We humans can do a lot of nasty things to our environment… Climate change, deforestation, species extinction, pollution, and the list just goes on and on. But mother nature always has a way to strike back strong and hard; some more devastating than others. The environment could very well start hurling chunks of countless hailstones on our beloved four-wheel companions. With more than $22-billion worth of damages across the US yearly, we can’t not talk about hail damage repair cost.
In some parts of the world, hail is a common enough annoyance to have to deal with. You can imagine then that bits of solid precipitation falling from the sky – some as large as a golf ball – could cause a lot of damage to your car. Some might be lucky enough to have a garage or a carport, but others might not be so lucky. It’s unpleasant enough to walk up to your car after a hailstorm. Even more so to find your automobile looking like an actual golf ball.
No doubt more stomach-churning than the sight of hundreds or thousands of tiny dents on your car is thinking about getting all those dimples un-dented. In many cases, smoothening out those dents can be an expensive, and time-consuming process. This is where our hail damage repair cost guide comes in. Here, we hope to try and help you figure out what to do next if you get stuck with a hailstorm. More importantly, how much will a complete fix cost?
- What to do now?
- Types of hail damage
- Fix it at home?
- Should you fix it right away?
“My car was just hit by a hailstorm. What should I do now?”
If you’re walking up to the horror show that is a car left exposed to a hailstorm, then there’s a few things you should do before assessing hail damage repair costs. Firstly, check your auto insurance and see if there’s any coverage for hail damage, and how much does it cover. If it does have coverage for hail, then call up your insurance agent about the problem. They’ll likely send an insurance adjuster to assess the extent of the damage in person.
This way, they could then approve as to how much they need to pay out for a repair of your hail-damaged car. As we’ll learn more later on in our hail damage repair cost, the sooner this is done, the better. It’s worth bearing in mind that you’re very likely not the only person within your local neighborhood, county, state, and country that is suffering from hail damage. So, it’s certain that your insurance company will be busy handling other claims elsewhere.
After this, it would be prudent to look up reputable workshops that can fix body damage. It’s helpful to ask around and find the best ones. This way, you could start booking for an appointment as soon as the insurance company has approved the payout. Now, where you’re doing to send it to and what needs to be done will depend heavily on how bad the hail damage was. Ultimately, this will also determine the proportions of your hail damage repair cost.
What are the types of hail damage you need to know for hail damage repair cost?
One thing that might surprise you is that not all hail damage is made equal. Some are lighter on the wallet – and the car – than others. So, while you manage your insurance agent and search around for a good body shop, brace yourself, and take note of how bad the damage is in person. Oh, and just in case you forget while reading this hail damage repair cost guide, here’s a little reminder… Make sure you double – no, triple-check that the hailstorm is actually gone.
Your car getting a hailstone on the bodywork is bad, but you getting a hailstone in the head is worse. Generally, there are two types of hail damages. This will ultimately decide where you need to send your car off to and what needs to be done. The unique forms and significance of the destruction left behind on your car’s beaten bodywork will also vary the hail damage repair cost that you need to pay…
1. Small and shallow dents on only a few parts of the car
This is the best that you can hope for if your car has been left exposed to the elements when a hailstorm drops by. Small dents are relatively easy enough to repair. More importantly, this ease means that fewer hours are being spent to get your car back into its spotless gleam. The consequence is lower labor costs. Overall, minor dents can be ironed out without the car spending too much time away at the workshop, and without you needing to shell out a lot for hail damage repair cost.
Lighter or moderate hail damage could result in just your bodywork needing a repair, or it might also involve the paintwork. In this regard, there are a few options for a fix that you could look at:
a. PDR – Paintless dent repair
This is the cheapest and most efficient option you can choose from when it comes to fixing hail damage. As the name suggests, ‘paintless dent repair‘ is able to remove the hailstorm dents without needing even a paint touch-up. The only issue here is that PDR only really works for dents that haven’t caused substantial chipping of the paint finish. So, you better hope that the hail gods were at least somewhat kinder to your car if you’re looking for a PDR treatment.
b. SMART repair
This applies if the hail damage isn’t too bad, but your car still needs a slight repainting. SMART stands for ‘small, medium area repair technology’. This technique focuses on fixing the dents – similar to a PDR – and then painting it over where those dents made an impact. The key benefit here is that smaller and minor dents can be repainted once the dents have been smoothened out. This is instead of having to spend thousands of dollars repainting the whole car or an entire body panel.
2. Heavier dents on large parts of your car, with a lot of exterior damage
This is the type of hail damage that you should pray you never have to deal with. Heavier hailstorms can damage your car pretty badly, which in turn will require more dollars for a complete repair. This is attributed to more time and labor that needs to go into a car to have it fixed. Overall, it can leave large and deep dents or cracks in your bodywork. It could also damage other parts of your car, such as exterior trim pieces, windows, and more.
The hail damage repair cost here can spiral out of control quite quickly, depending on how much needs to be done. Whether you’ll “just” need to replace entire body panels, or if additional parts and trim are involved. Panel beating isn’t always the solution. This will necessitate you to choose from a selection of more costly, extensive, and lengthy options for a fix:
a. Full body panel replacements
Now, you’re not necessarily inclined to replace a whole body panel or a section of panels. If the damage isn’t all too bad, then a capable body shop technician could slowly beat the dents out of the bodywork one by one. However, know that body shops tend to charge you per dent when it comes to the hail damage repair cost that you’ll need to pay up right at the end.
As such, it might not just be worth beating out every single dent. In this case, it might be more cost-effective to replace the entire panel or a few body panels at once. Some of the more exposed body panels that could be subject to extensive hailstorm damage would be the hood, trunk lid, and roof. Depending on the direction of the hailstones and how you’ve parked your car, they might also hit your side fenders or doors.
b. Cracked or smashed windshield
Another part of your car is left very out in the open to hail damage – and another key consideration for assessing hail damage repair cost – would be the windshield. This applies as well to other glass panes on your car, like the rear and side windows. At the very least, you make do with a simple windshield chip repair kit. But if it’s bad enough that you’ll need to replace the entire windshield, this could run you anywhere from $250 to $1,000 depending on your vehicle.
c. Replacing new exterior trim pieces
Other stuff on the outside of your car that can get damaged from hailstorms is your exterior trim. This includes parts of your head- and tail-lights that could get smashed by hailstones. Your side mirrors, antenna, front grille, and rear spoiler or wing could also be left with dents, scratches, or chips from that hailstorm. Since modern cars have a lot of sensors and cameras on the exterior for functions such as cruise control or parking assist, this could get very expensive.
How much is the hail damage repair cost that you’ll need to pay for?
Coming up, it’s a good time to swallow the bitter pill and discuss more specifically about hail damage repair cost. Once again, body shops will often charge you for a repair per dent. This will also change based on how terrible the damage is and what needs to be done. On average, the aggregate bill for a hail damage repair cost is in the ballpark of around $2,500 to $3,500. Naturally, this may end up being different depending on what car you’re driving.
For example, replacing the hood of a Mercedes will most definitely cost more than a Honda. We can at least try to break it down more specifically according to the types of hail damage that we learned earlier. Opting for a SMART repair or PDR might cost you anywhere from $30 to $150 for each dent. PDR – or paintless dent repair – tends to be cheaper, as you save a lot from paints. Either way, these are the cheapest options for fixes if the hail damage isn’t too bad.
But should the hail damage be more significant, then it may cost you between $100 to $250 for every dent as a whole. This accounts for panel beating and repainting entire panels. You should also consider that this price tag for a repair only accounts for the body panels themselves. It doesn’t factor in if you need to replace your windshield or find replacements for exterior trim pieces. This isn’t just adding on more expenses, but it might also leave you without your car for weeks.
Can you cheap out on hail damage repair cost by fixing it yourself?
So far, it’s fair to say that hail damage repair cost is quite a hefty one to bear. But thankfully, you can try out some DIY solutions for solving hail damage at home. The result might not be as spotless of a fix as the professionals would have it, but you can save a whole lot of money in return. It’s up to you to decide if this is a path worth going down. But it should be pointed out that these DIY solutions only really work for minor dents and hail damages.
The best DIY fix would be investing in specialized dent repair kits. These all-in-one solutions can be found on sites like Amazon for around $30 to $50. These kits often include dent pullers, glue tabs, suctions cups, and some other extra tools to help you with the job. If your windshield is slightly chipped from the outpour of hailstones, then you can also find windshield chip repair kits for as little as $10. There are also some other do-it-yourself ways to un-denting your hail-ravaged car.
Although, there’s a strong likelihood that these at-home repair options might not work as well as using a special kit. In short, these DIY solutions rely on temperature changes to remove the dent. You can use methods like rubbing dry ice or blowing on the dents with a hairdryer. Alternatively, parking your car under the hot sun might cause the metal to expand. Once again, these DIY fixes will only work on small and shallow dents. It’s still best to stick with a dent repair kit, though.
Why should you pay for hail damage repair cost and have it fixed right away?
You might be thinking to yourself, “Oh well, it’s not that bad”. Or, “You know what; maybe I’ll just wait until it hails again and then get it repaired”. And then there’s the, “Meh, I don’t really care how my car looks, so long as it drives”. Well, we’re here to tell you that this is a bad idea, and you should not put off fixing your hail-damaged car. Hail damage might seem like a trivial aesthetic matter, but it can have terrible consequences for you down the line.
We definitely do not recommend delaying a repair job if your car’s been savaged by a hailstorm. If you need to drive it, then only do this for emergencies, and only for short distances. Here are a few reasons why it’s better to just swallow hail damage repair cost rather than just letting your car be…
1. You might end up being a road hazard
Hail damage can impede your ability to drive safely. It may also impact certain functions of your car in a very hazardous way. A large chip in the windshield might seem like a small deal, but those cracks may be big enough for you to miss a car coming out of a junction at speed. Alternatively, hailstones might smash through your car’s lights, thus suddenly rendering you blind when it gets dark. In short, hail damage may increase the probability of getting caught in an accident
2. Problems with future insurance payouts
Insurance companies can be very tricky to work with a lot of the time. Continually driving around a car that has suffered the battering of a hailstorm will technically count it as being “unrepaired”. In the auto insurance world, your car is now considered to have ‘pre-existing’ damage. This means that you might not be liable for getting an insurance payout if you had an accident or get caught in another hailstorm while your car hasn’t yet been repaired for earlier hail damage.
So, this should be a reminder that you ought to drive extra cautiously if your car is already worn down by hailstones. Moreover, this clause should make you think twice as you dilly-dally before sending your car to a body shop. The good news to be had here is that for many people, claiming insurance for hail damage won’t raise your insurance premium. Yay! Although this might not always apply if you’re someone that gets caught in hailstorms a wee bit too often.
3. Ruins the value of your car
Getting any sort of dings will always impact the value of your car, and hail damage is no different. Even the tiniest of dents can result in an immense depreciation the next time you consider selling your car. This is exacerbated if the hail damage goes unrepaired for a long time, as it can leave more permanent marks on your car. Spending $500 is a worthwhile investment if it means you’re not going to lose $5,000 in your car’s value, we think.
How can you prevent from needing to pay for hail damage repair cost again?
Thus far then, we’ve learned that hail damage on your car isn’t just a major pain in the backside. It also costs a fortune and a half to fix. It will leave you with a big hole burning through your pocket and you may end up being car-less for a few days or weeks. Knowing the circumstances, it might help to know if we can prevent this deadly cycle from ever needing to happen. So, how can you avoid hailstorms from hurting your car?
Well, if you live in an area that is known to be hit with hailstorms and rapid weather changes frequently, then maybe you can think about getting a garage. Even a roofed car-park or carport is a big upgrade from just leaving it out in the open. At the very least, you can try fitting a car cover. Even better yet, there are specialized car covers that can best protect against hailstorms. Or if your neighbor is feeling charitable, then maybe ask them if you could borrow some garage space while the weather clears.
If you’re already on the road while a hailstorm is coming right at you, then pull over safely and quickly to a covered area. Something else that you might want to put on your to-do list would be to get a more comprehensive insurance package. We know that hailstorms can sometimes appear out of nowhere. Should you not be able to prepare yourself in preventing it from leaving dents on your car, then at least think about insurance plans that can better compensate you monetarily when it does inevitably happen.
Facts about Hail Damage Repair for Cars
- Severe weather in parts of the world can cause hail damage to cars, with hailstones ranging from pea size to baseball size.
- The cost of hail damage repair can range from $750 to $10,000, depending on the severity of the damage.
- Some companies use a PDR software system to determine the cost of repair by carefully inspecting the damage severity, number of dents, broken parts, and labor operations.
- Hailstones need to be 1 inch in diameter or larger to damage cars, with hailstones usually ranging from pea size to 1.5 inches in diameter in certain places.
- Extreme hail, involving golfball to baseball size hailstones, can destroy vehicles and result in total loss insurance claims, with repair costs upwards of $10,000.
- Making an insurance claim for hail damage repair is recommended to avoid paying out of pocket, with a deductible usually ranging from $100 to $1000.
- Hail damage is filed as a comprehensive claim and will not directly influence insurance rates.
- Insurance providers and lien holders may have an insurance claim record associated with a car that has been repaired due to hail damage.
- Auto body shops remove hail dents using specialized lights and alloy tools and may use a secondary glue-pulling system if necessary.
- Moderate to average hail damage can be fixed without replacing or repainting panels, but more severe damage may require panel replacement and conventional body repair. It is important to find a skilled and experienced local dent repair company for hail damage repair and avoid temporary PDR roadside tent operations.
Hail damage repair cost – Conclusion
Discussions around hail damage repair cost aren’t a new phenomenon. So long as the automobile has existed and so long as the sky was punctured with hailstones, the motorcar have been victims. On the bright side, at least cars of today are much more robust and well-built compared to yesteryear. So, at least the hail damage isn’t as significant of an issue as it would’ve been if you were driving a Ford Model T. However, it would be foolish to think that we can take this problem lightly.
Put it off for long enough, and even the smallest of hailstorms could snowball into even bigger problems later on. But have it fixed now, and you’re still left with a huge repair bill. Putting our two cents into the ring, we still highly recommend that it’s money well spent in keeping your car as fresh as ever. It’s not often that volleyball-sized hailstones come dropping by. But should it happen sometime in the future, we hope you can still look back at our hail damage repair cost guide here to help you along then.