Car get nailed by the hail storm? Here’s what you can do

Hail pelted cars in the South End on Clarendon Street.
Hail in the South End on Clarendon Street. –Hayley Kaufman / Boston Globe

You may have heard that the Boston area had a bit of a hail storm on Tuesday. If you were on the road at the time, you heard it literally, in the form of hundreds of ice balls pinging off your car.

But what if a ringing in your ears wasn’t the storms only lasting damage? What if all those hail stones left dozens of tiny dents on your hood, or even shattered your windshield, as happened to one unlucky Twitter user?

Boston.com talked to our Car Doctor, John Paul, also the public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, about what affected drivers should know.

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Insurance

Standard insurance policies, also known as collision insurance, won’t cover the body damage done by hail stones, because it didn’t happen during a car accident.

You’d need to have an additional “comprehensive insurance’’ plan in order to have your hail damage covered, and even then you’ll probably be paying a deductible for the repair, Paul said.

Paul said anyone who had their windshield cracked or shattered by hail might have better luck. “It would just be like a stone getting kicked up and hitting your windshield,’’ Paul said.

Check to see if your insurance policy include glass coverage. If it does, you’re covered and might not even have to pay a deductible.

Repairs

If we’re talking dozens of tiny dents all over the body panels of your car, you have a few paths forward, Paul said. The first is to just leave it alone.

See photos from Boston’s hail storm

“Is it really affecting how the car is going to perform? No,’’ Paul said. “It’s just an appearance issue.’’

Obviously, if you’re looking to resell your car at some point in the future, the fact that it’s covered in dents will cost you a bunch of money. But if you plan to keep the car until it’s ready for the junkyard, and aren’t worried about looking good on the road, then those little dents aren’t going to hurt you.

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If you decide to pay for repairs, the standard route is to take the car to your usual dealership or body shop. That will work, Paul said, but it might not be the cheapest option.

He suggested looking into somebody, like Dent Wizard, who specializes in “paintless dent removal,’’ a method that pops dented areas back into place, but can’t get rid of scratches or chips.

“People come out, they have specialized tools, and push the dents out from the inside,’’ Paul said. “As long as the paint isn’t cracked, that’s a workable solution.’’

Although there are kits at some hardware stores that will let you try this method at home, Paul cautioned against the DIY approach if you’ve got dozens of tiny dents.

Omg my poor car #hail

A video posted by Margo Romanowski (@margo_romo) on

“The hail dents tend to be a little harder. They have to be literally massaged from the inside to get the dent out,’’ Paul said. “The people who are good at this are really good. When they’re done you can’t see anything.’’

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