Hail storms damage thousands of cars every year. In fact, in some areas, auto hail repair accounts for almost one-quarter of all insurance claims.
Your insurance policy may cover damage resulting from weather events like hailstorms. But even these plans usually entail large deductibles. And what happens when your body shop estimate is significantly higher than what the insurance company approves for repairs?
Fortunately, there are solutions that ensure that you recoup the entire repair cost to your vehicle, including your deductible. Here’s everything you need to know about getting your vehicle repaired without paying a dime.
The Insurance Claim
The average repair cost for hail damage is about $6,500, much higher than most people would guess.
In order for your insurance company to pay for weather-related events like hail storms, you must have comprehensive coverage. In fact, living in an area prone to hail storms is a good reason for carrying full auto insurance.
The majority of hail damage incidents involving vehicles are not reported. This is often because drivers believe the damage is minor/cosmetic and not worth the hassle of going through the claims process. Or, they may assume that their insurance company will raise their premiums.
If you have comprehensive insurance, you should file a claim for hail damage. Even seemingly minor damage can impact the resale value of your vehicle.
And insurance companies cannot raise your rate based on incidents that fall under “comprehensive” coverage. Accidents that are your fault are covered under “collision,” and these can impact your rate. But hail damage is a “no-fault” claim.
When to File a Claim
Be sure to file a claim soon after the incident. When you contact your insurance company following a massive hail storm, they will likely be inundated with other claims. It could take them a long time to get an adjuster out to you.
If you live in an area prone to hail storms, you may think it is worth waiting until the hail season is over to file a claim. This is also a mistake. A second storm could do more destruction to the metal that is already damaged.
Also, if you end up in another accident without having filed the hail-damage claim, it can be considered pre-existing damage. Your insurance company will deduct this amount from whatever amount they payout for the accident.
In addition to filing a claim soon after a storm, one of the best things you can do is take pictures of the damage after it happens. This can be a strong negotiating tool if an adjuster has questions about when the damage occurred.
Another way to avoid the hassle and long waits of filing a hail damage claim is to go with a company that can handle peak-season repair volume and takes care of the entire process for you. For instance, StormWise will start the claim with the insurance company and manage the entire process while your vehicle is being repaired.
Identifying a Hair Repair Shop
Your insurance company is very likely to recommend a repair shop. But you do not have to use the shop that they suggest. In fact, it is a good idea to find your own repair shop and have them give you an estimate.
Why Choose Your Own Shop?
One of the big reasons to choose your own repair shop is that you can pick one that provides the type of service you want. For instance, not all technicians offer paintless dent repair (PDR), which utilizes special tools to return the dents to its original form, without grinding/sanding/repainting.
Major dents may require traditional repair methods that use grinding, sanding, and fillers to patch the dent and paint over it. But PDR is preferable where applicable since it returns your vehicle to its original form, thereby remaining value.
You will want to select a repair shop that can perform PDR and specializes in hail damage repair. Your insurance company will likely recommend the cheapest shop that may not have as much experience with hail damage as a specialist.
Problems can result when the insurance estimate is much lower than what your body shop is charging for the repair. This can happen when the adjuster misses some of the damage when calculating an estimate.
A reputable repair shop will work with the insurance adjuster to explain the extent of the damage and the cost of proper restoration to the vehicle. This can help mitigate the tendency of adjusters “low balling” estimates. And even if you have already filed a claim, your insurance adjuster can issue a supplement estimate to cover the actual cost of repairs.
Another advantage of going with StormWise is that we are among the best repair shops for your vehicle’s hail damage, and deal with your insurance company. We’re more than happy to handle the entire process of seeking a supplemental payment if necessary (it almost always is).
Most comprehensive insurance plans include a deductible. These are usually between $500 and $2,000.
Note that auto insurance deductibles are not like health insurance ones, where, in any given year, once you meet it, you pay no more healthcare costs. Auto deductibles are usually per incident, so each claim means you pay the full amount.
When a repair shop is within an insurance company’s “direct repair network,” they cannot waive deductibles. This is because insurance companies know that these payments are deterrents to getting your vehicle repaired.
The way this works is that your insurance company pays out the total amount for repairs minus the deductible. But, when you allow companies like StormWise to handle your claim, we take out your deductible from our own profit. So, all repair costs are covered, and you pay nothing for your hail damage repair.
Zero Auto Hail Repair Costs
StormWise works with insurance companies to take care of your claim, inspection, repair, and deductible. Our experts can answer any questions you might have about the auto hail repair process and provide estimates and advice through calls, emails and online chat.
Even if your insurance adjustor’s estimate fails to cover all the damage done to your vehicle, StormWise will negotiate on your behalf and works to repair all the damage. The majority of our customers benefit from our $0 auto hail repair service. Don’t just take our word for it. Check out our customer reviews.
Let us know if you have any questions about our “Pay No Deductible” offer. Also, be sure to check out our other posts on storm damage auto insurance and repair.