auto hail repair

Hail Damage Claims and Your Vehicle: What You Need to Know

In any given year, upwards of six million properties, including homes and vehicles, are affected by hail storms. This leads to billions of dollars in losses and corresponding hail damage claims.

The prevalence of hail damage does not make filing a claim any easier or more pleasant. There are a lot of factors to consider, including the extent of the damage and the type of repair methods you use.

This article covers everything you need to know about auto hail claims. It explains steps you should take during the car insurance claims process, including advice on selecting a repair shop. Keep reading to find out how to get your vehicle repaired and back out on the road.

Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

Health insurance policies are structured differently in each state or location. In general, you need "comprehensive" coverage for insurance to pay for vehicle damages from hail.

Note that such coverage can be named different things, depending on your policy. Hail damage claims typically fall into the category of weather or other types of damage that results from something other than a collision with another vehicle or object. The important thing is to read your policy or contact your insurance company to make sure you know if you are covered.

How to File a Hail Damage Insurance Claim

There are several things you should keep in mind when filing a hail damage insurance claim. Here are the main ones to consider.

Do Not Delay

One of the first things you should know about filing a hail damage repair claim is that you should not wait. Contact your insurance company as soon as you can after the damage occurs to get the process started.

One of the reasons is that when there are hail storms, insurance companies in the area get bombarded with claims. This also means that it could take longer for a claim to process than, for instance, a random traffic accident. Filing a claim quickly can help you get toward the top of the list.

Another reason not to waste any time filing a claim is that you could run the risk of a second incident. In these situations, the damage from the first hail storm could be considered "pre-existing," which might make it more difficult to get repairs covered.

Meet With the Appraiser

After you file a claim, your insurance company will appoint an appraiser. Often, they will arrange to examine your vehicle at your convenience, even if you are not available in person.

If at all possible, try to be at this meeting. It will give you a chance to get information from them.

Write down anything they say about the damage and ask questions. Make sure you are clear about how to pay your deductible and what the timeframe for repairs entails. Also, keep in mind that appraisals are only preliminary estimates and are often much lower than the actual repair costs.

Finding a Repair Shop

Your insurance company will likely recommend "preferred" vendors to complete the damage on your vehicle. The advantage of this is that you know that these companies have worked with your insurance company in the past.

Keep in mind that this can be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, if the vendor finds something the appraiser missed, such as more serious motor, frame, or driving components damage, you can assume the insurance company will agree to cover the repair. The flip side is that you may be completely unfamiliar with the company and have no clue how good they do their jobs.

By law, you are allowed to select any shop you like. You can certainly get an estimate from one of the "preferred" shops but get a second one as well. This will allow you to compare quotes and ensure you are covered (in the settlement payment) for all the repairs that need to be made.

Selecting a Hail Damage Repair Process

Another decision you have to make--and a subsequent item to keep in mind when deciding on a shop--is the kind of automotive body damage repair technique. There are two main types.

Traditional methods involve using body filler to plug the dent. These use plastic resins to restore the surface to its original shape and contour.

After the filler is in place, technicians must sand the surface. Any sanding dust or other remnants must be wiped away before they prime and paint the surface. This process is followed for each dent.

Paintless dent repair is a newer technique. It has, however, become very popular and available at prominent repair shops.

Paintless dent repair involves using various tools--including magnets, bars, and body picks--to reshape the dented metal to its original form. It does not demand filler or repainting.

While traditional methods can be used to fill almost any dent--regardless of how sharp, deep, or creased--it takes much longer and usually costs more. Paintless dent repair, on the other hand, is fast and economical.

It has the added advantage of restoring your vehicle's surface to its original condition. This is preferable to filler and paint, which can aid in retaining the value of your vehicle.

Ideally, you will want to choose a shop that has experience in both methods and can make recommendations based on the unique damage to your car. A reputable repair shop will also be able to work with your insurance agency (even if they are "out of network") to ensure the needed repairs are done and covered by your policy.

Learn More About Hail Damage Claims and Repair

Now that you understand how hail damage claims work and the type of repair techniques available to you, you can move forward. A qualified repair shop can further advise you on the restoration methods that are best suited for your specific repair project.

Express Auto Hail Repair utilizes innovative methods and equipment to provide fast, cost-effective hail storm damage repair. In addition, we provide claims handling and will cover your deductible up to $1,000. Contact us today with any questions or go online for a free custom estimate.