5 common questions about automotive hail damage repair
Here are answers to 5 questions customers often ask about automotive hail damage repair. When your car, truck, or SUV has been in a hail storm, the damage can range from a minor inconvenience to a major repair. The repair options available will depend on how bad the hail damage is and what your insurance policy will cover.
In this article, we’ll answer these questions:
- What should I do when my car is damaged by hail?
- Do I need to clean up the broken glass?
- What are my options for hail damage repair?
- How long will it take a shop to repair hail damage?
- Can hail damage total my car, truck, or SUV?
What should I do when my car is damaged by hail?
There are three basic steps to deal with hail damage:
- Check for, and cover, any broken glass and safety equipment.
- Contact your insurance agent.
- Contact the local auto body repair shop of your choice.
1. Check for, and cover, any broken glass
When the weather is safe, look for any broken or cracked glass. Glass that is broken or significantly cracked can allow water to enter your vehicle. When this happens, repairs can become more complicated and time consuming.
Water can cause damage to the dashboard, seats, and other trim. It can also damage parts you can’t see including things like wiring connections. If you experience many days of heavy rain and an entire window has been broken out, the repair shop may need to do more extensive repairs to prevent damage from mold and mildew.
If your car, truck, or SUV window is significantly damaged, you can cover it with plastic to help prevent water from entering. If you use tape to attach the plastic, be sure it is attached to paint that has not been torn or chipped. This will reduce further damage when your shop team removes it for repair.
You should also check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and marker lights for damage. If any of these safety features are damaged, you’ll want to contact a professional before driving the vehicle in situations that require their use. If they are not functional due to hail damage, serious injury could result.
2. Contact your insurance agent about your automotive hail damage repair
When you contact your repair shop, they’ll ask if your insurance company will be working with you on the repair. Most auto insurance policies have options for how and when they will cover your claim.
Your insurance agent may ask you to provide pictures or file a claim with their team. Some insurance companies accept estimates from repair shops. If you need help working with your insurance company, a qualified auto body repair shop will usually be able to help.
If the repair shop is using the insurance company’s estimate and finds more extensive damage, the shop may file a claim supplement on your behalf (for select insurance companies). For example, if the insurance company’s estimate does not address hail or glass damage to a dashboard cover, steering wheel, or interior body panel, the shop may be able to work with your insurance agent to include repair or replacement options in your claim (depending on how your policy is set up).
3. Contact the local auto body repair shop of your choice
Different states have different laws about where you can get your car repaired.
In North Carolina, you have a legal right to take your car, truck, or SUV to the repair shop of your choice for hail damage repair. An insurance company can make recommendations but cannot require you to use a shop they choose.
Some insurers have a list of “preferred” auto body repair shops. If a shop is on the preferred list, it just means that shop agrees to use follow the insurance company’s requirements for how repairs are done. Sometimes, it means a shop has to do the repairs the way the insurance company wants them done – not the way the repair technician believes they should be done.
An insurance company’s “preferred” shop does not guarantee you a high-quality repair. It is always best to check out your auto repair shop’s reviews. We also recommend calling to discuss your repair. It will help you see whether or not the shop is willing help you get the repair you want.
Do I need to clean up broken glass from hail damage?
You do not need to clean up broken glass from hail damage to your car. A qualified auto body repair shop will be ready and able to do this as part of your auto hail damage repair.
You should be careful when you are inside a vehicle with broken glass. Even though most auto glass is made of laminated safety glass, you can still be injured if you do not take safety precautions. If you’re uncomfortable retrieving items from a car with broken glass, your auto body repair shop team can help.
What are my options for automotive hail damage repair?
An auto body repair shop has a lot of different options for repairing hail damage. The most common approach is called PDR (Paintless Dent Removal). Most repair teams will use PDR when a dent:
- is less than ¼” in size,
- has not broken the paint,
- can be accessed from both sides of the body panel, and
- is not on a body line.
Depending on the size, location, and condition of the dent, PDR may still require the shop to remove parts. For example, to repair hail damage on the roof of your car, the shop may temporarily remove the headliner.
When PDR is not possible, the shop will choose the best traditional repair option. In some cases, this may include complete replacement of the damaged parts. For example, if hail has significantly damaged the hood, it may be more cost effective to replace the hood.
Your insurance policy may limit the kinds of replacement parts your repair team can use. An experienced team can work with you to decide on the parts options available for your repair.
How long will it take a shop to repair my car’s hail damage?
Two main things that affect how long it takes for a shop to repair your car’s hail damage:
- the amount of damage your car has and
- the number of hail damage repair claims people make.
If your car, truck, or SUV has been damaged in a big hailstorm, the entire community may have experienced some damage. The earlier you are able to contact your insurance company and auto body repair shop, the earlier you will be able to have your vehicle repaired.
Auto body repair shops usually repair hail damage on a first-come, first-served basis. However, a shop may prioritize work on vehicles that require safety related repairs.
In most cases, hail damage is a visible inconvenience. Unless the hail broke or cracked the glass and other safety equipment, the vehicle will usually be safe to operate until as shop can repair the damage.
If you’re unsure about whether or not it is safe to operate your vehicle, you should always check with a qualified professional in advance.
Can hail damage total my car, truck, or SUV?
You, your auto body repair shop, and your insurance agent will agree on an estimated cost of repairs. If the estimated cost exceeds the amount the insurance company will pay, the insurance company may decide to make a payout directly to you instead of approving the repair.
This can happen if there is extensive damage from hail that includes things like body panel replacement, window replacement, interior trim replacement, glass cleanup that requires removal and reinstallation of the dashboard, and other kinds of damage such as water damage.
About Automotive Collision Specialists in Fuquay Varina, NC
Automotive Collision Specialists works with select insurance companies. In North Carolina, you have the right to choose any repair shop – not the one your insurance company requires you to use.
If you’re trying to find a good auto body repair shop near you to help with automotive hail damage repair, please give us a call. We’ve been serving neighbors in and near the local Fuquay-Varina, NC community for more than 30 years.
We’re ASE and I-CAR certified and offer a limited lifetime warranty on all the work we do. Call us today at 919-552-0333 to see how we can help!
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