It's summer time, and that means hail storms are more likely to form. With them, they can bring damaging hail stones that can hit the ground going as fast as 90 miles per hour. And while many vehicles survive hail storms without any notable damage, some storms are just too tough for vehicles to manage, leaving serious damage in their wake. Find out common problems caused by hail damage -- and what you can do to fix them.
Problems Caused by Hail Damage
Hail stones, if they hit your vehicle hard enough in the right places, can leave marks, sometimes even deep pits in your vehicle's exterior. On some vehicles, pitting is purely cosmetic and will not require any repair (unless, of course, you want to make your vehicle look better). But on other vehicles, the pitting can be so deep and damaging that it can lead to further problems.
If dents and dings from the hail are deep enough to cause paint damage or even reach bare metal, you could have a serious problem. With paint imperfections and exposed metal, your vehicle is much more likely to rust, and you'll need to take care of it right away.
Professional Hail Damage Repair
After a big hail storm, it's usually easy to get help repairing hail damage on your vehicle. Often, specialists will send in technicians that can quickly work through hail cases. Of course, the repair will depend on the extent of damage your vehicle has received from the hail.
For most hail damage, paintless dent repair will be adequate. This is also known as or referred to as PDR, paintless dent removal. This repair will access the dent from the back side of the panel and reshape it back into its original condition. Most PDR repairs can be performed outside of the body shop, and often, technicians can come to your home or work to take care of it. Typically, this service costs about $75 to $150 depending on the extent of damage and the technician.
Serious hail damage including paint damage or other issues may require a body shop if you want to have it professionally repaired. This may include repairing the metal and professionally repainting the damaged area. The cost to repair serious hail dents can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $5,000.
Should You Use Insurance for Hail Damage?
If you have comprehensive insurance coverage on your vehicle, you're likely to be covered for hail damage. However, keep in mind you'll still need to pay your deductible amount, and sometimes, the cost of hail damage can be less than what you'd pay for the deductible anyway. This is often the case with minor hail damage. However, major hail damage including deep pitting and/or paint damage may be worth filing an insurance claim for.
If you file a claim on your insurance for hail, you can rest easy knowing that typically, your rates won't go up after this type of claim. Usually, claims for damages from natural events are not factored into your risk assessment because they are out of your control. However, keep in mind that a hail claim will be added to the total number of claims placed against your policy, and if you have several other claims in addition tot he hail claim, that can have an effect on your rates.
Repairing Hail Damage Yourself
Vehicles that have suffered only cosmetic pitting can often be repaired with paintless dent solutions. These include car dent repair kits and even methods including dry ice.
Hail damage that has reached the paint can be protected with touch up paint. Applying touch up paint to your vehicle's hail damage will help to protect against rust, and of course, help bring your vehicle's paint job back to its original look.
For more extensive damage, it may be necessary to replace the entire part or panel. Fortunately, some of the parts of a vehicle that are most easily damaged by hail are also the easiest to replace. These include the hood, as well as the fender and bumper -- which are often damaged because they are designed to take an impact with damage.
Preventing Hail Damage
The best way to repair hail damage is to never get it in the first place. And while it's not always possible to completely shelter your vehicle, it's a good idea to do so whenever you have the opportunity. Park in a garage if you have one available, or consider covering it with a custom fit car cover. When you're out, look for parking spots under trees, canopies, parking garages, and other shelters that can protect your vehicle's finish from the elements.