Springtime in Arkansas is here once again. Thankfully, that means warmer weather, green grass and trees, and budding flowers. Unfortunately, Springtime can also bring turbulent weather and hail. While no hail storms have been reported in the Little Rock so far in 2019, we know that April is the more predictable month to receive hail, followed by May. While hail hasn’t affected our area yet, there is no promises of skating through the season without sustaining damage. In the event your car is dinged by ice balls falling from the sky, it is good to know your options as well as how hail damage repair is dealt with. When hail occurs, you can decide to live with the cosmetic damage, or you may want to file a hail damage claim to have it repaired. Before you reach for your car insurance card, here are a few things you need to consider:
- You must have comprehensive insurance coverage, which also covers theft, vandalism, water damage and animal strikes, to file a claim. Collision coverage doesn’t help with non-collision related claims.
- You will have to pay your deductible amount, so before you file it is a good idea to have an estimate to assess the damages. If you only have a few dents it is possible that the cost to fix your car will not exceed your deductible (thus there is no reason to file a claim). Most hail dents cost between $50 to $125 each to repair, depending on size and depth of the hail ding. Major hail damage could be several thousand dollars and can easily total a car, in which case a claim makes sense.
- A hail claim, in general, shouldn’t increase your auto insurance. Insurance companies won’t hold you accountable for damage caused by severe weather or “acts of God”. If the amount of damage in an area or zip code is excessive, however; the insurance company may raise everyone’s rate who lives in that area to recoup some of its payout losses.
- If you do file a claim, know that without special lighting it is difficult to see all the dings and dents caused by hail. There is a good chance the first estimate written by your insurance company’s adjuster will not be enough to repair the damage. Do not worry about this. Once you get your car into a repair facility, they will use special lighting to ensure they create a more exact quote to give to the insurance company. The insurance company will then pay the added amount needed to get your vehicle back to its pre-hailstorm condition.
There are things you can do to mitigate hail damages, such as parking your vehicle in a garage at night or pulling in under an awning of sorts when it begins to hail. However, with the nature of hail storms being (somewhat) unpredictable, you still may find yourself in a hail storm while driving or out of town in which you cannot escape damage. When this happens, make sure you use a reputable local company to do the repair. After large hail storms “hail chasers” come into the area often offering to repair damage for much lower amounts. While this may sound good initially, many times the work does not meet insurance quality expectations or manufacturer specifications. To add further insult to injury, when attempting to reach out to the “hail chasers” to remedy any issues you may be having, they are already off chasing the next big storm. Be sure to choose a local repair facility, one with guarantees and warranties for your protection and peace of mind.