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Hail Damage – What You Should Know

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hail storms can come out of nowhere, especially in Texas. Make sure you know what to do when you experience hail damage.

The best thing to do is to try to avoid hail damage altogether by parking your car or truck in a garage, carport, or other covered area.  If you are caught driving in a hail storm, remember to protect yourself first and the car second. Look for covered areas like a freeway overpass or parking garage and wait out the storm.

We hope you are able to avoid hail damage in the first place, however if you are caught in a storm and your vehicle is damaged, what do you do?

  1. Contact your insurance company and open a claim. Hail damage is typically covered by the comprehensive portion of your insurance policy. Be sure to have the following ready to provide to the insurance company:
    • Your Policy Number
    • Date and time that the loss happened
    • The location of the vehicle when the damage occurred
  2. If your car does not appear safe to drive, do not drive it.
    • Cover any broken windows using plastic and tape (do not leave this in place long term as it will damage the paint)
    • Wear protective gloves and safety glasses to clean up any debris from broken windows from the area around the vehicle
    • Arrange to have the vehicle towed to the collision repair facility of your choice. In many cases this is covered by your insurance policy.
  3. If you feel your car is safe to drive.
    • Clean any storm debris (leaves, branches, etc.) off of the vehicle. Make sure you can clearly see from the vehicle and are not endangering other drivers by having debris fall from your vehicle
    • Wear protective gloves and safety glasses  to clean any broken glass from the vehicle and vacuum any seating areas well. The small shards of glass can lodge in clothing, so be sure to wear old clothes that you can discard when you are finished.
    • Cover any broken glass with transparent 6 mm plastic (available at home improvement stores in the paint section) and tape to hold in place.
    • Make sure all lights and turn signals are intact and working.
    • Take the vehicle to the collision center of your choice.

What can you expect when your vehicle gets to the collision center?

  • Estimate – Typically hail is a large event effecting many people at once. Contact the collision center by phone in order to get a sense of their availablility. Insurance companies will make arrangements to have adjusters on site at collision centers after large hail events to handle multiple claims at one time.
  • Time to Repair – With hail effecting a large number of vehicles, it can sometimes take days or even weeks to get your vehicle repaired.  Be patient and work with the adjuster and estimator to make sure you have safe transportation during the time you are waiting.
  • Repair – Talk to the estimator at the collision center about the repair. Some hail can be repaired through a paintless dent repair process. This repairs the dent without having to re-paint the vehicle.  Paintless dent repair is a great option as it is faster, less expensive, and the vehicle retains the factory paint.  In some instances, body panels must be replaced. If this is needed, talk to the estimator and ask whether they will use factory or aftermarket replacement parts.  Factory parts are the best choice, however, your insurance company may stipulate that aftermarket parts are to be used.
  • Deductible  – You may see some collision repair facilities offer “deductible discounts” and, while we all want to save money, make sure you do your homework.  Most insurance companies will have authorized or recommended repair providers. These collision centers have agreed to meet standards set forth by your insurance company, guarantee the work performed, and warranty the repair.  The companies that offer “deductible discounts” are not held to these standards, and, in many cases, the work performed will not be guaranteed by your insurance provider.  The few dollars you save now could cost you hundreds, or even thousands, in a few years if the repair is not done right.
  • Communication – Ask the estimator how they will communicate with you during the process. Many modern shops may be able to text you updates daily. Make sure you provide the best number to contact you, as well as an email address.  Ask them how often you will be updated on the progress of the repair.

Hail is no fun but you are not alone. Work with a collision center you are comfortable with and ask the right questions and you will be back on the road with your car or truck looking great before you know it.

 

©  2016 Gunn Collision