Hailstorms Don’t Have To Leave A Big Dent In Your Wallet

Warmer weather has arrived, and that means hailstorms are working their way across the country, leaving dented, dinged, and damaged cars in their wake.

Is the car ready to face Mother Nature this spring?  Have you got the right insurance to recover from any damages?  And how can you get your vehicle restored to pre-storm condition without putting a dent in your budget?

Car Craft Oakville has seen and repaired lots of automobiles damaged by hailstorms. We’d like to provide the following guidance to help car owners handle hailstorms:

After getting hail damage, the very first thing to do is contact your insurance provider before consulting a mechanic shop.  Many times, if there's a very big storm, the insurance companies will call in what’s referred to as a Catastrophe Team.  If you’re driving around town and you’re getting lots of estimates, sadly, it is going to be a lot of wasted time for you.  The insurance firms are going to want you to go and have their Catastrophe Teams see it, begin the claim process, and you'll be able to bring it to Car Craft Oakville or any auto body shop, and they’re going to work with the insurance companies from there to ensure that all the dents and dings get fixed on your car.

Even when you don’t believe your automobile was damaged too seriously, it is essential that you have it checked asap. There can be lots of damage that you cannot see when you’re just visually looking at it.  Whenever you get it beneath some lights, and you actually look at it, there are a lot of dents that you will not see until you possibly go to trade your vehicle in, and then you’re going to be stuck with a lot of hail damage.  Your best option is to get a claim processed, and get it into a qualified collision repair center, and have them really look over the car carefully.  Once you get it inside and under the florescent lights, what you thought was only 10 or 15 dents ends up being 50 to 100 dents.

auto body oakville missouri mehlville mo collision repair hail damage paintless dent removalCheck Your Coverage

The time to review your car insurance is not when you hear the hail hitting your car.  Read your policy now to understand what is and isn’t covered, what the deductibles are, if you have rental coverage and what to do whenever the storm hits.

Comprehensive coverage shields against most damage from natural disasters.  Two other options to consider are gap coverage – which pays the difference between what you owe on your loan and what the car is worth -- and rental reimbursement.

One warning – if you submitted a previous damage claim and got a check from your insurer, but didn’t have the automobile repaired – the insurance company will deduct this amount from your estimate for the storm damage, and bill a second deductible, as well.

Protect Your Vehicle

Once you know that a hailstorm is on the way, get your automobile to higher ground or under cover.  If you do not have a garage at home, find a covered public parking garage to protect your automobile.  If you have to park your car outside, park it on as high of ground as possible away from trees and telephone poles.

For hail storms, cover your vehicle in an old blanket and a car cover from your local automotive retailer – before the storm hits.  This will provide some protection for your hood, roof, and rear deck-lid. If a storm comes up swiftly, search for an awning at a service station, the drive-through at the bank or self-serve car wash to get below for instant protection. On the highway, try to find cover beneath a bridge or viaduct.

Get Your Automobile Repaired

Handling the aftermath of a big hail storm can be distressing, especially when you have had considerable damage to your house, as well.  Getting your vehicle back up and running shouldn’t add to your anxiety, if you're prepared for the repairs.  To help with the procedure, Car Craft Oakville provides the following tips for those in Mehlville, Arnold, Lemay, and Oakville, Missouri:

•   Make copies of your vehicle registration, title, insurance card, and driver’s license before the storm hits and secure in a safe, dry place.

•   Once the storm clears, record the harm with photos and video.

•   Have a repair plan in place.  Know where you’d like to have your car repaired ahead of time so you don’t have to make a fast decision.

When you pick an auto body shop for repairs, bear in mind that:

•   Do your homework and check out the shop, their reputation, business or trade associations they are part of and if their technicians are I-CAR trained.

•   Only trust your automobile to an established auto body shop business operating prior to the storm. Watch out for fly-by-night operators scheming to make a quick buck from the storm.  If they're set up in a tent or temporary location, do not trust them with your car or truck.

Once your vehicle arrives at the auto body shop for repairs, there are things you need to keep in mind to make certain you get a quality repair:

•   Read the estimate in detail, but remember that it's for the visible damage and what it will take to fix the vehicle to pre-accident condition. If the estimate doesn't cover the full extent of damage, a supplement will be produced and sent to your insurance company for approval.

•   Get a detailed description of the parts to be replaced and whether they are OEM, new or refurbished, and in what condition the vehicle will be returned to you.  Most insurance policies stipulate pre-accident condition, so your seven-year old minivan may not come back looking brand new.

•   Get an exact timeline of when the work will be done and when the job is going to be completed.

•    Detail the payment terms and methods, including down-payment, final payment, and charges for any follow-up work.

•   Ask the store manager for frequent updates on the job, and necessitate approval for any work done outside the original estimate.

•   Don’t be pressured to accept the finished repair if you do not think it is repaired correctly. Contact your insurance agent for guidance.

While your car is in the auto body shop, it is the best time to have other dents and dings repaired. It ought to be more cost-effective and your car will ultimately benefit.

For more tips on handling an accident or having your automobile repaired after a collision, contact Car Craft Oakville in Oakville, Missouri.