How can I spot hail damage on my car?

Even if you are a safe driver and are lucky enough to avoid accidents, and you never fall prey to costly vandalism or theft, your vehicle can be badly damaged by other disasters. Fires can destroy a car, and torrential rains, melting snow, and flash floods can cause flood damage in many parts of the country. You are most at risk for damage from another natural disaster, hail storms, if you live in the nation’s Hail Alley.

The Hail Alley refers to the Great Plains states, including Colorado and Wyoming, that receive the most hail per year. The months of May and June are most likely to see later afternoon thunderstorms that produce hail ranging from pea-size to quarter-size to golf-ball size and even to softball size.

Needless to say, this kind of ice can cause serious damage, including to an exposed car. Knowing how to recognize hail damage to your vehicle and how to select an auto service shop for the repairs can help you overcome unpredictable hailstorms without lasting damage and with the possible cost.

Learn the Signs of Hail Damage

During a hail storm, chunks of ice fall haphazardly out of the sky at many miles per hour. Pieces of hail can strike your car, causing minor or major damage. If your car was parked on the street or in your driveway instead of a covered garage during the storm, inspect it for hail damage when the storm has passed and you can safely go outside. These might be some of the signs of hail damage.

  • Dents in the hood, doors and sides of the car, or trunk.
  • Cracked or broken windshield, windows, or mirrors.
  • Missing or cockeyed mirrors – they may have been knocked off by hail.
  • Dented or stuck doorjambs.

Getting a Quote and Choosing a Vehicle Service Shop for Repairs

In many cases, you will be paying out of pocket for the repairs for hail damage to your car. This can be for the following reasons.

  • You have only collision insurance to cover accidents, and not comprehensive insurance.
  • The hail damage is minor enough so that the cost to repair it is lower than the value of your deductible.
  • You have a collectible car that requires special insurance.
  • You are afraid that the claim will lead to higher premiums.

Getting a fair price on your auto repairs is even more important when you are paying for the repairs yourself. Take some time to compare quotes from various dealers before settling on one auto service shop.

Getting an accurate quote can take some legwork. You can start by contacting garages by telephone, but even the most skilled mechanics will not be able to quote an accurate price without seeing the car in person. Before providing a quote, an honest car repair person will need to inspect the hail damage to be able to judge the extent of the damage, how long the job will take, and which parts are needed.

You also want to go in person to be sure that you are selecting a shop that makes you feel comfortable. Customer service should be attentive, you should receive a warranty on parts and a guarantee on service, and you should feel as though the mechanics are trustworthy and competent.

Hail Damage and Your Vehicle’s Value

You might wonder whether fixing your vehicle’s hail damage is even worth the effort and cost. If you are planning to resell your car, eliminating the signs of damage can improve its value. Luckily, in most states, the hail damage does not require hail damage to be noted on the car’s title. This means that you can fix the hail damage and still expect a fair price when you resell your car.