When the storm is over and it’s safe to go outside, you’ll want to visually inspect your vehicles. More often than not, you’ll only have to deal with pea-sized (or smaller) hail. On the other hand, bigger pellets (more than a quarter’s size), you can likely expect at least minor damage.
Step #1: Contact a Reputable Auto Hail Repair Shop
Of course, the initial step would be to look for dents in the doors, panels, or hood as you inspect your car. You should also look for cracks in your windows, windshield, and mirrors. If you see more severe cracks, be sure to look for water inside the vehicle, as that can lead to internal water damage. Also, remember to check mirrors to see if they’re loose or jammed, which indicates they were hit pretty hard.
If you do spot hail damage on your car, contact a reputable auto hail repair shop right away. Not all auto body shops are created equal, so make sure you do your homework and call around. Aside from asking friends and family for recommendations, you can also call your insurance company for suggestions.
Step #2: Contact Your Insurance Company
Always contact your insurance company when hail damage is involved if you intend to get it repaired. They need to be kept in the loop as soon as possible to document the claim and process it all in a timely manner.
There are car hail damage repair shops that can actually contact your insurance company on your behalf. They will handle all of the communication and filing, so you won’t need to lift another finger until it’s time to take your car home.
Step #3: Get Repairs Done ASAP
It’s a good rule of thumb to get repairs done as soon as possible. There are reasons for this, but mainly, it keeps your insurance provider happy. If you report hail damage and get it repaired soon after, insurance companies would appreciate the sense of urgency. Why? It lessens the chances for fraudulent damage claims to be filed later on.
If you wait too long to get repairs done, there’s also a chance your insurance company may not cover the repairs. You’ll need to check with your state’s laws, but many have a statute of limitations where filing for a claim is only possible for a limited amount of time after the event.
Step #4: Opt for Paintless Dent Repair
Many times, you can opt for paintless dent repair. Paintless dent repair is the fastest way to get dents and dings out of your car’s body. After your repair shop checks out the damage—and depending on the damage—they’ll be able to recommend PDR or traditional repairs.
PDR is an excellent choice to restore your car’s body without affecting the original paint job. Today’s technology makes it possible to pull dents out without cracking the paint. On the off chance that the hail cracked the paint when it hit your car, you’d need a more traditional repair. The auto repair shop should let you know what you’re looking at, though.
Step #5: Avoid Roadside Auto Repair Tents
Roadside auto repair tents are huge traps. They’ll often tell you it won’t cost a thing to fix a ding or crack in your windshield—or that spot on the side of your car that needs to be fixed. While some may actually know what they’re doing, most of them can cause more significant problems later on.
For example, those windshield repairs are sent to your insurance companies, which now go on record as a claim. That claim isn’t registered as having been caused by hail damage and can have a negative impact on your driving record instead. The same goes for those roadside dent repairs or quick paint repairs. They’re just not worth the impact on your insurance record.
A Few Last Words on Completing Hail Repair
Hail damage can lead to costly repairs, so you always want to ensure it’s taken care of correctly. That means going somewhere reputable and keeping your insurance company updated on what happened as well as the required repairs and procedures. The shop will tell you more about your damage, and the insurance company will help ensure that the work is being accomplished according to the highest standards.