auto hail repair

The Cost of Auto Hail Damage Repair and Ways to Save Money

Hail storms cause billions of dollars in damage each year. These ice formations can range in size from green peas to grapefruit (or bigger, in some rare incidents) and can fall at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

This also means that the cost of auto hail damage repair can vary widely as well. It depends on a range of factors, including the extent and type of damage you sustained. This can be difficult to estimate and plan for.

This article covers different variables that can impact the cost of hail damage repair. It also provides some advice on effective ways to save money. Keep reading to learn more.

Extent of the Damage

The level of hail damage to your vehicle is one of the main factors that will impact cost. This has to do with both how severe the dents are as well as how widespread the damage is across your vehicle.

The first issue has to do with the repair methods available (more on that below). In general, you can expect deeper or wider dents to require more invasive methods and be more expensive than minor dings.

Likewise, if the paint has been damaged, the cost of repairs could be more. If the hail damage is older and the metal underneath the damaged paint has begun to rust or corrode, the panel may need to be replaced. This is usually costlier than fixing the surface damage alone.

How many panels (or other parts, like bumpers) are affected relates directly to labor costs. In some cases, technicians will have to remove individual panels and need access to the backside of them to carry out proper auto repairs. This can be more time-consuming and, in turn, costlier.

Finally, while most hail damage is to the surface of the vehicle, it can cause more serious issues as well. For instance, damage to your vehicle's safety features, like backup cameras or lane departure sensors, will drive the cost of repairs up. Your vehicle's computer systems may need to be recalibrated as well, which also can increase costs.

Repair Methods

One of the main things that impacts the cost of auto hail damage repairs is the restoration method that is used. There are two main types available.

Traditional methods involve sealing dents with filler. Once these dry, technicians can sand, prime, and repaint the surface. While the technique is fairly straightforward, it requires several steps and some waiting in between (for the putty to set and the primer and paint to dry).

Paintless dent repair (PDR) is a relatively new, innovative method that entails restoring the surface to its original form. Technicians use specialized tools and techniques to massage the metal to its condition before the hail damage occurs.

The reason this distinction is important is that PDR is much cheaper to perform than traditional methods. That is because it is less labor-intensive and does not require the use of extra materials.

Note that there are some circumstances where PDR is not achievable, and traditional dent repair is required. These include instances where dents are exceedingly deep or sharp. Dents that have folds are also more difficult to work out with PDR.

Finally, dents where the paint has been damaged almost always warrant traditional repair methods. That is because one of the main advantages of PDR--not having to repaint the surface--is negated.

Vehicle Age and Type

Regardless of the extent of the damage, the age and type of vehicle you have can impact costs. Newer vehicles with more complex technology can be more expensive to fix than older ones that lack it. However, if there are parts that need to be replaced, these are easier (and therefore less expensive) to find than those for some older vehicles.

There is another exception. Older vehicles that fall into vintage or collector's categories can be more expensive to repair than newer ones.

They also tend to be made of stronger, heavier metals that can be more difficult to manipulate. If traditional repair methods are needed, it might be harder to find the right paint match for older vehicles.

Insurance Coverage

Determining your level of insurance coverage is another important part of determining auto hail damage repair costs. Most basic "liability" and "collision" policies do not cover weather incidents like hail storms. In most cases, you probably need "comprehensive" insurance for hail damage coverage.

Paying out-of-pocket for hail repair can run you anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Keep in mind that, even if you do not have comprehensive insurance coverage, most reputable repair shops offer free estimates. This will give you a ballpark of what the repair will cost you should you decide to move forward anyway.

What About Deductibles?

If you do have comprehensive coverage, an assessor from your company will do a preliminary examination of the vehicle. They will then provide you with an estimate for the repair and most likely recommend a shop.

Note that you can choose whatever repair company you want to do the repairs. Finding one that has a lot of experience with insurance companies can be very helpful. This is in part because if they find more damage or recommend different techniques for repair, they can negotiate this with your insurance company.

Once you and your insurance company agree to the repair parameters, you will need to pay your deductible. Some repair shops will actually cover this amount for you up to a certain threshold. This can further reduce (or eliminate) your costs of the repair.

Find Auto Hail Damage Repair Near You

Now that you understand the main factors that can impact the cost of auto hail damage repair, you can take steps to keep the price tag for yours to a minimum. An experienced repair shop can further advise you on the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to get your vehicle back on the road.

Express Auto Hail Repair offers fast and convenient dent restoration, including PDR and traditional auto hail damage repair services. We will work with your insurance company to ensure coverage and even cover your deductible up to $1,000. Reach out to us today for a free estimate.


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Team member using specialized tools to work on dent repair on a bright orange 4-door sedan