how do dealerships protect cars from hail

How do dealerships protect cars from hail?

Hailstorms can strike with little warning, as the weather is notoriously difficult to predict. And that makes it difficult for dealerships to handle things properly.

From microscopic stones to baseballs or even bigger, hailstones can be of varying sizes, but they all can cause serious damage.

Car dealerships are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to millions in damages during such events.

So, what do car dealerships do when it hails?

From moving their vehicles inside to using canopies and parking their vehicles more systematically, car dealerships do a number of things to protect cars from hail

Importance of Protecting Inventory from Hail

importance of protecting inventory from hail

When it comes to the safety of their stock, car dealerships have plenty to worry about.

Hail storms, in particular, are something that needs to be taken seriously.

Prospective automobile buyers are not looking for a ride that has been battered and bruised to the point that it is unrecognizable.

Here are some reasons why it is important for car dealerships to protect their inventory from hail.

Fact: Hail can chip or dent a vehicle's paint and expose its metal, which becomes vulnerable to corrosion if left unrepaired. 

Avoiding Damage Costs

Car dealerships have to take steps to protect their cars to avoid damaging costs.  

Statistics show that buildings, vehicles, and crops sustain an annual loss of up to $10 billion due to hail.

It also makes insurance for car dealerships a lot more expensive. These days, a dealership might pay $600,000 or more.

Some insurance companies have even stopped offering dealerships hail coverage. Therefore, they have to be proactive and take precautions against hail damage. 

Keeping Profit Safe

keeping profit safe

Hail is merciless to vehicle lots and can severely damage the business’ bottom line.

The typical auto buyer estimates a dealer’s profit on a $30,000 vehicle to be 20%.

However, the National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2018 statistics suggest that the actual rate is closer to 2.2 percent.

It is clear that vehicle dealers’ profit margins are already razor thin; even minor hail damage might put their business at risk.

Fact: Hail can have a damaging effect on side windows, windshields, and back windows, often leading to expensive repairs. 

How Do Dealerships Protect Cars from Hail?

hail protection for dealership cars

Even while hailstorms do not last long, they can seriously damage cars left outside.

Because of the high value of their stock of new and old vehicles, automobile dealerships are a prime target.

Hailstones can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters.

But, regardless of their size, they can do significant damage to vehicles, resulting in expensive repairs and depreciation.

Here are a few ways dealerships manage hail better: 

Preparing for Hailstorms

Dealerships often protect their stock from the effects of hailstorms by taking preventative steps.

Some examples of such preparations are: 

Checking the Forecasts Regularly

checking the forecasts regularly

Dealerships can prepare in advance for the effects of a hailstorm by keeping an eye on local weather forecasts.   

Making a Strategy

Ensuring all employees are aware of their obligations and tasks during hailstorms requires a thorough plan.

Vehicle relocation, outdoor space lockdown, and customer notification are all options in this scenario. 

Ways Car Dealerships Use to Prevent Hail Damage

preventing hail damage at car dealerships

Being proactive is always advantageous when it comes to protecting cars during a hailstorm.

Here are some ways car dealerships often use to prevent hail damage: 

They Move Vehicles Indoors

Moving vehicles into covered areas like showrooms, garages, or service bays is the best option for many car dealerships to prevent hail damage.

The lack of exposure to the outdoors inside these buildings helps keep the cars in perfect condition.

However, this method depends on the dealership’s size and the amount of accessible indoor space.

In the event of an unexpected hailstorm, it may be difficult for large dealerships with substantial inventories to quickly bring all automobiles inside due to a lack of available space.

they move vehicles indoors

When deciding which vehicles to bring indoors during a hailstorm, car lots must weigh several criteria, including:

  • The vehicles’ value
  • The chance of an immediate sale
  • The sensitivity of specific models to hail damage 
An Important Consideration

Bringing cars indoors is usually the best choice, but not every dealership has the space or resources to bring their vehicles indoors during a hailstorm.

Therefore, they must come up with other techniques to protect their inventory.

They Use Protective Coverings

The use of protective coverings is an additional method for auto dealerships to prevent hail damage to their inventory.

Hail car covers are constructed from sturdy and cushioned materials to withstand the force of hailstones, protecting vehicles from dings and other damage.

they use protective coverings

These shields may not prevent all damage, but they can considerably lessen its impact if something happens.

Canopies and other temporary shelters are used by certain car lots to shield their autos from the elements.

Strong materials mean more cars can be covered under these umbrellas at once.

If the hailstorm is accompanied by high winds, the protection afforded by a group cover may not be as effective as that of an individual cover. 

An Important Consideration

Dealerships who want to protect their stock against hailstorms in the most cost-effective and practical way possible may find that a mix of protective covers and canopies is the best option. 

They Park Strategically

they park strategically

Vehicle dealerships can reduce the risk of hail damage by parking their vehicles in a protected area.

In the event of a hailstorm with accompanying high winds, parking cars in close proximity to one another or against structures can protect them from the hail’s direct impact.

Car lots can reduce the amount of hail damage their inventory sustains if they cover more of their vehicles.

Although this approach has the potential to reduce damage, it is not a substitute for other preventative measures.

Dealerships must also meticulously arrange their lot layout and keep sufficient space between vehicles to prevent any collisions or damage from occurring as a result of repositioning. 

They use Moving Blankets

they use moving blankets

You know, those heavy polyester blankets you use to protect your furniture from scratches and scrapes when you move?

Some people have discovered that they are effective against hail as well.

It is possible for car dealerships to use many blankets to cover their cars during a hailstorm.

It is important to add some weight to the sheets to ensure that they won’t blow off due to strong winds.

The typical price of a moving blanket is between $35 and $45 with the thinner, lower-quality options costing approximately $10 to $15.

The likes of Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as other hardware retailers, sell them. You can also buy them from online stores. 

They Use Cardboard Boxes

Sometimes, using blankets is not enough to protect against hail, and that is when dealerships can combine these sheets with cardboard boxes.

You can use whatever cardboard boxes you have available.

Put them flat, either double-folded or single-folded, to cover more space, and weigh down the cardboard slats with heavy objects.

The sturdy boxes will absorb any moisture and should stay together even if they get wet.

Combining boxes with blankets is often a better thing to do.

What Should Car Dealerships Do While Recovering After a Hailstorm?

recovery steps for car dealerships after hailstorm

Car lots need to figure out what to do with damaged vehicles after a hailstorm.

Here is what they usually do: 

Estimate the Damage

For starters, they should evaluate every vehicle for hail damage and make notes of it. 

They will need this evidence for submitting insurance claims and estimating repair costs. 

In order to provide reliable assessments, dealerships may choose to contract with independent hail damage assessors. 

File Insurance Claims

file insurance claims

Immediately following the documentation of damage, dealerships should submit insurance claims.

During this phase, they work with their insurance provider to submit the required paperwork, images, and evaluations.

Fact: In order to get the dealership to start repairs as quickly as possible, it is important to file claims as soon as possible. 

Prioritize Vehicles

Dealerships need a plan to prioritize repairs based on the severity of the damage and how it can affect vehicle sales. 

Prioritizing high-priced or severely damaged vehicles might help sell them quickly and at a good price. 

Communicate with Customers

communicate with customers

During the rebuilding phase, dealerships should keep lines of communication open with customers.

Some examples of this are giving consumers information on the status of their repairs, providing them with alternate vehicle purchasing options, and answering any questions they may have.

Fact: Vehicles sustaining hail damage lose their resale value quite considerably, which is why dealerships are extremely careful about taking safety measures. 


How do dealerships protect cars from hail? Hail can cause serious damage to vehicles, which is why dealerships have to be careful when severe weather is predicted.

Dealerships can use various options from taking cars indoors to using specific parking strategies and utilizing canopies, blankets, or even cardboard boxes.