Hail damage repair process – a step-by-step guide for car owners
Hail damage is every car owner’s worst nightmare. The storm may pop up unexpectedly and out of nowhere, and if you are not anywhere around your vehicle when the warning comes or the car is parked outdoors when the disaster strikes, there is a strong chance that you will have to deal with a certain level of damage.
The size, character, and severity of the dents left by hail will depend on several factors, from the overall condition of your car and its paint job at the moment to the size and duration of the storm itself.
However, you may have to deal with dents, paint chips, and scratches that will definitely affect the overall aesthetics and resale value of your vehicle or even cause long-term structural damage that may even make the car unsafe to drive.
Nevertheless, this kind of severe damage to the car’s body, as well as cracks on mirrors, lights, and glass, is not that often. That is why in most cases, car owners feel tempted to skip all the hustle and bustle of dealing with insurance and to search for a body shop and try various DIY hail damage repair tips from YouTube. Unfortunately, in many cases, these techniques are not only ineffective but may even be dangerous for the vehicle and the person who tries them.
Here at OHS Body Shop, we often see the consequences of such DIY projects and have to admit that the car owners would manage to save a great deal of time, money, and effort if they simply dealt with hail damage “by the book” instead of trying to cut corners.
In this article, we shall provide a step-by-step guide to proper hail damage repair.
Step 1 – Call your insurance company
The first impulse you may have after noticing hail damage on your vehicle is to go straight to the nearest body shop and see how much the repairs cost. However, once you are counting on your insurance policy to cover the costs, it is essential to know whether hail damage is included in your case.
There are 3 main types of car insurance policies and, unfortunately, not all of them will work if your car is damaged by a hailstorm:
- Collision coverage – as you may guess from the name, this type of coverage implies only damage caused by collision. Natural disasters like hail are not included;
- Liability coverage – will work in case you injure or damage another person or vehicle in an accident. Once again, no coverage for natural disasters;
- Comprehensive coverage – covers practically all sorts of damage, including natural disasters, fire, etc. That is why it is called comprehensive.
The good news, your insurance company will probably be aware that a hailstorm went through your area and, therefore, will be ready to answer all your questions and provide all the information you may need. While talking to your agent, make sure to ask about the deductibles of your policy. Sometimes it may be more cost-efficient to pay for the repairs yourself.
Step 2 – Find a reliable body shop
As minor, as they may seem at first sight, hail damage dents can be pretty tricky to fix and cause a lot of headaches once the repairs are done wrong. That is why it is essential to find a reliable and reputable body shop with a professional team of mechanics who will evaluate the damage thoroughly and suggest the best repair procedure.
In most cases, Hail damage is fixed using the Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) technique. In this case, the mechanic will use metal rods of different shapes and sizes to physically push the dents from underneath the car’s body and smooth the shape.
While pretty popular and generally inexpensive, PDR requires a lot of experience and knowledge from the technician who performs it. It is another reason to look for a reputable body shop that will offer not only the services of qualified and certified technicians but also a post-repair guarantee. You should also keep in mind that in some cases, PDR may not be enough as the hail may damage the paint job, windows, lights, etc.
If you are looking for a Body Shop that will help you save a great deal of time, money, and energy by providing a wide range of services, contact OHS Body Shop or visit one of our branches located all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley, in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson.
Our team of professionals will be happy to provide all sorts of repair services and help you get back on the road as soon as possible.