No matter how careful you are, weather happens. Hail storms are unpredictable, and they can cause serious damage to vehicles. Whether your car is hit by a few hail stones or whether your car now looks like a golf ball, fixing hail damage can be expensive. Exactly how much does hail damage repair cost? In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide to navigating car hail damage repair costs and how to get the best outcome possible — for your car and for your wallet.
How Do You Know If Your Insurance Covers Hail Damage/Does Liability Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
The hail damage repair cost will vary based on the type of insurance you possess. If you’ve discovered hail damage on your car, the first thing you should do is determine if you have comprehensive coverage car insurance or liability insurance. Comprehensive coverage protects even against non-crash related events, so it covers a number of environmental catastrophes – including hail damage. But does liability coverage cover hail damage? A liability policy does not cover hail damage. If you’re not sure what kind of plan you have, call your insurance provider and learn as soon as possible. Though it will always state the policy type on your insurance card.
Now, it is possible that even with comprehensive coverage, the damage to your car is such that even insurance isn’t going to cover it. What may happen that the hail damage isn’t severe enough to reach your deductible. Most deductibles are $250-$750. If you have comprehensive coverage, you’ll have to pay your comprehensive deductible. So minor hail damage may not warrant an insurance claim, since the cost isn’t going to surpass your deductible. But there’s a lot to find out before you decide whether you’ll get help from insurance…
How Much Does Vehicle Hail Damage Repair Cost?
It’s important to get a damage appraisal estimate before contacting insurance. You can either do this yourself or take the car to a shop. Nearly every shop will give you a free estimate. If their estimates do not surpass your deductible by at least $100, there’s really no reason to report the damage to insurance. Because you’ll have to pay the entire deductible anyway and filling out the paperwork is a chore. Skipping that alone is worth more than $100 for most people. Here’s how to give your car a hail repair appraisal. This way, you can at least get a good idea how much it’ll cost to fix.
Top tip: Some minor hail dents tend to work themselves back out after the car is left in the sun for a few days. So if your car is very lightly damaged, nature may fix the problem for you.
According to AutoWorks, it will cost approximately $30-$45 to repair small dents located in easily accessible areas like the hood, trunk, or roof. For medium-sized dents, the price per dent increases by about ten dollars, costing $40-$55, and large dents may cost $75-$80.
Some car companies or body shops provide hail damage cost estimates on their websites. PARS certified, a paintless dent removal company, has one of these sites, allowing you to get a feel of how much it would cost you to have them repair your car. PARS has estimated the numbers listed below. Remember, these hail damage repair costs are approximate and will vary between body shops. As you’ll see, roof damage is going to be the most expensive when fixing hail damage…
Hood Damage Cost
- Dime-sized: $150
- Nickel-sized: $175
- Quarter-sized: $200
- Half-dollar-sized: $225
- Dime-sized: $200
- Nickel-sized: $225
- Quarter-sized: $250
- Half-dollar-sized: $300
- Dime-sized: $250
- Nickel-sized: $275
- Quarter-sized: $300
- Half-dollar-sized: $375
Roof Damage Cost
- Dime-sized: $300
- Nickel-sized: $325
- Quarter-sized: $350
- Half-dollar-sized: $400
- Dime-sized: $375
- Nickel-sized: $400
- Quarter-sized: $425
- Half-dollar-sized: $450
- Dime-sized: $450
- Nickel-sized: $475
- Quarter-sized: $525
- Half-dollar-sized: $575
Trunk Damage Cost
- Dime-sized dents: $125
- Nickel-sized dents: $125
- Quarter-sized dents: $150
- Half-dollar-sized dents: $175
- Dime-sized: $150
- Nickel-sized: $175
- Quarter-sized: $225
- Half-dollar-sized: $250
- Dime-sized: $200
- Nickel-sized: $225
- Quarter-sized: $275
- Half-dollar-sized: $300
Replacement Glass Cost
Replacing the glass in your car isn’t as costly as you may think. Most windshields can be replaced for between $150-$300. It’s because it’s so common for windshields to break that the replacement windshields are readily available and the install is fairly easy for a pro. It’s not advised you try to do a windshield replacement on your own. Side window replacement and back window replacement vary greatly from vehicle-to-vehicle. A rule of thumb though is the larger the sheet of glass, the more expensive it is to replace. Replacing side windows are the easiest because they don’t need to be sealed into the body of the car. A novice can take this job. An easy place to find replacement side windows is at a junk yard.
Step 1 for Fixing a Hailed Vehicle: The Claims Process
After determining that you have comprehensive coverage and that the hail damage exceeds your deductible by at least $100, file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. You’ll need to fill out a form. After you’ve called your insurer, take plenty of pictures of the hail-damaged areas. Include these pictures with your claim form, along with any notes you feel are important.
Step 2: The Claims Process
Your insurance company may have restrictions on which body shops you can go to, or they may have a recommended list of body shops you will want to check out. See what each body shop guarantees when it comes to fixing your car. Gather as much information as you can and be ready to provide your insurance company with this information.
Step 3: The Assessment
The last step in the claims process is the actual assessment with your insurance company. Since hail damage is so expensive, your insurance company may be looking for ways to save themselves money. If their preliminary offer isn’t something you can take, don’t be afraid to use the estimates you gathered to argue for more payout. Pressure them until you have what you need to fully cover repairs. And once your deductible is met, the price for the repair isn’t a huge concern for you. You just want to make sure it’s done right.
How Does Hail Damage Affect the Value of Your Car?
Hail damage costs don’t always end when the damage has been fixed. Hail damage can lower the value of your car, even if there are just a couple dents or blemishes. When getting hail damage repaired, it’s a good idea to repair all dents while you’re at it if you’re looking to resell. Except if you own a tall vehicle such as an SUV, you may be fine leaving the roof dents as no one will see them. Be sure to mention it to the next buyer just so they know.
The title of your car won’t be affected by minor hail damage. However, if the insurance company declares your car a total loss, your car will go from having a clear title to a salvage title – thus drastically reducing the value of the car. If they declare the car a total loss, strongly consider giving up the car and taking what money the insurance company offers you.
Is Your Car Worth Fixing?
The answer to this question depends on the state of your car ownership. If you own the car outright, then no one else but you is concerned with the value of the car. If that’s the case, then whether or not you repair is up to you. If, however, you are still paying off a loan, it may be best to pay for repairs. In this case, your lien holder will be concerned about the value of the car they still technically own. Like was said earlier, if you want to resell your car, you’ll definitely want to get it repaired to increase your car’s value.
Hail Damage Repair Scams To Avoid
It’s not unheard of for phony hail damage repair people to pop up and try to lure you in with “new” or “cheap” dent-removal methods. One example is so-called paintless dent removers who set up tents and claim to use a whole host of new dent-removal techniques. Some of these may utilize anything from liquid nitrogen to suction cups. Scammers will try to persuade you that their methods are just as effective as those of large body shops but for a portion of the price. They may try to give you a phony repair quote, or even tell you to use the check from your insurance to pay for their cheap services and then to keep the difference for yourself. If you do this, you will be committing fraud.
As a rule, turn down door-to-door solicitors who show up after a hailstorm. They might be looking to take advantage of people who’ve never had hail damage before and don’t know what to do about it. Don’t fall prey to sales pitches that tell you “all your neighbors” are getting their roofs replaced or cars fixed one certain way. When in doubt, consult your insurance company.
Will Hail Damage Affect Your Insurance Rates?
If you have comprehensive coverage, hail damage most often will not negatively affect your premium. Generally, insurers understand that environmental damage is out of your control. Keep in mind though that the more claims you file with your insurance, the higher a risk your insurance company may consider you to be. To insurance companies, lots of claims mean lots of risk, and because of this, your rate could increase. So only file a claim if it really is your best option. This is again why you should get a hail damage repair cost estimate before talking with insurance.
Be Smart and Lower Your Estimate
Here are some things you can do to keep that estimate nice and low – especially if you only have liability coverage and you’ll be fixing the car yourself.
First, gather several estimates from different body shops. Use the differing numbers to negotiate the best price.
Second, keep in mind that body shops may overestimate in order to make it look like you got a steal when you get the actual bill. If you were expecting to pay more, you may forgive sub-par service.
Third, make sure you know exactly what is going to happen to your car. Never give a mechanic free reign to just do whatever they think is necessary. Additionally, it’s often not a good idea to ask the mechanic if there is “anything else” your car may need: they may make up a problem to fatten your bill. Unless the mechanic is your trusted mechanic.
Last, if your insurance allows, use aftermarket or used parts instead of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer parts), as aftermarket or used parts will be much cheaper and most often look or function no differently.
Hail Damage Prevention
The best way to save on hail damage is to prevent it before it happens. Here are some tips to spot potential hail storms or protect your car from damage:
- Check your weather apps for professional updates, and set alerts for big storms
- Cover your car with thick blankets or towels
- Park your car in an enclosed area when possible, or at least, under a tree
- Know where the nearest parking garage is to use in case of emergency
- You can go inside a car wash in a pinch
- If you’re going to be out of town and are leaving your car behind, make sure your car is protected as well as possible
- Invest in a hail protection car cover or other new hail protection gadgets for your car
- Strongly consider getting a garage for your car. An apartment complex, for instance, is likely to charge less than $50/month. That may be well worth it – especially if you only have liability. If you’re able, consider only getting a garage during hail season (April 15th through September 15th)
Your Complete Guide to Hail Damage Repair Costs: Conclusion
As long as you stay smart and aware, hail damage costs don’t have to put a dent in your bank account. Even if you were wondering, “Does liability insurance cover hail damage?” and you discovered that it does not, you can still sometimes get your vehicle repaired for the price it would have cost you if you had comprehensive coverage. That’s because you always have to meet that deductible anyway. Keep an eye out for scams and don’t limit yourself to one body shop or one estimate. Shop around, be confident and you can get the good deal.