How Do Car Dealerships Protect Cars From Hail?


How Do Car Dealerships Protect Cars from Hail?

The weather can be highly unpredictable at times, and it can be even harder to predict when hail will start falling from the sky. Hail can do severe damage to anything it falls on, with hailstones ranging from the size of tiny pebbles to baseballs or even bigger. Car dealerships, in particular, can be at extreme risk in these situations and may experience millions of dollars in damages from a single storm.

Discover the various inventory hail protection options available and how car dealerships reap the rewards from these forward-thinking investments.

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Why Should Car Dealerships Protect Inventory From Hail?

Car dealerships have multiple concerns regarding safeguarding their inventories, including theft, UV rays, harsh weather, and accidentsOne of the biggest and most unpredictable threats to car dealerships is hail. Most people looking for a new car most likely don't want a car with dozens of dents and dings in it, or they may be cautious about buying a previously hail-damaged car. To protect their business and provide the best service to customers, car dealerships must make hail protection a priority.

Below are a few reasons why protecting business inventory from hail is so essential.

Avoid Damage Costs

Protecting the cars within dealership lots from unpredictable and damaging hail will help businesses avoid unnecessary repair costs. While insurance may help cover most of these costs, car dealerships are still at risk of losing large sums of money during these disasters.

Some states are more at risk than others — Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, and South Dakota are five states that experience the largest number of hail events every year. However, hail events are becoming more common, with the total number of hail reports in recent years falling just above the United States yearly average. Most notably, the size of hail is increasing, with 15% of severe hail in 2023 being larger than 2 inches.

With the potential for increased hail storms and larger hailstones, car dealerships need to protect their inventory to lower damage costs now more than ever.

Lower Insurance Risk

With the increased risk of damage caused by hail storms and the rising cost of auto repairs, insurance for car dealerships can be harder to maintain. It is important for businesses to take matters into their own hands and protect their car inventory from hail. Thanks to adequate hail protection, car dealerships may be able to lower the cost of their insurance premiums, as they'll have less risk.

KeeP Profits Safe

Hail is an unforgiving natural phenomenon that affects car dealerships as much as everyone else. Most car dealerships have large quantities of expensive inventory on-site at all times, and hail can cause catastrophic losses for these businesses. In some cases, profits may already be slim for car dealers, and just a little bit of hail damage can slim them down further and compromise business longevity.

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Create Peace of Mind

Car Dealership Benefits

Worrying about and accounting for dealership hail damage can be a massive headache. Within any industry, it is always a great idea to eliminate potential problems in the future before they occur. Apart from avoiding unnecessary damage costs and keeping hard-earned profits safe, car dealerships that proactively safeguard their inventory from hail storms save time, money, and energy.

Even for regions with fewer hail storms per year, there are still a number of weather patterns that can cause inventory damage. No matter the location, businesses should consider taking preemptive measures to protect their inventory and lower stress when disaster strikes.

Stay Open and Operational

Besides causing costly damage to inventory, hail storms also cost businesses money by forcing them to close temporarily. After the damage occurs and the storm dies down, the business may not have any sellable inventory, and it will take some time to acquire enough to reopen the business again.

On top of finding new inventory, the car dealership will spend time assessing the damage and coordinating with insurance companies. This process is often lengthy. Coupled with cleaning up the premises after a severe storm, it could be weeks or months before they're ready to sell cars again. When car dealerships invest in inventory protection, they can get back up and running faster than those without.

What Do Car Dealerships Do When It Hails?

Car dealerships are acutely aware of the effects of the weather on their business inventory and operations. As such, most dealerships take preventative measures to prepare themselves for severe weather such as floods, hurricanes, and hailstorms. This includes checking weather forecasts frequently and creating emergency action plans with steps and instructions for what to do when a storm hits.

When it hails, a car dealership's main priority should be the protection of its staff. There is not much anyone can do to protect vehicles during a hail storm, as going outside can cause bodily injury. If the company has done nothing beforehand to cover its assets, it will have to wait for the storm to pass and assess the damage afterward. For dealerships with inventory protection, business can resume as normal with minimal damage and loss.

What Do Dealerships Do With Hail-Damaged Cars?

When hail appears without warning, unprepared car dealerships are left with damaged inventory. This happens all the time — in Michigan, an unexpected hailstorm damaged over 600 cars in local dealerships in 2023. For light hail storms, the damage may be small scratches, dents, or chips. However, larger hail can cause severe damage, such as broken glass, mirrors, and lights.

What Do Dealerships Do With Hail Damaged Cars

If the car dealership has adequate insurance that covers hail damage, there are three viable scenarios for hail-damaged cars:

  • Repair: For smaller damages, most car dealerships will repair the vehicles. When the cars have hail dents but the paint is still intact, they may employ a paintless dent removal specialist who can fix the dents. Some states require dealerships to disclose when hail damage has occurred, along with the details and cost of repairs.
  • Write-off: When a hail-damaged car is no longer roadworthy, or the cost of the repairs is high compared to the value of the car, the insurance company may write off the inventory. This means it will pay the car dealership the monetary value of the inventory and scrap the cars or leave them with the dealer.
  • Sale: If the dealership chooses not to repair the cars or they're written off and still functional, it may hold a "hail sale" and offer substantial discounts on the hail-damaged cars to interested consumers or businesses. This is beneficial for both the buyer and dealership, as the buyer saves money on their purchase, and the dealership recovers some of their losses.

How Do Dealerships Protect Cars From Hail? 

Car dealerships have a variety of options available to protect their inventory from hail.

1. Move Cars Inside

One way car dealerships can protect their cars from hail is to move them indoors or into a covered area. If there is not enough undercover parking or space inside buildings on the premises, dealership owners may opt to move their inventory to an external storage facility.

A potential issue with this method is that hail is unpredictable, and moving the dealership's entire inventory of cars can take a lot of time and money.

2. Use Protective Coverings

Protective car coverings are another way businesses can protect their cars from hail.

  • Hail jackets: A hail jacket is a thick fabric cover that surrounds the car, adding an extra layer of cushioning that prevents damage from smaller hail stones.
  • Inflatable car covers: These fill up with air to keep hail from reaching the car's surface.
  • Hail nets or tents: Nets and tent-like structures use fabrics and netting to deflect hail away from the cars.
  • Other: In a pinch, staff can cover cars with thick blankets or cardboard boxes.

The problem with most protective coverings is that they're made from weaker fabrics that can rip from larger hail pieces or fly away. It also takes time to add them to every car on the lot, so they're not an efficient method.

3. Install Hail Canopies

Hail Canopies

A solution that saves time, money, and energy while protecting profits from hail damage is a hail canopy. Car dealership hail canopies are a great source of protection that can provide much-needed peace of mind. With a hail canopy, there's no need to worry about when hail will occur and how to move every car indoors to avoid costly dents or dings.

Along with protection from hail, these canopies provide a ton of other benefits, such as keeping customers and workers comfortable in shaded areas, allowing customers to stay dry in the rain, keeping cars cooler, and helping to prevent damage from the heat and sun.

4. Upgrade to Solar Hail Protection

Solar hail protection systems are hail structures equipped with solar panels that make use of the sun's rays to produce electricity. Thanks to these innovative structures, car dealerships can protect their car inventory from hail, save money, and decrease their environmental footprint with one single investment.

Choose VPS for Effective Inventory Hail Protection

VPS is the leading manufacturer of commercial hail protection for the automotive industry worldwide.  We offer a wide range of hail protection structures, including cantilevers, covered walkways, and solar protection structures on a large scale.

We take pride in the quality of our products. Our structures feature a high-density polyethylene mesh fabric that can block up to 96% of the sun's harmful UV rays. Additionally, our steel comes from our state-of-the-art fabrication facility, which has received certification from the International Accreditation Service. Our materials and products meet or exceed the highest standards in the steel fabrication industry.

With our products and expert guidance, car dealerships can protect their assets from hail, other inclement weather, and harmful UV rays. Further, these structures are durable, maintenance-free, and attractive. We offer a variety of customization options, including color, branding, lighting, surveillance, and post pads.

VPS can provide assistance from design through to installation. Take a look at some of our successful client applications and contact us for a free quote today.

Effective Hail Protection