Hail Damage!! Now What?

Recent spring storms have contributed a substantial amount of hail damage to the area.  If you are traveling and come into a hail storm, you can lessen the impact of the damage by pulling to the side of the road.

There is no need to increase the magnitude of the dents by continuing to speed down the road and add your velocity to that of the hail stones.  Like your home, hail damage may be a covered item under you vehicles insurance policy.

Assuming your vehicle sustained damage, take photos and notify your insurance company as soon as possible.  Hail is an act of God and will be covered under a “Comprehensive” policy, but you may have a deductible that will need to be satisfied.  A “Personal Liability and Property Damage” policy will NOT cover hail.

Review your policy’s terms.  Your insurance company will request information regarding the amount of damage and may require forms to be filled out.  A claims adjuster may be assigned to view the actual damage and issue an “Estimated” cost to repair.

During the assessment of damage the adjuster does NOT need to know if you actually plan on having the repairs done.  If they think you are going to cash the check, they may come in with a lower number.  It would be to your advantage to have a few estimates for repair in hand before accepting the offer from the insurance company.

It is possible that your vehicle could be declared a total loss if the cost of repair exceeds 75% to 80% of the vehicle’s value.  If there is a lien on the vehicle, the lien holder needs to be notified and may have requirements for repairs in their contracts as well.

If the vehicle is totaled and you keep the vehicle on the road, the title could also be affected by being designated as “Salvaged.”  Check your state’s rules before keeping a “totaled vehicle” on the road.

The other option would be to surrender the totaled vehicle to the insurance company for the agreed settlement.   While hail damage is largely cosmetic damage to the exterior, it does affect potential resale values and potentially the title status.

While the insurance company may try to direct you to a preferred repair shop, the decision of where to have repairs done rests with you and you alone.  One would naturally think of going to a body shop for an estimate of repair, but shops specializing in “Paintless Dent Removal”, or PDR, should also be considered.

Paintless dent removal can often remove signs of hail damage without major body work, preserve original paint, and save time, as well as money.  Each individual dent is examined under special lighting.  The technician can often remove signs of the dent using special methods and tools.  Think of it as a massage for your car’s body.

While a traditional repair may take weeks, result in ordering new body panels and repainting, Paintless Dent Removal will likely be completed in a few days and preserve the original paint.

AutoSmart, Inc. at 39 Stonehill Road, Suite E offers Paintless Dent Removal.  To schedule an appointment to estimate repair costs call 630-554-2285.