When I was interviewing Heather Mack from the Insurance Bureau of Canada earlier this week she said something I had never heard before.
She says that they get really bad hail elsewhere in the world, notably in Texas and in Australia- and that they have hail blankets that protect cars for sale.
"There's an insurance company in Australia and what they do is they send out a text message to all their customers when a hail storm is tracking for them and they say cover your car... I've looked around in Alberta... but there is no demand for it right now."
Hail Blankets? No demand?
I did some research.
There are several vehicle protectors on the international market...
This Australian company boasts:
"Stormcovers are the toughest most durable RV and Vehicle protection covers in the world.
Protect your Caravan, Motorhome, Car or 4x4 from all weather elements including Hail, Rain and the intense UV conditions in Australia.
Each Stormcover is Individually made to order to suit your Caravan, Car or Motorhome."
These are essentially like a bbq cover- except with 4 mm foam.
"We use a 4mm foam padding for the inner layer of all stormcover's, we cannot use a foam any thicker than this because the stormcover would then be unmanageable, we offer the best level of protection that we can within the limits of being practical. A Stormcover will take up between 30-50% of your car boot space."
They are custom made and range between 400$ to 700$ Australian for a car.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, that is if it works and you have enough warning to get out there and lay it out without needing a helmet.
The webpage says they have exported to the UK and the US before, but no mention of Canada.
This company is based out of Texas. Their product operates on the same premise as an inflatable bouncy castle.
A tarp like shield is wrapped around the car, snapped together, and inflated. It is pretty goofy looking- like a gigantic airbag, but it supposedly works.
Of course the downside is that it would be pretty hard to install in fast winds and if the hail and rain had already started.
But unique to this company they have a hail alert system (for american customers only) that will send you a text if hail is expected near your location.
Their site boasts,
"We tell you IF, WHEN and WHERE. We protect your ENTIRE VEHICLE. And we protect your vehicle from ANY SIZE HAIL. Otherwise…what’s the point?"
And they mean any size- check out some of their promotional vids where they toss cantaloupe from a rooftop at vehicles protected by their system.
Another American company- this one uses an actual blanket that has five layers to it.
"Kimberly-Clark made non-woven durable polypropylene outer layer for hard strike strength to progressively softer layers near the surface of your vehicle.
Custom sizes are available to insure proper fit, maximizing your protection from hail.
We offer a 4 year warranty on materials and workmanship. It's not a matter of if... it's a matter of when!"
This option doesn't seem to be as silly as the air bag model but their claim that it minimizes damage instead of eliminating it doesn't make me feel very comfortable about spending 300$ american on one, but on the positives it seems as though it would be quick and easy to apply.
What do you think? After this past hailstorm would you pay for a cover?