could cover hail damage. Check with your agent. You’ll spend extra every month but if you keep deductible money in your pocket, you’ll have peace of mind. If you truly love your car and it’s not just a tool for transportation, no amount of insurance will ever bring your baby back to perfect condition. You’ll need to prevent damage to your custom hot rod, not just repair it.
Blankets and Duct Tape
If you’re truly caught off guard and unprepared, get every towel, blanket or sleeping bag you can and tape them down. Even your car’s floor mats will provide some protection. Pillows and winter coats will help too. You will certainly look like that crazy person running around in the storm taping a velvet Elvis tapestry over your windshield, but you could save your car from the worst of it.
Know where to find protection around you. Save the locations of parking structures, covered gas pumps, drive through windows and underpasses in your GPS or phone. If you’re in town when the storm hits, you’ll know where to hunker down. If you’re in an unfamiliar place, you can search for such places online. Heading to Tornado Alley in June? Do some homework and know where to hide.
Some enterprising and creative minds have been working to improve the blankets and duct tape method. Autotecnica sells a two layer cover with a soft underside and a durable compressed polyester outer shell. HailBlankets built a cover with four layers, each softer than the next, to cushion the impact of large hail. The Hail Protector is an inflatable airbag for the exterior of the car. It inflates in five minutes but offers partial protection in two. Fully inflated, it surrounds you car with a bubble able to shrug off softball sized hail.
Use your modern tools to stay ahead of the weather. Many apps exist to warn you of hail, tornados or other nasty meteorological happenings on the horizon. You don’t need to protect yourself from a storm you can avoid. Be prepared this season and you may avoid a chunk of ice the size of a goose egg piecing your sun roof.