can penny size hail damage a car

Can penny size hail damage a car? You may think hail won’t damage your car, but it is a different story in the case of a hailstorm.

And that is especially true when you witness penny-size hail. Because of its larger size, it has the potential to damage your vehicle.

But, what size hail will damage a car? And what sort of harm can it do? Let’s find out now!

Yes, it damages your car, but the extent of damage also depends on the intensity of the hailstorm as well as its duration. 

Hailstones and Damage to Your Vehicle

hailstones and damage to your vehicle

The potential of hail to damage your vehicle in any way depends heavily on its size. Of course, the density, as well as the velocity of hailstones, matter as well.

Moreover, hailstones may become more damaging depending on the angle of impact and where they hit your vehicle.

Nonetheless, the size of hailstones remains the most important factor to consider.

For instance: 

The Density of Hailstones

The destructive power of hailstones goes up with an increase in their density. While denser hailstones have the same volume, they pack more mass.

That is the reason why they hit more forcefully and likely to increase the extent of the damage. 

The Speed of Hailstones

the speed of hailstones

The faster the hailstones fall, the higher the chances of sustaining damage to your car.

With an increase in velocity, there is an increase in kinetic energy these hailstones possess. It means that they are going to hit harder as they come into contact with your vehicle. 

The Angle of Contact

A change in the angle of hailstones striking your vehicle will also determine how much damage it proves to your car.

In most cases, your car will sustain more damage as a result of direct hits, as compared to hailstones striking at a glancing angle. 

The Condition of Your Car

the condition of your car

The extent of damage hailstones are going to cause will also depend on the condition of your car and its exterior.

If your car has a thin sheet metal, which is quite likely in older or small models, expect more damage to your car.

Similarly, if it has parts made from plastic, such as trim or bumpers, it becomes more susceptible to damage.

Fact: Certain materials on your car come with a lower tensile strength and are in no position to withstand a hailstorm, especially when hailstones hit at a specific angle. 

Can Penny Size Hail Damage a Car?

penny-sized hail damage to a car

Yes, it is quite likely for penny-size hail to damage your car. Penny-sized hail is about ¾ inch in diameter.

And though it seems small, it still has the potential to cause significant damage to your car. By being exposed to penny-sized hail, you may notice your car developing minor dents.

But, it can be quite damaging to lighter components, such as those made from plastic.

Similarly, depending on the impact, windshields and windows are also at an increased risk of shattering or cracking.

Here is a bit about the size of hailstones:

SoftballOver 4 inches
GrapefruitNearly 4 inches
Tea cup3 inches
Baseball2 ¾ inches
Tennis ball2 ½ inches
Golf ball1 ¾ inches
Quarter1 inch
Penny¾ inch
Pea¼ inch

What Size Hail Will Damage Your Car?

what size hail will damage your car

Hailstorms have the ability to generate hailstones that vary in size, ranging from small pellets resembling peas to larger chunks of ice comparable to baseballs.

Even tiny hail can result in cosmetic harm to your automobile.

However, bigger hailstones have the potential to shatter windows, create dents on the bodywork, and even render your vehicle completely unusable. 

The Size of Hail Causing Damage

In general, when hail grows to approximately 1 inch in diameter, it has the potential to inflict more substantial harm beyond mere minor dents and scratches on the surface.

Hailstones of this magnitude possess sufficient mass and momentum to create dents in metal surfaces and cause the glass to fracture.

Fact: A car is struck by 1-inch hail, which possesses the same impact as a baseball hurled by a skilled pitcher. 

Different Sized Hailstones and the Damage They Cause

hailstone sizes and their damage

As mentioned already, hailstones can be of different sizes and they all have the potential to cause some harm.

Here is more about it: 

Pea-Sized (1/4 Inch)

Smaller-sized hail, like those the size of peas or even smaller, typically lacks the required mass and speed to inflict significant harm to vehicles.

The smaller hailstones typically rebound or simply bombard the surface of the vehicle, causing minimal, if any, cosmetic imperfections. 

Marble Sized (1/2 inch)
marble sized (1/2 inch)

Hailstones that are about the size of a dime or nickel have the potential to cause slight cosmetic harm to vehicles.

They have a heightened weight and capacity for greater speed. It is true when propelled by powerful gusts.

They have the ability to cause minor dings or scrapes, particularly on more fragile regions like the bonnet, top, or rear compartment. 

Nickel to Quarter Sized (7/8 to 1 inch)

These bigger hailstones, approximately the dimensions of, let us say, nickels and quarters, have the potential to cause significant damage.

As soon as these hefty ice spheres begin descending from above, your vehicle might be in for an exhilarating ride.

nickel to quarter sized

First on the list of casualties: the car’s exterior.

Due to their enlarged dimensions and added mass, these hailstones have the potential to create noticeable dents and dings.

No type of glass, whether it is windshields, windows, or rear glass, can escape the wrath of larger hailstones. 

Golf Ball Sized (1 ¾ inches) and Larger

Hailstones of such dimensions, like hail the size of golf balls or bigger, have the potential to cause significant damage to vehicles.

The consequences may result in significant harm, such as extensive dents and scratches on the vehicle’s exterior.

golf ball sized

The powerful collision may also lead to damaged or fragmented windows, exposing the vehicle to the elements.

Additionally, external components such as side mirrors or antennas could potentially sustain damage or be completely ripped off as a result of the intense impact caused by the hail. 

What Sort of Damage can Penny Size Hail Stones Cause to a Vehicle?

penny hail damage to a vehicle

Hailstorms have the potential to cause significant damage, especially to vehicles that are exposed and vulnerable during these occurrences.

The extent of the damage can vary, ranging from minor to significant.

Though penny-sized hailstones may not be as damaging as larger ones, they can still hurt your car. 

Body Damage

Hail typically results in cosmetic damage to vehicles, which is immediately noticeable and apparent.

The impact of descending hailstones often results in multiple indentations and depressions on the car’s exterior.

body damage

Hailstones have the ability to damage various parts of a vehicle, including the:

  • Hood
  • Roof
  • Trunk
  • Sides

Following a hailstorm, a car might resemble a vehicle that has just been through a golfing session at a driving range. 

An Important Consideration

When penny-sized hailstones fall rapidly, they have the potential to cause scratches or chips, especially when they make contact at a specific angle.

Although it may go unnoticed, a couple of minuscule scratches can easily be dispersed across your windshield by a hailstorm, resembling confetti carelessly tossed about

Fact: The extent of the bodily harm is primarily influenced by the size of the hailstones, as smaller ones, like peas or marbles, can result in minor dents or leave the vehicle undamaged. 

Glass Damage

glass damage

When it comes to glass and hailstones, it is quite a complex situation.

Hail the size of a penny, although appearing harmless, can still deliver a powerful blow. The outcome depends on speed, trajectory, and, regrettably, chance.

In general, hailstones the size of pennies are not widely known for completely shattering windshields or windows.

After all, they are not the champions in the heavyweight division.

In many cases, your glass will endure the freezing attack, although perhaps not without some damage. 

Paint Damage

paint damage

One of the most common signs of hail damage to a car’s paintwork is a multitude of small, shallow dents. They might be tiny, but boy, can they be noticeable!

A myriad of these dimples on your car’s otherwise sleek exterior is like a sudden rash of blemishes on a clear complexion – definitely not what you want.

But wait, there’s more.

In some cases, those pesky penny-sized hailstones can chip the paint right off your vehicle.

Imagine a picture-perfect cake with tiny bits of frosting scraped off. That’s what your car might look like post-storm. Not exactly a sight for sore eyes! 

An Important Consideration

development of rust spots

Moreover, if you’re particularly unlucky or the storm is especially ruthless, these chips could expose the underlying metal.

Over time, this could lead to the development of rust spots. Now, that’s a can of worms you really don’t want to open.

Fact: It is important to document hail damage properly to be able to claim insurance for the repair. 


Can penny size hail damage a car? Penny-sized hail is about ¾ inch, and it is usually large enough to cause some damage to your car.

However, the extent of the damage varies based on the velocity as well as the angle of the hailstones.

Be sure to check your vehicle thoroughly after a hailstorm for insurance purposes.