Hailstorms can seem to come out of the blue. Sometimes, those sudden hail storms come at the expense of your vehicle.
If your car has been hit with hail, don’t panic. Know that with the right course of action, you can get the car repaired quickly and reliably.
Follow these steps after a hailstorm to restore your car to its prior condition.
Step One: Document the Damage.
Immediately after the hailstorm, take photos of the damage to your car. Having this record of the damage can be very useful when dealing with insurance companies and working to get your claim check.
Taking photos of the hail damage (and, truly, any damage to your car) will strengthen your claim by boosting your credibility. The photos are evidence that the damage did occur as a result of the storm and that your claim is valid. Ultimately, the photos could lessen the number of hoops that you have to jump through to receive funds from your insurance company.
Step Two: Call Your Auto Insurance Company.
Your very first step after noticing hail damage to your car should be to call your insurance company. Depending on the type of car insurance policy that you have, the cost of repairs may be partially or fully covered.
Typically, auto insurance policies that provide comprehensive coverage cover damage due to hail, storms, and other “acts of nature”. Liability-only coverage, on the other hand, wouldn’t cover the cost of hail damage repairs for your car.
Nonetheless, it’s worth it to speak to a representative from your insurance company about your coverage. Even if hail damage isn’t covered in your policy, they may be able to provide you with options going forward.
If hail damage is covered in your insurance policy, report the damage to your insurance company. You’ll need to provide the date of the storm and basic information about the damage.
Step Three: Have The Damage Appraised.
Now, your insurance company will need an appraisal of the hail damage to your car. They may offer appraisal services and send an adjuster directly to you. Or, they may have you go to an auto repair shop and send an adjuster there. The adjuster will evaluate the damage to your vehicle and provide an estimate for the repair expenses.
Note that your auto service provider can often help with the insurance claim process. This may save you time and frustration as you work to get your claim approved.
Quick Tip: Clean Your Vehicle Before The Appraisal.
After a hail storm, your vehicle may look seriously battered. While you can’t undo dents and dings, you can give the exterior of your car a quick wash. A cleaning may not have a big impact on the appraisal, but it can ensure that you get the best possible estimate. Without a layer of dirt and grime, the appraiser will be able to see all of the hail damage clearly.
What If It’s Totaled?
If the value of your car after it’s been damaged by hail is deemed lower than the damage amount, it’s totaled. In this case, it will make more financial sense to purchase a new car than to pay for the repairs.
If your car is still driveable, you can ask your insurance company to buy it for the salvage value. With this option, you’ll get some compensation from the insurance company and can continue to drive your car, hail damage and all. This isn’t a long-term solution, but may bridge the gap until you can buy a new car.
Step Four: Schedule the Repairs.
Once your vehicle has been appraised, your claim can be approved by the insurance company and the repairs can be scheduled. At this point, you’ll pay the repair shop the deductible along with the insurance compensation.
Leaving hail damage unrepaired can lower your car’s resale value. This is mainly because unaddressed hail damage can lead to rust and impact the body of the car. So, if your car has been hit with hail, don’t put off the repair process. While it may seem daunting now, you’ll thank yourself later.