You’re up, in a great mood, and ready to take on the day! But that all goes south when you step outside and notice that your car looks like a golf ball.
You can be a safe driver, avoiding accidents and never being a victim of theft, but your car is still susceptible to natural disasters. As climate change causes more unpredictable weather patterns, the chances of car hail damage rise.
It can be difficult to identify if something is hail damage or if it’s something else entirely. That’s why our guide is here to help. We’ll look at what hail damage is and signs that your car might have been a victim of a hailstorm.
Let’s get started.
What Is Hail Damage?
If there’s a severe storm in your area, chunks of ice smaller than peas can fall from the sky at rapid speeds. These chunks of ice could also be larger than baseballs, although it’s rarer. When those ice chunks reach the ground, they can cause significant damage.
In 2018 there were 4,610 major hailstorms, resulting in $810 million in property and crop damage. And the numbers continue to grow.
Hail is most common from March to June, and they’re common in both Texas and Colorado. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye out if you live somewhere else. Hail storms occur all over the country throughout the year.
Many people worry about their home’s roofing and siding, which can cause leaks if damaged by hail. However, it can also damage your vehicle significantly.
Signs of Car Hail Damage
The amount of damage your car will have depends on the size of the hailstones, the type of metal on your vehicle, and the profile and support. Some storms are mild, and the chunks of ice are smaller and less dense. This may not damage your car at all.
If your car is made with thick metal, this is also less likely to be damaged. Softer aluminum and bright metal trim material may be dented more easily.
When hail impacts your car, it will produce a dent with shallow sides and a slight cone shape. You might notice that the dent’s center has a crease, but the paint may not be damaged. If the paint is still intact, the dent can be removed without painting the entire vehicle.
As you continue to inspect the car, check everywhere for dents. This includes the doors, side panels, and trunk.
You’ll also want to look for any chipped, cracked, or broken windshields, windows, or mirrors. Even smaller chunks of hail can damage glass if it is coming down at several miles per hour. There might also be water damage inside the vehicle because of the broken glass.
Your doors or side mirrors might also be jammed or stuck. If you aren’t completely sure whether hail damage is the culprit, many body shops offer free inspections.
Check Insurance Policy
Unfortunately, many people assume that their insurance automatically covers hail damage. This is not always the case. If your auto policy includes comprehensive coverage, then the insurance company will pay for the repairs, minus the deductible.
The problem is, a lot of people don’t include that comprehensive coverage on their policies. That’s why it’s important to check your insurance thoroughly to ensure you are covered before trying to repair it.
Repairing Hail Damage
Speaking of auto hail repair, you’ll likely be paying out of pocket for the repairs. Your insurance will cover it if you have a comprehensive policy, but many people don’t, so let’s look at what the next step is.
You’ll obviously want to find an affordable rate as you pay for the repairs yourself. Look around for different quotes from various dealers before settling on the first repair shop you see. Generally, the more dents and damage there are, the more it’s going to cost you.
You might get frustrated by the legwork it takes to get an accurate quote. Even skilled mechanics won’t be able to give you an estimate without seeing the car in person. Luckily, this is a good sign.
Honest car repair people will need to see the extent of the hail damage, so they know how long it will take to fix and which parts are needed.
If your car is new and looking good, you’ll probably want to keep it that way and get it repaired. Hail can turn your new car and age it by several years, so this a no-brainer.
Repairing is also a good idea if you plan on selling the car in the future since hail damage will affect the trade-in value. Sometimes the damage is minuscule, and the car is older, so repair might not be an immediate thought for you, and that’s okay too.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t see the cosmetic damage, there is a chance some structural damage may have occurred. That’s why it’s important to get your car inspected, just in case.
Remember to Preventative Measures
To avoid the expense and time it takes to fix car hail damage, it’s best to take preventative measures from the get-go. You might live in an area that is prone to frequent hailstorms, be sure to keep an eye out for any upcoming storms so you can avoid leaving your car out on the road.
Knowing the signs of car hail damage can help you make the right decision for how to move forward with getting it repaired or replaced. It’ll also give you an idea of how to take action to minimize the chances of damage happening again.
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