A hail storm can wreak havoc on unprotected vehicles at any time of year. When your car has been spotted with dents due to hail, you may be entitled to insurance compensation for damages.
If you have a comprehensive auto insurance plan, you most likely have coverage for incidences like vandalism, theft, and natural disasters. In many cases, all you have to do is pay your deductible for repairs and your insurance company will cover the rest.
Filing an insurance claim for hail damage is easy! Here’s how…
Step 1: Document the damage
The first step to filing a hail damage insurance claim is to record the time and date of the storm as soon as possible after it hits. The longer you delay, the more likely it is that the insurance company might take issue with the timing and try to claim that the dents are from different circumstances. Once it is safe to go outside, check all the areas of your car for dents. Take pictures and, if possible, put a timestamp on those pictures. Having both written AND photographic proof will only help your claim. The insurance company will want as many details as possible in order to approve the claim in a timely and efficient manner.
Step 2: Contact your insurance as soon as possible after the hail storm
Once again, it’s important that you take the information you have gathered to your insurance company in a timely manner after your car has been affected. Call the company that you do business with and let them know that your vehicle has been damaged in a recent storm. Be prepared to answer several questions. The more detailed your responses are, the better it is for your claim.
Step 3: Schedule an inspection with an adjuster
The insurance company may want to schedule an appointment with one of their own adjusters. A tip when choosing the place to assess the damage is to have the vehicle examined inside of a garage as opposed to outside in the sun. With dent damage, the sun can easily create some inaccuracies because of the reflection. Try to pick a place inside a garage and away from the elements to aid in a more accurate claim.
Or you can request the claim adjuster inspect your vehicle at our facility! Harvestowne Auto Body is equipped with specialized lighting to look for hail damage. This will ensure a more accurate inspection and eliminate cause for re-inspections and repair delays.
Step 4: Beware of “steering”
Once you have been approved for an insurance claim on hail damage, you are now free to have your vehicle repaired. It’s imperative to understand that, by law, you are entitled to choose whichever auto body repair shop that you want. There is a tactic that many insurance adjusters are known for leveraging called “steering.” Steering is a term used to sum up what insurance companies call a Direct Repair Program (DRP). A DRP is an agreement made between insurance companies and select automotive repair shops to aid in obtaining more claims by lowering rates.
Insurance companies have been known to lead their clientele into thinking that they must use the auto body shop that they recommend in order for the settlement to be issued. Some will not guarantee the quality of the repair if the auto body shop that was chosen is not one they recommend. This is simply not the case. Guarantees on the quality of hail damage repairs come from the repair shop, not the insurance adjuster. This “steering” tactic is unethical, and you deserve to know your rights.
Finally, if the auto body shop of your choice quotes higher than the one the insurance company recommended, an adjuster may sometimes claim that you owe the difference between the two estimates. By law, the insurance provider must pay reasonable and customary repair charges. Do not be swindled! Know your rights and choose a repair shop that you are comfortable with.
Step 5: Select a dent repair shop
When selecting a dent repair shop, you’ll want to shop around: ask your friends and family for referrals, check with the BBB, look at the reviews, check out their rates, and so on. Once you have done your homework, choose an auto body shop that will also treat your car right.
Indicate to your insurance company your preferred auto body repair shop. It’s not unusual for your repair mechanic to request an examination of the damage before getting to work on it in order to ensure that the insurance estimate was made accurately and that you’ve been quoted a fair settlement. If there are any discrepancies in what the adjuster quoted and what your mechanic has found, usually the mechanic will address them by dealing with your insurance company directly.
Step 6: Get the vehicle repaired!
After everything checks out and you’re all ready to bring in your car for repairs, don’t wait! If you ignore the dents, you run the risk of further damage and rusting. Take it in as soon as possible.
Certain parts of the world are more susceptible to hail than others. Hail can damage your car as well as your home. There is little you can do to prevent the damage, but there is plenty you can do to fix it. This type of damage usually isn’t too problematic, but you’ll still want to fix it to avoid future issues from developing.
Using Heating and Cooling
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 1
Park your vehicle in a sunny area. This is a popular technique with car enthusiasts. Heat will cause the metal to expand. As the metal expands, the small dents will pop out. Using nature’s oven will take a long time if you aren’t in a very warm place.
The longer your vehicle is exposed to warm sunlight, the more likely this technique will work.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 2
Apply hot air to the dents. If you're unable to expose your vehicle to the heat of the sun, you can use a hair dryer. Hold the hair dryer 5 to 7 inches away from the dents for two minute intervals. Carefull not to touch the dryer directly on the car.
If the vehicle's paint begins to discolor, stop applying heat immediately. Use wax or a rubbing compound to restore the paint’s color.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 3
Apply dry ice to the dents. The drastic change in temperature should cause the dents to pop out. Dry ice can damage your skin, so wear gloves when handling dry ice. Move the ice around the dented area to rapidly cool the area.
This technique can be a great solution, but sometimes there'll still be remnants of the dents after popping. Additional repairs may be required.
Applying Kits or Professional Services
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 4
Consider buying a kit. Dent repair kits can be reused depending on the kit. Consider the average amount of hail your area gets. If you frequently find dents after a hailstorm, consider buying a kit.
Dent removal kits can typically be found at your local auto supply store.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 5
Buy a dent puller. These are simple and cheap tools that use suction to remove dents. They are one of the more common kits for users not as experienced with self repairs.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 6
Use other kits. There are other types of kits that use suction and a glue gun to remove the dents. These kits sometimes require more patience and steps, but can potentially have better results. They use an arched bridge system combined with a safe adhesive.
Image titled Drive a Car in Winter Weather Step 8
Take the vehicle to a body shop. If you have insurance that covers hail damage, contact your insurance company to file a claim. Dent repairs are a cheap fix, and you're guaranteed the cleanest job.
Consider asking the body shop personnel to use used parts, if needed. This will reduce your expenses.
Identifying Hail Damage on a House
Image titled Protect Your Car from Hail Step 4
Look at the weather. If you were out and unaware of a hail storm, check your past weather forecast. This can be a simple confirmation of whether your property was subject to hail. Hail can damage the roof of a house just as dramatically as your vehicle.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 9
Examine asphalt shingles. Hail will have a different effect to the different types of roofs. For asphalt shingles you'll notice random damage with no succinct pattern. The hail impressions will probably be black in color. You might also notice a loss of granules and the asphalt will appear shiny.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 10
Examine wood shingles. Again like the asphalt shingles, hail causes random damage without a clear pattern. Look for a split in the shingle that is a brown/orange color. Also look for splits that have sharp corners or splits that have little to no deterioration around the edges.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 11
Inspect clay tiled roofs. Clay tiles, also known as terra cotta roofs, commonly feature multiple fractures centered around a common impact point. The most sensitive sections of the roof are the corners and the overlays along the edges of the tiles.
Clay tiles are easy to spot because they usually have a clear break.
Image titled Repair Hail Damage Step 12
Inspect metal roofs. Metal paneled roofs will rarely be punctured by hail. This style of roof is one of the sturdiest made. They seldom become dented because of the material and its proximity to the surface below. You’ll experience functional damage if the seams or edges of the panels become damaged. This will allow moisture to seep through.
Metal shingles damage much like asphalt shingles, and are much less resilient than metal panels.
Filing for House Insurance
Image titled Protect Your Car from Hail Step 7
Confirm the damage was hail. Once you notice that your roof has been damaged, you'll need to make sure that the cause was hail. If you experience a serious storm, suspect that it hailed and potentially damaged your roof.
Inspect your roof after a storm.
Look for other indicators around your property for signs of hail.
If you’re renting, contact your landlord if you suspect hail damage.
Image titled Protect Your Car from Hail Step 3
Document what you can. You don't need to get a ladder and photograph your roof up close. Take pictures of your house and roof after a storm. Document the hail itself if it's available on the ground.
Image titled React if a Power Line Falls on Your Car Step 3
Schedule an inspection. Use a reputable roofing company to inspect your roof for a quote. Be careful choosing a roofing contractor. There are many unauthorized companies that can lead to fraud. Only deal with a "factory-certified" roofing contractor.
Image titled Drive a Car in Winter Weather Step 18
Be home when they inspect. Make sure you are around so you can tell them that no repairs are to be done. Reinforce that they are only there for an inspection. Request the contractor to outline with chalk any damaged areas.
Listen for any noises of the roofer trying imitate hail damage onto your roof.
Don’t sign anything.
Image titled Make a Secret Hideout in Your Closet Step 22
File your claim. Locate your homeowner's insurance policy. Organize all the facts and documents gathered about the specifics of the damage. You'll be assigned a claim number by your insurance company. Each insurance company handles the aftermath differently. Be sure your insurance will cover all damages before hiring a contractor.
You're helping people by reading wikiHow
wikiHow's mission is to help people learn, and we really hope this article helped you. Now you are helping others, just by visiting wikiHow.
The Wikimedia Foundation aims to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content in the public domain. In coordination with a network of individual volunteers and independent movement organizations, the foundation has created a movement with over 30 million registered contributors who work together to share the sum of all human knowledge with every person on the planet.
Click below to let us know you read this article, and wikiHow will donate to the Wikimedia Foundation on your behalf. Thanks for helping us achieve our mission of helping people learn how to do anything.