auto hail repair
Did you know that each year, hail storms cause between $8 billion and $14 billion of damage to cars? There are about 4,000 major hail storms every year in the United States; and if you don’t have a garage or covered driveway, your car could bear the brunt of the damage. If your car has recently been through a hail storm, you may be left wondering how much you’re going to have to pay to fix it.
How much you’ll have to pay in any hail damage repair cost will depend on a number of factors. Read on to learn more about these expenses and what your options are for covering them.
Before we dive into the costs of hail damage, let’s talk about what sort of damage hail can cause. Of course, your car’s roof is going to take the brunt of the damage from a hail storm, although the hood, trunk, and windshields can be damaged too. With the exception of extreme hail storms, most damage will take the form of dents and/or scratched paint.
Some hail storms may cause small dents in the roof, hood, and trunk and may scratch the paint. You may get cracks in your windshield, or the windshield may shatter entirely. If this happens, you may have to deal with complications from water getting into the interior of your car.
You’ll have two basic options when it comes to getting your car’s hail damage repaired. Traditional dent repair is the most thorough option and is focused on restoring the car to its former state. As we’ll discuss more later, this method tends to be one of your more expensive repair options.
Traditional dent repair begins with sanding the paint off the damaged area to get back to bare metal and then hammering the dents out of the body. Any gashes in the metal will get filled in with putty and then sanded back to a smooth surface. Your repairman will then repaint your car using a primer and two coats of paint.
Paintless dent repair is a much less intensive process that aims to remove most of the cosmetic damage to your car. Most of the time, this treatment is aimed at cars with relatively minor hail damage. As you might guess from the name, your repairman will not fix any damaged paint during this process.
If your car has small dents but no scratches or gashes, your repairman can pop the dents back out of the body. This may involve using a heat gun to expand the metal and make it pop back to its original shape or using suction to pull the dent back to a convex position. They’ll take care not to damage the paint during this process, and your car will look almost as good as new at the end of it.
If your car gets damaged in a hail storm, one of the first things you need to do is talk to your insurance agent. Depending on the type of coverage you have, your insurance company may cover some or all of your repair costs. In general, damage of this sort is only covered under comprehensive policies.
Now we may hear some of you saying that you don’t want to report this damage to your insurance company because you don’t want your premiums to go up. While this does happen after accidents, hail storms are usually ruled “no-fault” claims. This means that you as a driver don’t pose any more risk to the insurance company, so your premiums will likely stay the same.
How much will it cost to repair hail damage to your car? If dents are small, you can expect to pay between $30 and $45 per dent. Medium dents will run you between $45 and $55 per dent, and large dents can cost more than $75 each to repair.
The problem comes in when you start totaling the cost of all those dents. Even five small dents could cost you $225, and ten large dents will start approaching $1,000 for dent repair alone. On average, car hail damage repair cost estimates tend to run somewhere north of $3,000 once all the dents and dings are added up.
Even after all the dents are hammered out, your costs from a hail storm aren’t over yet. Depending on the age and mileage of your car, as well as the extent of the damage, hail damage could cost more to fix than your car is worth. If this happens, your insurance could declare the car totaled.
If you try to sell your car after it’s been through a hail storm, you may find that it’s not fetching the price you’d hoped. Many potential buyers are wary of a car that has been totaled, no matter what the reason. A hail damage repair claim will show up on your car’s record and may knock thousands of dollars off the sale price.
Hail damage can cause serious damage to your car or may only create some slight dents and dings. How much you pay will depend on both your insurance coverage and the extent of the damage. You’ll also need to decide if you can opt for the cheaper paintless dent repair or if you need to get a full, traditional treatment.
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