Let’s review some common mistakes and questions regarding hail damage repair.
“It’s only super light hail damage. I can hardly see it… it’s probably only a few hundred dollars damage, so I do not think I will worry about it.”
Yes, it’s only cosmetic, and maybe it doesn’t bother you. But what many people fail to discover in time, is that very light hail damage is still devastating to your vehicle’s value. $4,000-$7,000 in damage is very typical, even when you can barely see it.
Ultimately, while many of us do love our vehicles, and work hard to keep them gorgeous; it’s not just about how your car looks. Your vehicle is a savings account of sorts. Eventually, whether you sell it, trade it in, or God forbid, get into an accident. This can be thousands of dollars in value that comes right off the top before you see a dime.
If you can recover $5,000 in lost value by ponying up that $500 or $1000 deductible and getting your car repaired, you will be well ahead of the game.
“Does paintless dent repair work on hail damage?”
If no paint damage is present, then paintless dent repair is the top choice for car hail damage. In fact, 80% to 90% of dents from hail can be repaired using paintless dent repair methods. This modern technique of hail dent removal can provide a number of advantages.
PDR, also known as Paintless Dent Repair or Paintless Dent Removal, is the method used to repair hail damage, door dings, body creases, and minor dents on a vehicle. As its name suggests, PDR does not involve any paint or fillers. Compared to standard dent repair, paintless dent repair restores a vehicle to like-new condition in a way that is faster, less expensive, and even more environmentally friendly.
Highly-skilled technicians use specialist tools like body picks and metal rods to push the dent out from the inside. The PDR technician will first assess the damage. The goal is to find out how big the dent is, how it can be accessed, and whether PDR will work.
The next step involves gaining access to the back side of the dent. Parts of the vehicle, such as headlamps, may have to be temporarily removed to access the car panel. Once there is a clear pathway to the dent, the process can begin.
Slow pressure is used to gently push the dent outward and restore the exterior to its original condition. It might sound simple, but PDR is a carefully honed craft. That is because without the required training, an amateur could easily push too hard and cause the dent to bulge outward, which also damages the paint.
“I think I will wait until hail season is over before I get it fixed just in case it hails again.”
This line of thinking makes sense to many people. Why might it be a mistake? For starters, if you suffer damage from two separate hailstorms, or “events”, and try to get it taken care of with a single claim, you are technically engaged in insurance fraud. Some people do get by with this maneuver, but you should be aware of the risk.
There are also what I would consider much larger risks, more likely to be a problem for you. A second hailstorm hitting your vehicle brings a very strong chance that your vehicle goes from repairable to totaled. Your car’s metal can only take so much mangling before it’s impossible to get it back to its original shape. If a vehicle is declared totaled due to hail damage, you lose big virtually every single time.
Also keep in mind, every moment that your vehicle goes “unrepaired”, you are driving around with “pre-existing damage.”
While you mess with the insurance company, wait for an adjuster, wait for a shop to be able to fit you in, wait for the season to be over, until you have more time, or wait for any other reason, you are leaving yourself wide-open for a potential disaster.
We sadly observe this happen to people all too frequently. Just recently we had someone with $11,000 in hail damage on their vehicle, and they had every intention of having it repaired. The claim was filed, estimate in place, they had chosen our shop to do the repairs… but they decided for their own reasons that they wanted to wait a few weeks before bringing the vehicle in to actually get the work done.
“If I see hail damage on my car, the first thing I should do is call my insurance company and file a claim, then do what they tell me.”
This is what most people do, and would seem to make sense; after all, you like your agent, and you’ve been with them for years! But before you do this, ask yourself a serious question: “Do I really believe my insurance company wants to pay me as much as possible as quickly as possible?” Hmmm…
After a hailstorm damages a large number of vehicles in an area, insurance companies are often inundated with claims. Sometimes you’ll wait weeks or even months before an adjustor actually inspects your vehicle, creates an “estimate”, and offers a settlement check.
A few problems here. First, don’t forget that during this waiting process you are exposed to a potential loss of thousands at any given moment.
Secondly, that initial estimate is rarely a thorough or professional estimate conducted in the proper environment with the right equipment. Therefore, it is not uncommon at all for the initial estimate to be 40-50% of the actual damages to the vehicle.
Keep in mind, depending on their situation, many people will take the money and run… and the insurance company is counting on this.
You might accept a check for $3,000 made out to you and your bank, and simply use it to reduce the amount you owe—many people feel this is a favorable option. The problem is, if in reality you have $8,000 in damage, and accept a $3,000 settlement. You just lost $4,000 and did not even know it. You only find out later when you trade it in or have another claim.
Let’s say you understand the value proposition and you definitely want to repair your vehicle. Your insurance company will be happy to provide you with names of repair shops that are on their “Preferred Vendor” list. It is your choice to select a repair shop to perform the repairs on your vehicle. If fact, your choice is protected by Texas State Law.
“If I file a claim for hail damage, they are going to raise my premium, and it’s just not worth it.”
It will depend upon your state’s laws and insurance carrier’s ratings system, but generally comprehensive claims of this nature don’t affect your rates. There are even some states that don’t allow surcharges for comprehensive claims or claims where you are not at fault.
Claims for damages caused by natural events typically are not held against you, since they are unforeseeable and out of your control. But you should check with your insurer to be certain.
Keep in mind that even if your rates can’t be raised due to a hail claim, the number of claims placed against your policy can affect your rates. If you recently filed other claims, the total amount of claims made could cause you to be seen as a higher risk. Thus, you will pay more.
“What happens if I decided to keep the hail-totaled car?”
If your car is declared totaled because of a hail claim and you intend to keep driving it, ask your insurance company to buy the car for its salvage value. If your car was worth $15,000 before the hailstorm and your insurance company places its salvage value at $8,000, they will send you a check for the difference, minus your deductible, of course.
You may need an inspection before the car is allowed back on the road. The title will be “branded”, forever reflecting the car was declared as a total loss. Some states have a hail-damage notation for titles.
A car with a branded title is difficult to insure for comprehensive and collision coverages because its value is difficult to determine.
“All PDR and hail repair shops are the same, it really does not matter where I choose to have it fixed.”
When you are repairing a car damaged by hail, it is important to visit an experienced hail repair facility. Hail dents require special techniques to get your car back to the way it looked pre-hail storm. These repairs are not a DIY project. Still not convinced you need a professional? Here are some of the benefits you will gain from going to a professional auto body shop for hail dent repair.
Professional Customer Service
When you are looking for someone to repair a car damaged by hail, you want people who will respond immediately and provide crystal clear communication. A hail repair facility that takes days or weeks to respond to your calls might not be the best place to go. That is why you should be on the lookout for companies that respond quickly to your messages. Excellent communication is an indication of a company that has professional customer service.
Licensed and Certified
Any car damaged by hail should be handled by licensed and certified technicians. Taking your car to a technician who is not licensed could lead to further damages, loss of funds on your side, and future headaches. Make sure you are looking for companies that are bonded and insured, as well. VIVID Auto Body Shop & Hail Damage Repair is a professional auto body shop that have the necessary licenses, insurance, and expertise. Your car will be handled by people who know what it takes to deal with hail damage backed by a Lifetime Warranty valid as long as you own the vehicle.
Technical knowledge is one of the biggest advantages of taking your car to an experienced auto body shop for hail repairs on your car. With that knowledge, they can get your repairs taken care of with skill and efficiency. Understanding the specific details and length at which the car is damaged is essential in the repair process. It helps in addressing the core of the damages, while at the same time, minimizing repair expenses and completion time.
Quick Repair Services
In a professional hail damage repair shop, efficiency is top priority. While some repairs may take longer than others, efficient work is a part of excellent customer service. Technicians have received the necessary training and know what they are doing, means that your car will be repaired in a timely manner. In addition, you should have an accurate estimation of how long your repairs will take.
“I can live with some dings; do I have to fix my car?”
If you own your car outright, the choice to repair the hail-damaged car is yours. Many people keep and spend the insurance company check. If the car is involved in an accident at a later point of time, whether it is your fault or not, the pre-existing hail damage would be deducted from any settlement.
If you have a loan outstanding on the car, yes, you probably will have to fix your car. Any settlement check will arrive made out to both you and your lien holder, which will want the value of the asset it still owns protected.
“Does hail damage affect the title of the car?”
Hail damage will be noted on your car’s title only if the following are both true:
– The insurance company has declared it a total loss.
– Your state allows hail damage as the sole reason for a salvage title.
Many states have a “hail” designation to distinguish hail-totaled cars from wrecked or flooded ones. Others simply mark the title as “salvage.”
If the car is not declared salvage, the title is still clean. The damage may show up on electronic notification systems, such as Carfax, though.
“Does gap insurance cover the loss in my car’s value?”
No. Gap insurance will not cover the diminished resale value of your car. Gap insurance pays only in cases where a car is totaled, and it pays only the difference between what is owed on the car and what it was worth before it was damaged, minus any deductible.
“My car was damaged by hail. Am I covered?”
There are several types of car insurance, but only one kind covers hail damage—comprehensive insurance.
Comprehensive insurance will cover the cost of any hail-related car damage after a major storm. Comprehensive car insurance covers most damages that are not related to an accident. It is usually an optional coverage, but it is a great idea to have it.
To use your comprehensive coverage, you must have an active policy before you need to file a claim. You cannot get reimbursement from your insurance company if you purchase comprehensive coverage after the damage has already been done. If you live in a hurricane zone, some insurance carriers will not allow you to add comprehensive coverage to your policy if there is a hurricane warning in effect.
The other main types of car insurance—collision and liability coverage—do not cover hail damage. Collision coverage only covers damage related to an accident, either with another driver or with a stationary object. Liability insurance protects you in a lawsuit if you get sued by another driver for an accident or property damage.
If you happen to be driving a rental car during a hail storm and it causes damage, you are most likely covered by your personal insurance policy. For an additional fee paid to the rental car company, their Rental Car Insurance Policies generally include comprehensive insurance, which would pay for the damages. This coverage is called, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver. This is not an insurance product, but rather a waiver that transfers financial responsibility from you to the rental car company in case of damage or theft. In most cases, waivers also provide coverage for “loss of use” if the rental car company charges for the time a damaged car can not be used because it is being repaired. Please verify with your rental company how their Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver works.
In last resort, if your personal auto insurance policy extends to rental cars and you have comprehensive insurance, your insurance provider will take care of it.
Let’s get your vehicle repaired!
If you have done a little homework and already selected an awesome, reputable shop to work with (ahem, VIVID Auto Body Shop), I would strongly recommend you take your vehicle and drop it off with them as quickly as possible. A great shop should be adept at and willing to contact your insurance company, file the claim on your behalf, and take care of all the headaches.
Acting quickly on hail repair claims, indicates to the insurance company that you are serious about getting your vehicle repaired. You do not wait weeks to have it looked at or settle for their often ‘low-ball’ initial estimate and settlement offers.
Instead, we get your adjuster out to our shop, in the proper environment, and closely examine and record every single imperfection on every single part and panel of your vehicle under special hail inspection lights to amplify damage, even when the damage is barely visible to a highly trained eye. In this situation, the adjuster simply notes the actual damages and approves the supplement. This method is performed for every hail repair job so that a flawless repair can be performed.
Dealing with hail damage to your car can be painful and overwhelming. However, the sooner you repair the damage, the less liability or issues it may cause you or your vehicle. In essence, you should never ignore any damage caused by the hailstorm to your car, no matter how small it can be. Remember, even light hail damage can diminish your vehicle’s value. By following the insightful tips above, you can deal with auto hail damage repair and get your vehicle restored quickly.
Our team is here to answer your questions via our online contact form, in person, or on the phone at 972-737-3288. Whether you have an insurance problem, an auto body hail repair estimate request, or want to know more about our warranties, our staff members can provide the information you need. Our auto hail repair facility is located in McKinney, TX, Collin County and we service the surrounding areas (Cities and Counties).
If you are looking for repairs for hail damage repair or paintless dent repair, our team is available to help. Request a free consultation today!
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