It’s surprising to most how much damage a hailstorm can do. What looks like a few dimples here and there on your car can cost thousands of dollars.
The question is whether your insurance covers the repair cost. If you have comprehensive coverage, you are in luck! If you have liability-only insurance for your car or truck, the hail damage is not covered.
We recently wrote an article about the three different types of insurance coverage a car can have. Click here to read more about that.
However, if you don’t have comprehensive insurance or want to keep the insurance payout and sell this vehicle, you may wonder how much un-repaired hail damage can devalue your car.
How much does it cost to repair hail damage?
After more than 20 years fixing hail-damaged cars, we know that the cost to repair the damage can be quite steep – the average cost of auto hail repairs is $6,543. It could be as little as $2,500, and as high as $16,000+, depending on various factors. We explained in detail how hail damage is estimated in this article.
If you’ve read it somewhere that hail dents can be repaired for as cheap as a couple hundred dollars, beware that that is not referring to a bumper-to-bumper full hail repair. Maybe a small dent repair job, but when several panels have numerous dents, the price will likely be in the thousands.
Car Value and Insurance Hail Coverage
Let’s say you have comprehensive insurance to cover your hail damage. You may be wondering whether it’s worth it to file a hail claim.
The rule of thumb is that it’s advisable to fix the damage if the damage exceeds your comprehensive deductible.
If the repair cost exceeds around 50% to 60% of your car’s value, your vehicle might be considered a total loss, otherwise known as “totalled.”
You should still consider making the claim regardless, but keep in mind that if your car is totalled by the insurance, the hail repair claim could become part of the Carfax vehicle history report, which is public information to potential car buyers. This could knock thousands of dollars of your car’s trade value when you try to sell it.
Note: StormWise doesn’t report hail repairs to Carfax. In fact, typically the only way a hail claim would end up on a vehicle’s Carfax would be if the car is totalled.
How to determine car value?
The value of your car is evaluated on the following factors:
- The type and condition of your car
- The age of your car (mileage)
- Additional add-on features.
The industry standard for new/used car value is based on kbb.com (Kelley Blue Book). You can also get a rough idea of pricing from the National Automotive Dealers Association website.
How much does insurance pay for hail damage?
Typically once you file a hail claim, the insurance company will schedule an adjuster appointment to look at the damage and write an estimate.
Since COVID-19, however, field adjusters are becoming fewer and fewer and many insurance providers are moving towards virtual estimating techniques. One way or another, an adjuster will see the car be it in person or virtually, and they will put together an estimate for the repairs.
From there, they send you or the repair facility a check, typically as a two-party check with both the insured and the repair facility listed. They do this to ensure the car gets fixed.
If you haven’t selected a repair facility by the time the insurance is ready to initiate payment, they will sometimes make it out as a two-party check to you and your lien holder (the bank who has loaned you the money for the car), since technically you don’t own the car until it’s paid off.
If you own the car outright, they may also simply mail you a check for the estimate minus your deductible.
That sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?
It’s not always like that.
In fact, 99% of the time, the estimate you receive from a repair shop will be higher than your insurance tells you. That’s because the initial estimate from the adjuster didn’t capture all the damage.
We’ll write a list of items your insurance didn’t capture and send it to your adjuster to approve. This is called a “supplement.” An insurance supplement is a complicated matter. To learn more, read here.
Besides the cost to fix the hail damage, your policy may also cover a rental car while your car is in the shop being repaired.
Even if your policy doesn’t include rental car coverage, if you fix your hail damaged car at StormWise, we’ll provide a loaner free of charge (some restrictions apply). Plus, we can usually help cover your deductible – just ask your customer representative about the offer.
Will filing for a hail repair increase my insurance premium?
The short answer is NO, as hail damage is considered an Act of Nature. However, most insurance companies would tell you that they keep a record of every hail claim, and if you have an exorbitant amount of hail claims, they could drop you.
We only see this in very rare cases, and it only happens when it’s questionable as to whether the hail claims are legitimate.
As a matter of fact, the way that insurance companies make up the loss when catastrophic hail damages a large number of cars and homes in one zip code, is they will raise everyone’s rates in the effected area.
They get away with this as it’s not technically singling any one individual out who has made a hail claim, but rather everyone in the affected area, whether they made a claim or not, will have slightly higher rates at the next renewal.
So when you think of it that way, you really SHOULD make the claim and have the damage fixed because you’re going to be paying for it anyway!
What if my car is declared a total loss due to hail?
Depending on the state you’re in, your car may receive a Salvage Title, meaning that the vehicle is declared a total loss by the insurance company, and depending on the state, it cannot be licensed or insured until it’s repaired.
Here in Colorado, the state provides a list of damage types that cause a vehicle to be a salvage car. Hail damage is not on that list. What this means is you can still license the car and maintain full coverage motor if you chose to do so. You just can’t, of course, file another hail claim 😉
However, it is best to speak with a repair specialist for your safety and to find out the extent of the damage and whether the vehicle is still safe on the road.
Be aware, once again, that the check your insurance company issues probably won’t cover the full repair cost. 99% of the cars we see in the shop will require some type of supplement.
If you have an auto loan…
If you have a loan on your car, the lender (bank, financial institute, or lienholder) will likely require you to take the payout and apply that amount to pay off or pay down the loan.
If the payout is less than your loan principle, you will still be on the hook for difference. That is unless you have gap insurance.
As you can see, this is a complicated topic. Before deciding what to do and whether or not to fix the hail damage on your car, the safest bet is to talk to a reputable auto hail repair company.
StormWise is a premium paintless dent repair and automobile hail damage repair specialist. Over the past 20 years, we have earned the reputation of being the most professional, friendly, and respected auto hail repair company in the US.
Give us a call or schedule an appointment online (click on the chat button), and we’ll take it from there. We can make your claim, schedule your rental car reservation, fix the car, and deliver it to you once it’s complete.