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Jan. 24, 2019, 11:04 p.m.

Hail damage repair for cars : 10 tips for vehicle repair by Carport1

Carport1 boxed eave carport
Carport1 boxed eave carport

If you’ve ever had a new car that suffered extensive hail damage, then you have experienced one of the most helpless feelings that a new car owner can have. For many, through no fault of their own, that new cars was your pride and joy and now there it sits, with dents and dings all over the roof, hood, and trunk. In severe hail storms, even the glass can be cracked or worse, shattered. What’s a car owner to do now?First, sit back, relax, take a deep breath, and consider all of your options. There’s no point in rushing to make a hasty decision. Hopefully, you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle and your insurance company can assist you with that information and more.

  • Take photos or videos of the hail damage and then take steps to prevent further damage.
    For severe damage such as holes in the metal or windshield, cover your vehicle with a tarp in order to prevent additional damage. If you know that you have comprehensive coverage, do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the damage and has agreed to the repairs.
  • Call your insurance company to report the damage. Initially, they may want your photos or videos of the damage. It is very likely that they are already aware of hail damage in your area as other clients may have already called in to report it. In most cases, they will send an agent out to inspect the damage. If you do have comprehensive coverage and don’t know the deductible, now is a good time to ask what your deductible is for hail damage.
  • Discuss repair recommendations with your insurance company. Hail damage to your car’s sheet metal may need to may need to be hammered out and painted. In less severe cases, paintless dent removal (PDR) may be an option. With PDR, technicians utilize tools to get out small dings and dents without disturbing the paint finish. Many automobile dealers use this method to repair new cars and in most cases, it doesn’t void the paint warranty. For damaged or destroyed windshields, you insurance company can also make recommendations and will let you know what is and isn’t covered with hail damage
  • Hold onto your cash. Whether you are or are not covered by insurance, it is possible that you will be contacted by a second-rate or non-reputable repair contractor. These companies or individuals watch specifically for hail and storm damage in the areas that they work. If someone calls you or shows up at your door offering to make repairs, ask for their credentials. Ask for their business card and write down their driver’s license number and their license plate number. Reputable repair representatives will not mind you obtaining this information. Never give a deposit to someone without checking the contractor’s background and references, getting a statement from them in writing and how long the repair is expected to take. If your contractor wants the money up front, find another contractor.
  • Find a reputable repair facility. You can find a reputable repair facility for hail damage by asking your insurance company if it has a preferred facility. Often, they will offer incentives for you to select one of their preferred providers because they have had experience with the provider and they are reputable. When I had hail damage to my new car, my insurance company offered a choice of going with a provider that I selected or going with theirs. The incentive for me to go with their provider was
  1. guaranteed lower repair costs
  2. lowering the deductible
  3. offering lifetime coverage on the
  • How long will the repair take? Depending on the amount of hail damage in your area, repairs may be quick or may take a little longer depending on the number of vehicles to be repaired. Most paintless dent repair is quick and efficient and can take as little as a day to complete.
  • Is there a guarantee on the work? Your insurance company may already know this if they are recommending one of their preferred providers. If you have no comprehensive insurance or have selected your own provider, ask the shop if the work is guaranteed. If you see damage after you leave their facility, you should be able to have it repaired at no additional cost. Get the guarantee in writing and know how your repair provider handles those repairs and how long it will take should you have to bring your vehicle back.
  • Inspect your vehicle before accepting it. This is a common sense tip but you want to ensure that your vehicle is repaired to your satisfaction. Before accepting the repair and signing off on it, inspect your vehicle in a shaded area or under fluorescent lights and view it at different angles to ensure all dents and dings have been repaired.
  • What can you do to prevent hail damage? The easy answer is to always keep your car in a carport, car shelter, garage, or covered parking garages but that isn’t always possible. Since I have had a new car damaged by hail, if my car is not sheltered and there’s a chance of severe weather in the area, my smart phone notifies me of severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. An inexpensive weather radio will also keep you posted of storm watches and warnings. This may be extreme for some folks but when the average price of a new car is in the $30,000 range, protecting my investment is certainly important to me.

While the hail damage to my new car took place when it was only four months old, I followed the above tips and had a good experience in getting my car repaired. The incentives were great, my insurance company was very helpful, and the repair facility that they recommended treated me like I was buying a new car from them. The repair itself was perfect. It’s been two years since hail damaged to my new car and I have yet to see a place that was not repaired. When I left their facility, my car looked like I just drove it off the dealership lot. Everyone made the experience as pleasant as possible. Hopefully, if you have just had your car damaged by hail, your experience will be as good as the one that I have had.

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