When the sky opens up, and hail begins to fall, you may be fascinated by the spectacle. You may not think much about what these small balls of ice can do to your assets, including your car. Yet, car owners need to recognize just how impactful that short hailstorm can be on your vehicle when it comes to hail damage. The damage itself can be worrisome, especially if you have a high-valued or new vehicle you hope to protect.
Take a closer look at some of the facts you should know about hail damage and hail and what you can do about it should it happen to you.
Minor Hail Damage
What is minor hail damage? Typically, this type of hail damage includes small dents that are about a quarter size or less on the surface of a vehicle. Here are some examples of myths about minor hail damage and what it can mean to your vehicle.
Myth 1: Pea Sized Hail Is Not a Big Deal
Pea-size hail is quite small, often hard to see. From far away it looks like heavy raindrops.
However, small bits of hail like this often travel at a very high speed as it strikes your car. When this happens for even a few minutes, it can cause hundreds of small dents on the car’s surface. When you are driving your car and pea-sized hail strikes, the car’s movement only compounds the damage, making it even worse.
To learn more about minor hail damage: we went into detail in an article about light hail damage and everything you should know about it.
Myth 2: Minor Hail Dents Are Cheap to Fix
It is true that hail may not create a large amount of damage to a vehicle. In some situations, you may have seemingly-light damage – dents that you have to see in direct sunlight. Damage like this can be easily overlooked because it doesn’t affect the car’s function, and it’s hard to see. So it may feel reasonable to assume a fix for light damage like this should be inexpensive.
However, it can be very costly to repair minor hail dents because there are usually hundreds of dents. The actual cost you can expect also depends on multiple factors, including the type of car, like the material for the panel and the car make and model.
Nowadays, many luxury cars and high-end models use aluminum for the panel because it’s lightweight and is beneficial to keep the car fuel-efficient. But dents on an aluminum panel are tricky to fix and cost a lot more than repair on a steel panel.
To learn more about hail damage repair costs: Why are Hail-Damaged Cars So Expensive to Fix?
To read more about the associated costs to fix aluminum panel damage: Why Aluminum Is A Tricky Material For Dent Repair?
Severe Hail Damage
Check out a few of the myths that are common when hail is severe such as when the impact of the hail is fast and hard or when the hail size is large.
Myth 3: Severe Car Hail Damage Is Too Expensive to Repair
It is possible to have severe damage from a hailstorm, including structural damage to the windows and surfaces. Some people believe that a car with severe hail damage is too expensive to fix.
The good news is not necessarily.
If you have comprehensive auto insurance, it will pay for the repairs to your vehicle. If you have damage to your car from a recognized hail storm, the insurance company will cover the repairs to your car. If the damage is so severe that it cannot be repaired, the insurance company will total the car and provide financial assistance to purchase a new vehicle.
Even severe damage can be repaired in most cases. That means that there is no reason not to seek out repairs.
In Spring 2011, residents in Austin Texas and San Antonio experienced two severe hail storms. We have an in-depth article about the hail damage from those two storms and what customers should know.
To learn more about the severe hail damage: Austin Hailstorm Cracked Windshields, What To Do? Post-Massive Austin Hail Storm FAQs
Myth 4: Severe Hail Damage Car Repair Will Take a Long Time
Severe hail damage can be extensive, but that doesn’t mean that damage has to take months to complete.
It is true that many car owners had to wait months for a repair to take place and then another month or two for it to finish. But that’s usually the case with auto body shops and insurance pre-approved shops that don’t have enough technicians during a storm peak season.
If you choose to work with an auto hail repair specialty shop it typically ensures you can get the work completed much sooner.
The repair shop will determine the best method for repairing your vehicle depending on the extent of the damage. The industry-standard repair method for hail damage is paintless dent repair (PDR). Sometimes your vehicle may also need paint repair and part replacement. If PDR is an acceptable option for your vehicle, it doesn’t take too long. Replacement parts and paint repair may take several weeks.
Also, note that your insurance company can slow things down as they process the claim.
To learn more about the repair time-related to hail damage: we are working on an article about factors that affect repair time of fixing hail damage on cars. Check back in a few weeks for details.
Types of Damage Caused by Hail
Imagine you went on a vacation for a week and came back finding your car damaged in the airport parking lot.
This is undoubtedly upsetting. You may wonder what caused the damage and what to do about it.
Knowing what hail damage looks like on a car is useful. At least you can let go of the anger thinking someone else caused the damage. What’s better is knowing the types of hail damage will help find a repair shop and get the insurance to cover your cost.
Myth 5: All Damage from Hail Is the Same
Another myth is that all types of hail damage are the same. That is not the case. There are four primary types of damage.
Dents are the most common type of hail damage regardless of the severity of a storm. The size and depth of the damage depend on the size and force that the hailstone was traveling at impact.
Other types of hail damage include paint damage, cracked glass, mirror damage, etc.
To learn more about the different types of hail damage: What Does Hail Damage Look Like On A Car?
Auto Hail Repair
Auto hail repair is a specialty repair that not all body shops and car garages know how to handle. It requires different equipment and tools from what a common body shop usually has. It also requires specialized technicians, for paintless dent repair.
Myth 6: Body Shop vs Specialty Shop Is All the Same
There are a lot of body shops out there that will do hail damage repair. However, these are often the most frustrating of locations to visit for this type of work. When a storm strikes, almost all body shops are fully booked and will take weeks if not months to take on new cars.
A specialty shop is going to have a better ability to manage the capacity and complexities of hail damage repair. For example, you may find these differences:
- Wait Time: The wait time is often much longer at a body shop. It may be months before they can get to work on your car. That may be because they are short of PDR technicians or focusing on the bigger paycheck projects they have in play. By comparison, a local specialty shop can get started on the work for you within a few days, even during the peak season.
- Repair Time: The amount of time it takes to get the work done (once it gets underway) can also vary significantly from one location to the next. For example, repair time at the average body shop could take months. They may not have the supplies and resources in hand to get the work done. On the other hand, the specialty repair shop can often get the work done quickly, usually within a few weeks at the most, depending on the severity of the damage.
- Cost: Costs are going to vary from one location to the next because PDR is manual work and shops can theoretically charge “what they want.” To get fair pricing, ask the repair shop whether they use insurance-book-time for dent repair. This means your insurance company will approve the repair cost so that the shop doesn’t charge you for the amount that your insurance doesn’t cover.
- Other benefits – the deductible coverage and free rental car. Some specialty repair shops can cover the deductible and provide a free rental car, while typical auto body repair shops do not do this. That means there is less money coming out of your pocket to cover these costs with a reputable auto hail repair shop.
So how to choose an auto hail repair shop?
To learn more about choosing the best hail damage car repair company: A Few Quick Tips To Help You Find The Best Hail Damage Car Repair Company
Myth 7: Hail Repair Is the Same Everywhere
This is perhaps one of the most worrisome of all myths. If you have hail damage to your vehicle, you may have no idea about the various repair methods and which one is right for your car.
All repair methods and shops are not equal. There are different car hail damage repair methods available and you should definitely check them out.
To help you decide on a hail repair company: We have an article with easy-to-follow actionable tips.
Hard to See Hail Damage on Cars
Sometimes hail damage is very hard to see.
Myth 8: I Can Barely See the Hail Damage. Therefore I Don’t Need To Fix It.
You may think that there is nothing wrong with the car because you do not see big dents in it or damage to the paint that’s obvious. However, a trained professional can see damage to the outer coat of paint and protection. They will notice the areas of damage to the mirror or bumper that you did not.
Small dents from a light hail storm may be hard to see unless it’s under a direct light source. But they can significantly reduce your car value. If you don’t get it fixed in time, it can also affect the insurance claim you can get.
Hard-to-see hail damage on car surfaces still needs repair. If you do not do anything about this damage, you could see additional problems over time, especially if there’s rusting developing.
To learn more about: How to get an accurate estimate on hard to see hail damage on cars.
Hail Damage Repair Cost
How much is auto hail repair going to cost you? That is one of the biggest questions people have when it comes to hail damage repair. Hail damage repair cost ranges widely for many reasons. That includes the type of vehicle, the size of the damage, the extensiveness of the damage, and much more.
The average hail damage repair cost is $6,543. However, it can vary between $2,511 and $16,875. That is a large range, which is why an estimate is often the best way to know what to expect. You can also try the hail damage car repair cost calculator. It is a simple tool that may be able to provide you with answers about making repairs to your car.
To learn how hail damage repair is assessed and how it determines your cost, check out this ultimate guide: How is Hail Damage Assessed On a Car?
Does hail damage devalue a car?
The better question is, how much does hail damage devalue a car? This article answers all your questions about car value and the impact of various types of hail damage.
Claiming Hail Damage on Your Insurance
This is a common question many people have. There are a lot of myths that surround this as well. Let’s explore a few of these:
Myth 10: Insurance Will Increase If I File a Hail Damage Claim
That’s not the case. Insurance companies cannot raise your premium because hail damage falls under an “Act of Nature,” an event that no one can predict and is considered a “comprehensive” claim. Insurance companies will not increase premiums due to comprehensive claims.
Check out the article linked below if you need to file a hail claim with your insurance.
To get specific contact info and instructions for hail claims with the top 10 insurance companies in the US: Everything You Need To Know About Hail Damage Car Insurance
Myth 11: Calling an Insurance Company Right Away
It’s actually a bad idea to call your insurance company first about the hail damage you have. In fact, it is the insurance adjuster’s job to make sure they pay the minimum for your car’s damage repair. That is why you want to call a specialty shop first that can provide accurate information about the cost of repair.
In addition, most insurance adjusters are not specialized in hail inspections and will not quote you accurately. That could mean you end up with damage not repaired or not covered by insurance.
If you are facing that situation right now, where your adjuster didn’t provide an accurate cost, don’t worry. A repair shop can file a supplemental claim to get you more money to cover the repairs you need to be completed.
To learn everything you need to know about the supplement claim for auto hail repair: Auto Insurance Supplement Process – When Insurance Estimate Lower Than Body Shop
Buying a Car with Damage from Hail
Are you thinking about buying a car that has hail damage?
Myth 12: Buying a Car with Hail Damage Is a Good Deal
Buying a car with hail damage may seem like a great deal. After all, you end up with a vehicle that likely has a low price tag with you (because hail can devalue a car significantly). The problem is that you may have trouble getting the car repaired because of the damage already on it. That could mean you end up paying more for the insurance on the vehicle, reducing any savings you have.
More so, if you buy a car with hail damage, you may end up finding out it costs a lot more to get it fixed than you thought. That means you may struggle with the cost later when you try to fix that hail damage.
To learn more about buying a hail-damaged car: we are working on an in-depth article to cover everything you need to know about buying a hail damaged car. Check back in a few weeks for details.