What you should know about hail and extreme weather warnings
Hail in the summer often sparks lively conversation about our ‘crazy Alberta weather,’ but did you know that while the average hail storm lasts only about six minutes, the National Weather Service estimates that hail causes roughly $1 billion in damages each year? Damages can be severe for rooftops and siding of homes and businesses, but did you also know that your vehicle can be at risk as well? Hailstones can shatter windshields, side view mirrors and headlights and leave noticeable damage to the body of a vehicle. This article will help you understand the steps that you can take to prevent hail damage from happening to your vehicle, as well as basic information on what to do if your vehicle has been damaged by hail.
Before the hail storm:
· Learn to recognize weather conditions that can spark hailstorms.
· As a precaution, if weather forecasters are predicting a hailstorm, pull your vehicles, boats, and/or RVs into a garage, covered parking lot or under some other substantial covering.
· If your only choice is to leave your vehicle exposed to the elements, you may want to cover the hood, roof and trunk with thick blankets as protection against possible hail.
During a hail storm:
· Once hail has begun to fall, do not go out into the storm to protect your vehicle or other property. Even if hail pieces do not seem very large, you could easily be injured.
· If you are driving, find a safe place (like inside a garage, under an overpass, or a service station awning) and get there as soon as possible (while still adhering to the standard rules of the road).
· If you cannot find a sheltered area, be sure to carefully pull completely off to the side of the road. Be sure to keep your head and face away from windows. Do not leave the vehicle until after it stops hailing to avoid personal injury.
After the hail storm:
· Assess the damage. Check your car for dents and broken or cracked glass and headlights.
· If there is broken glass in your car, take action to prevent rain damage to the interior. Vacuum the broken glass up as soon as possible to prevent cuts to you or your passengers. If you are not at home and are unable to vacuum, drive to the nearest CARSTAR location if your vehicle is safe to drive. If it’s not safe to be driven, call 1-800-CARSTAR to have your vehicle towed to a CARSTAR store near you. Typically, the cost of the tow will be covered under an insurance claim.
If your vehicle has sustained hail damage:
· Your vehicle’s insurance policy will cover hail damage, if you have comprehensive coverage. Call your insurance agent or company immediately to report the damage and discuss how to proceed with repairs.
· Contact your nearest CARSTAR store to book an appointment to assess the damages to your vehicle. Try and ensure your vehicle is clean so it is easier to see all the dents.
· Talk to the experts at CARSTAR - hail damage to sheet metal may need to be hammered and painted. Or technicians may recommend paintless dent removal (PDR), which involves using specially-molded metal tools that will not disturb the factory finish.
· CARSTAR will be able to determine the severity of your damage, and will consult with you regarding which repair method makes the most sense for your vehicle.
· If many cars were damaged in your area, it may take a while to schedule the repair. If your vehicle does not have any broken windows or badly cracked paint, it may be better to wait out the initial rush.
· Make sure your vehicle is repaired to your satisfaction. CARSTAR offers a Lifetime Nationwide Warranty