Colorado had 120 days with severe hail in 2019. If your car suffered hail damage, you want to know how much the repair will cost.
Paintless dent repair (PDR) is the industry standard method of fixing hail dents. It is faster and more affordable than traditional dent repair. And it’s non-intrusive and keeps your factory paint warranty valid.
How does the repair shop decide what they’ll charge? How does your insurance company determine what they’ll pay?
Find out more about the process of making a hail damage repair estimate. Learn how the PDR pricing matrix works and how it affects what you’ll pay to repair your car.
What Goes Into a Hail Damage Repair Estimate?
Several factors go into an estimate for auto hail damage repair. One important factor is the paintless dent repair (PDR) itself. The first part of the PDR cost reflects the time and labor for a PDR technician to fix the dents.
The second component is the cost to remove and install (R&I). This part of the estimate includes the labor cost to remove and reinstall parts on the vehicle. This gives the technician access to do the PDR.
If hail damages parts on the car like the windshield that will need replacement, your estimate will have a part replacement cost.
If the hail damaged the paint, the estimate will include the cost of traditional bodywork in addition to the PDR. These costs include time for the body and the paint. They also include the price of paint and other materials.
Finally, your estimate will include any sales tax.
Estimating the Cost of Your Paintless Dent Repair
To estimate the cost of your paintless dent repair, the insurance adjuster and the PDR technician will use a PDR cost matrix. The cost matrix or pricing matrix is a chart that helps to determine the cost of repairs based on how many dents are on each vehicle panel and how large the dents are.
Insurance companies approve a version of the PDR pricing matrix for their adjusters to use. If the repair shop uses the same matrix as the insurance company, your insurance is more likely to approve your full claim.
How Does the PDR Pricing Matrix Work?
The PDR cost matrix is straightforward. In a few steps, it will give you a basic estimate for the paintless dent repair.
Format of the Cost Matrix
The PDR cost matrix lists all of the panels on the vehicle in a column on the left side. Most versions of the pricing matrix start with the hood and roof and then move through the other panels like roof rails, left front and rear doors, left and right fenders, etc.
Across the top of the chart are categories of severity based on how many dents there are on a panel.
For example, light damage might be between 6 and 15 dents and moderate damage from 16 to 30 dents per panel.
Within each category are columns for the size of the dents. The size categories are dime, nickel, quarter, and half dollar.
Based on the number of dents and their average size, the pricing matrix gives a dollar amount per panel.
For example, a left rear door panel with moderate (16 to 30 dents), nickel-sized damage might cost $200. If the same number of dents were quarter-sized, the estimate increases to $225.
The pricing matrix also has a column to add R&I if necessary. Insurance companies use “book time” to determine how much they’ll pay for R&I. Our PDR technician also uses book time for the estimate, so that your insurance will cover the full cost.
Adding Markup Costs
Some types of vehicles or types of damage require a price markup. The additional cost is because they are more difficult to repair. For example, if a panel is made of aluminum or high-strength steel, the markup is 25%.
Here are a few popular upcharges:
Any dents bigger than half-dollar size is considered an oversized dent, and costs $40 extra, per dent.
Aluminum and High-Strength Steel (HSS)
If a panel is made of aluminum or high-strength steel, it will require extra work to smooth out the dents, therefore require more cost – 25% extra. For example, 15 quarter-size dents on the hood normally cost $175. But if the hood is aluminum, it will cost $175 x (1+25%) = $218.75
If the PDR process requires the glue-pull technique, to apply specific hot glue to a tab that is on to the damaged area and then pull the glue tab to lift dents, it requires 25% extra cost.
Other reasons for markups include:
- Double metal, which applies to the roof rails
- Extended or tall roof, like an SUV, van, or extended cab truck
Combining the initial estimate from the PDR pricing matrix with any R&I charges and additional markups gives the total estimate.
PDR Cost Matrix Calculator
Digital PDR cost matrix charts are increasingly popular. If you are looking for a rough PDR estimate, try the StormWise Hail Repair Cost Estimator.
Other Components of Your Hail Damage Repair Estimate
In addition to the cost per panel that the PDR pricing matrix gives, several other factors affect the total amount of the estimate. The cost of replacement parts, charges for repairing paint damage, and sales tax can also factor into the price.
If the hail damaged parts of your vehicle that will need replacement, the part replacement cost will be part of your estimate.
Parts that often need a replacement include the headlights and taillights, windshield, and moldings under the windows. The parts cost is the retail price for whatever parts the PDR shop has to buy.
Paint Damage Repair
If the hail damaged your vehicle’s paint, you’ll need conventional repair after the paintless dent repair. PDR removes the dents as much as possible. Then a body tech fills and sands the panel. Finally, a painter repaints the panel.
Book time determines the body time and refinish time. Book time also specifies how much the repair shop should charge for paint and materials.
Sales tax will vary by state, county, and city. In Colorado, you’ll pay sales tax on the total bill minus the charges for labor.
How Much Does PDR for Hail Damage Cost?
Estimates of the average cost of PDR for hail damage range from $2,500 to more than $10,000. Your cost could be higher or lower because of the many factors that go into determining the total repair cost. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, your insurance should pay for the repair after you pay the deductible.
Getting the Best Estimate
When you need hail damage repair for your vehicle, you want to be sure you’re getting an honest estimate from a reputable PDR shop. Don’t settle for a low-ball offer from the shop that your insurance company told you to use. Insurance regulations let you use any repair shop you choose.
StormWise has been in the industry since 1997. We offer fair and honest pricing. Our estimates use the same PDR pricing matrix and book time that the insurance companies use, so your insurance will cover your claim.
Contact us today for a free quote. We’ll make the PDR process fast, easy, and convenient.