Why Are Hail-Damaged Cars So Expensive to Fix?

If you live in Texas or Colorado, hailstorms are fairly common, popping up when you least expect them. Your vehicle could be caught in what seems like a light hailstorm, but the cost of fixing the “light” damage could still be way more than you initially thought.

Let’s explore the reasons why fixing your hail-damaged car can be on the pricey side. 

Reasons That Make Hail Damage Repair Expensive: 

The cost of repairs is relative to several factors such as:

  1. The severity of repairs
  2. Method of repair
  3. Parts replacement
  4. Labor expenses
  5. Sales tax

A reputable and experienced repair shop, such as StormWise, will break the cost down into these simple categories. Transparency is important when you’re dealing with the repair cost of a vehicle, which can quickly rack up to be expensive.

The Severity of Repairs

Say you forgot to park your car in the garage (if you have one) and all of a sudden a powerful hailstorm looms over the horizon. Hail starts crashing down in full force, one lump of ice after the other, pelting your car.

All you can do is watch through the window, and you know the aftermath is not going to be pretty. You can almost see all the dents as they happen—sometimes even cracks in your windows!

After the storm passes, you walk outside and survey the damage: sure enough, there are dents and cracks all over your car. 

After a bad hailstorm, it’s common to have hundreds of dents scattered across the hull of your car. If the damage is severe enough, you’re looking at an expensive repair job.

So, where do you go from here? What exactly makes the repair work expensive?

Method of Repair

In today’s world, paintless dent repair (PDR) is the industry-standard method for repairing hail damage dents on your vehicle. This is the most efficient and effective way to make repairs, being less intrusive and much faster than traditional dent repair.

Both PDR and traditional dent repair are difficult. PDR is particularly difficult for repairing aluminum panels. 

Because of the difficulty—the time and labor PDR uses—repairing your hail damage is going to be expensive, depending on the severity of the damage. However, the PDR method will produce the best-finished results.

PDR is also great because it doesn’t void your factory paint warranty. 

With StormWise, the PDR cost is figured by a pricing matrix, which takes into account the time and technician labor it takes to get all the repairs done. This is broken down by the panels of the vehicle: how many dents per panel, and how severe the dents themselves are—meaning how deep and wide they are.

For example, if one of your door panels has 1 to 5 quarter-sized dents, the cost to repair just that one panel would be estimated at around $100. If the number and severity of the dents are worse per panel, the price per panel will continue to increase.

After each panel of the vehicle is assessed, the PDR costs of each are added together—you then have an accurate estimate of the total repair cost.

Parts Replacement

Sometimes the hail damage is so severe that the particular damaged part is beyond repair and has to be replaced. This is figured into the total repair cost as well, and, depending on the part, the cost can get very expensive.

If a part is damaged and has to be replaced, your repair shop will simply order a new part, with the cost being the retail price of that part—plus labor.

Often, there are particular parts on your vehicle that need to be replaced if the hailstorm was bad enough. A common replacement includes the glass on vehicles, such as the headlights and taillights, the windshields and windows.

The technicians will assess the damage, figure out what needs to be replaced, and the cost of replacement is added into the repair estimate. Depending on how many parts were replaced, the cost can get on the pricey side as well.

Labor Expenses

Labor expense is a factor that ties the whole repair process together. Someone’s got to do the work, right?

In addition to what we’ve covered so far, another cost that goes along with labor expenses is removed and install cost (R&I). This cost can quickly make your repair estimate go up.

R&I entails having to remove certain parts of your vehicle in order to make adequate repairs to that part. Sometimes repairs can’t be done while the car is in one piece, so technicians have to take extra steps in the process, which will ultimately raise the repair cost.

The R&I cost varies on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the make, model, and year of the car, technicians have to search a database that consists of different cars and their parts in order to figure out the R&I time.

Figuring out this R&I time utilizes the figure, “book time,” which is the time and labor it takes to remove the part, make the repairs, and install it back onto the vehicle. The “book time” figure is used by the repair shop—as well as your insurance company—in order to calculate the final repair estimate of your vehicle.

So, again, depending on how much R&I time and general labor it takes to repair certain parts of your vehicle, the total repair cost could end up being more expensive.

Sales Tax

The final piece of the repair cost puzzle is sales tax. Along with the other cost metrics, sales tax will vary on a case-by-case basis.

This figure is calculated by where the repair shop is located, which city, town, state, etc. If you happen to live in Colorado, the only sales tax you have to pay is on your vehicle itself and not on labor costs.

Make Sure You Have Comprehensive Insurance!

When shopping around for auto insurance coverage, make sure you include a comprehensive plan. With comprehensive coverage, any damage that occurs to your vehicle outside of your control—such as hail damage—should be covered by your insurance company.

Remember that your insurance company is also involved in the repair process, and they have their own methods of assessment when it comes to estimating the cost. 

Don’t Pay Too Much!

When it comes to the final repair cost of your hail-damaged vehicle, you want to be sure it’s a fair price. Sometimes it’s a chore to work with certain insurance companies, but if you are working with an experienced, reputable repair company like StormWise, they can ensure you’ll get a fair estimate.

They take the time to accurately assess all the damage, taking into account each of the aforementioned cost metrics, going over the details with fine-toothed precision. After adding it all together, they will provide your insurance company with an accurate estimate.

StormWise will make sure every bit of the cost is covered by insurance if you have a comprehensive coverage plan. 

If you have hail damage on your vehicle, you can use the dent repair cost estimator here through StormWise!

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