hail storm

How Is Hail Damage Assessed on a Vehicle?

How Is Hail Damage Assessed on a Vehicle?

Are you wondering 'How is hail damage assessed on a car?' Let us walk you through the process that is used to determine the damage.

Hailstorms account for an average of $15 billion in damage to homes, agriculture, and vehicles every year. The extent of the harm can vary with each hail storm, which demands an assessment to determine.

You may be curious, "How is hail damage assessed on a car?" This question has a complex answer, which depends on different factors. The main one is the extent of the damage.

This article covers the basics of the assessment process. It will help you know what to expect and how it can affect your insurance claim. Keep reading to find out more.

How Hail Causes Damage to Vehicles

Before attempting to answer "How is hail damage assessed on a car?" it is important to look at the types of damage hail can do. Hail is a specific type of precipitation. It is made up of ice that repeatedly gets pushed up into the atmosphere by strong winds (called "updrafts") during a thunderstorm.

Once the hail becomes too heavy to push back up, it falls to the earth, often with great velocity. It can also grow very large during this process. While the biggest recorded hail stone was more than 18 inches in diameter, typically it ranges in size from ¼ inch to 4.5 inches.

The most common type of damage done by hail is to the surface of the vehicle. It can crack or shatter windshields and windows. It can also dent the roof, hood, bumpers, or sides of your car.

Hail can cause more serious damage to surfaces as well. If the paint is compromised, water can seep in and begin to cause corrosion and rust. In rare cases, hail can damage your car's motor, electrical components, or drivetrain.

How Is Hail Damage Assessed on a Car?

Before delving into the details of assessments, it is worth mentioning that DIY dent repair is not advisable. It can do more damage to your vehicle and possibly invalidate your insurance claim.

The first person entity to assess the hail damage on your dented vehicle will be your insurance company. Once you file a claim, it will be assigned to an adjuster. From here, they will determine the appropriate steps based on the information that you provide.

Insurance companies can hire appraisers, engineers, or other contractors to give their expert advice about the damage. It is important to be present at these assessments, if possible. It gives you the chance to ask questions and glean information.

Note that this is only the beginning of the process. Keep in mind that, in many cases, the insurance adjuster's assessments of hail damage are very preliminary. They can serve as a reason to approve a claim but may not uncover all the damage done to the vehicle.

That is where the next phase begins. Your insurance company will recommend an "in-network" shop to carry out the repairs.

There is some advantage to choosing one of these businesses. You can be certain they have a relationship with your insurance company and have worked on customers' cars in the past.

However, you can choose any repair shop you like. In fact, it is a good idea to get a second opinion, to make sure that the repair cost estimates are in the same ballpark.

Determining Car Devaluation

Experienced technicians will look for several different things when assessing the damage. First, they will determine if there is any damage to the car beyond surface dents.

This includes engine damage or effects that make the car dangerous to drive. If this is the case, these issues should be taken care of before moving forward with aesthetic repairs. (Often, in these circumstances, the vehicle is considered a "total loss," in which repairs are not warranted.)

When assessing dents, technicians will look at three main things. The first is whether the dents are overly sharp, deep, or have pronounced creases.

Next, they will consider whether they can access the reverse side of the panel (you will see why in a moment). Finally, repair personnel will determine if there is any paint damage in the dents. These factors are important in determining the repair process.

Repair Techniques

If the technicians find any of the circumstances mentioned above, then they will likely recommend "traditional" dent repair. This involves using a plastic resin filler to smooth out the dents. Once the filler sets, technicians will sand the surface, then prime and repaint it.

The alternative to "traditional" dent repair techniques is "paintless" dent repair. This is where repair personnel remove dented panels, so that they can access the reverse side. Then, they use magnets, rods, dent picks, and other tools to gradually massage the metal back into its original form.

When it is possible, this method is preferable. Paintless dent repair is much faster than traditional methods. This, along with the fact that it does not require additional supplies (like filler and paint), makes it cheaper than traditional dent repair. For the same reason, it is much better for the environment.

Also, paintless dent repair is stronger than traditional methods. Fillers can become brittle and fade or fall out over time. You can expect your car's original metal surface to be much sturdier.

There is another economic benefit to paintless dent repair. Since it restores your car's metal surface to its original condition, this helps retain the value of your vehicle. This is one of the main reasons that, if paintless dent repair is doable, a technician will choose it.

The majority of dent repairs today use paintless dent repair. An experienced technician will be able to further explain the pros and drawbacks of each method, and can make appropriate recommendations.

Find a Repair Center Near You

Now that you have some answers to "How is hail damage assessed on a car?" you can know what to expect. Remember to get as much information as you can throughout the process. Also, making sure you go with an experienced technician has everything to do with the value of your car going forward.

Express Auto Hail Repair provides quality dent repair with a quick turnaround. We will work with your vehicle insurance company to make sure all needed repairs are made, and we will cover up to $1,000 of your deductible. Reach out to us today to schedule service.


Schedule a Free Custom Estimate

Pay $0 Deductible for a Limited Time
Team member using specialized tools to work on dent repair on a bright orange 4-door sedan