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Fraudulent insurance claims can be difficult to analyze. Determining whether a vehicle has been damaged by hail or intentionally dented or scratched, however, requires only a straightforward inspection, some basic facts about hail and weather conditions, and a good camera.

The process demands a basic understanding of the characteristics of hail. Hailstones vary in size, shape, and hardness. Generally, the larger their size, the fewer the hailstones and the farther apart they fall. More than 60 percent of hailstones are relatively smooth and nearly spherical; however, sometimes hailstones are jagged or even elliptical in shape. Hardness also is a key factor, as harder hailstones offer a greater ability to damage vehicle panels.

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