Short Answer: The cost to repair hail damage will depend on several factors, including the type of insurance you have, the number and size of dents from the hail, the parts of your car that were damaged, and whether or not you are able to negotiate with your insurance company. If your insurance covers the damage, you will only be responsible for paying your deductible. If your insurance does not cover it or if the damage repair costs are less than your deductible, you will need to pay for it yourself. A few small dents can be repaired for as little as $125, and several, larger dents can cost up to $600. Replacing a windshield can cost anywhere from $150 to $300. For more about the cost of repairing hail damage, see below.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair Hail Damage?
Hail storms are unpredictable, and they can cause serious damage to vehicles that can be expensive to fix. If you’ve discovered hail damage on your car, the first thing you should do is get a damage appraisal estimate before contacting your insurance company. 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 don’t surpass your deductible, there’s really no reason to report the damage to insurance — you’ll have to pay the entire deductible anyway and fill out paperwork.
Will Your Insurance Cover the Repairs?
Insurance coverage of hail damage will depend on the type of insurance you have. Comprehensive coverage protects even against non-crash related events, so it covers a number of environmental catastrophes — including hail damage. A liability policy, on the other hand, does not cover hail damage. It will always state the policy type on your insurance card, but if you’re not sure what kind of plan you have, call your insurance provider and ask as soon as possible.
It is also possible that even with comprehensive coverage, the damage to your car may be such that your insurance won’t cover it. This can happen when the hail damage isn’t severe enough to reach your deductible (most deductibles are between $250 and $750). If you have comprehensive coverage, you’ll have to pay your comprehensive deductible. Minor hail damage may not warrant an insurance claim because the cost isn’t going to surpass your deductible.
Note: Some minor hail dents tend to work themselves back out if you leave your car in the sun for a few days. So, if your car is very lightly damaged, nature may fix the problem for you.
Average Costs by Car Part
Some auto 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 an idea of how much repairs would cost. PARS provides the estimated repair prices in the table below. Remember, these hail damage repair costs are approximate and will vary between body shops.
Replacement Glass Cost
Most windshield replacements cost around $150 to $300. Windshields break so often that replacements are readily available and the installation is fairly easy for a professional. In general, larger sheets of glass are more expensive to replace.
Side window replacement and back window replacement vary greatly from vehicle-to-vehicle, but in some cases, you may be able to do the repair yourself. Replacing side windows is the easiest of all glass replacements because these windows don’t need to be sealed into the body of the car. You may even be able to find a replacement window at your local junkyard.
How to Get the Best Estimate
There are a few things you can do to keep your repair estimate low — especially if you only have liability coverage and you’ll be responsible for fixing the car yourself.
- First, gather several estimates from different body shops. Use the different 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. It is not a good idea to give a mechanic free rein to do whatever they think is necessary. Many shops and mechanics will suggest additional (often unnecessary) work and repairs to increase your total price.
- Last, if your insurance allows, you can use aftermarket or used parts instead of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, since aftermarket/used parts will be much cheaper but function the same as OEM parts.
The Claims Process
After determining that you have comprehensive coverage and that the hail damage exceeds your deductible, you should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. After you’ve called your insurer, take plenty of pictures of the hail-damaged areas. Include these pictures with your claim forms, along with any notes you feel are important.
Your insurance company will provide you with further instructions for finding a repair shop. It may have restrictions on which body shops you can go to, or it 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, and gather as much information as possible so you can be ready to provide your insurance company with this information.
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 money. If the preliminary offer is insufficient, you can use the estimates you gathered to negotiate a higher payout. Once you’ve met your deductible, the price for the repair isn’t a huge concern for you — you just want to make sure it’s done right.
Impact on Insurance Rates
If you have comprehensive coverage, hail damage usually won’t negatively affect your premium. Generally, insurers understand that environmental damage is out of your control. On the other hand, the more claims you file with your insurance — especially if you file multiple claims in a short span of time — your insurer might consider you a higher risk and your rate could increase. Because of this, it’s a good idea to always get a hail damage repair cost estimate before contacting your insurance.
Hail damage can lower the value of your car, even if there are just a few dents or blemishes. When getting hail damage repaired, it’s a good idea to repair all dents (even those unrelated to the hail) if you’re looking to eventually resell, if you’re still paying off the loan, or if the car is a lease. If the car is paid off and you have no intention of reselling, you may not even bother with repairs at all, especially if the damage is minor.
The title of your car won’t be affected by minor hail damage. However, if the insurance company declares your car a total loss (i.e., the cost of the repairs would exceed the value of the car), your car will be issued a salvage title, which drastically reduces the value of the car. If your insurance company declares your car a total loss, you will likely want to consider giving up the car and taking what money the insurance company offers you.
For more information, our article explains how much hail impacts a car’s value and what to do if your car is totaled by hail.
Hail Damage Prevention
The best way to save on hail damage is to prevent it before it happens. There are a few things you can do 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 blankets or towels if you know a storm is coming.
- Park your car in an enclosed area or garage when possible.
- It may be worth paying extra for covered parking at your apartment or condo complex if it saves you money on hail damage repairs.
- Know where the nearest parking garage is to use in case of an emergency.
- 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 hail protection gadgets for your car.
Beware: Hail Damage Repair Scams
After a hailstorm, there may be fraudulent hail damage repair people who try to lure you in with “new” or “cheap” dent-removal methods. Some will set up tents and claim to use a whole host of new dent-removal techniques. They may use 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 fraction of the price. They may falsify a 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. Note that if you do this, you will be committing fraud.
As a general rule, you will want to 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. They will use catchy sales pitches that tell you “all your neighbors” are getting their roofs replaced or cars fixed one certain way. When in doubt, you can consult your insurance company.
If you are proactive in seeking estimates, you can likely get a reasonable price for repairing any hail damage to your car. If you have comprehensive coverage insurance, you will only be responsible for paying the deductible. If you only have liability insurance, you will have to pay for the full repairs yourself, if the damage is severe enough that you even want to repair it at all. In general, repairing a few, small dents to easily accessible parts can cost under $150, and repairing several, larger dents can cost nearly $600. Windshield replacements can cost around $150 to $300. To lessen the impact of hail damage, you can take preventative measures like parking in a garage or purchasing a hail cover for your car.