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

Warmer weather has arrived, and this means hailstorms are working their way throughout the country, leaving dented, dinged, and damaged automobiles in their wake.

Is your car or truck prepared to face Mother Nature this spring?  Have you got the proper insurance to recover from any damage?  And how can you get your vehicle fixed up to pre-storm condition without putting a dent in your pocketbook?

Car Craft Chesterfield has seen and repaired lots of cars harmed by hail storms. We’d like to provide the following information to help motorists handle hailstorms:

After getting hail damage, the first thing to do is contact your insurance company before consulting a repair shop.  Very often, if there's a very big storm, the insurance companies will call in what’s referred to as a Catastrophe Team.  If you are driving around town and you are getting a bunch of estimates, sadly, it’s likely to be a lot of wasted time for you.  The insurance firms are going to want you to go and have their Catastrophe Teams look at it, begin the claim process, and then you can take it to Car Craft Chesterfield or any auto body shop, and they’re going to work with the insurance companies from there to ensure that all the dents get fixed on the car.

Even when you do not believe the car was damaged too badly, it’s important that you have it looked at at the earliest opportunity. There can be a lot of damage that you cannot see when you are just visually looking at it.  Whenever you get it beneath some lights, and you really look at it, there are plenty of dents that you won’t see until you possibly go to trade your vehicle in, and then you are going to be stuck with a lot of hail damage.  The 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 winds up being 50 to 100 dents.

collision repair missouri auto body headlight restoration chesterfield mo ballwinCheck Your Coverage

The time to take a look at car insurance isn't whenever you hear the hail hitting your automobile.  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 when the storm hits.

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

One warning – if you submitted a prior damage claim and got a check from your insurer, but didn’t have the car repaired – the insurance company will deduct this amount from your estimate for the storm damage, and charge a second deductible, too.

Protect Your Vehicle

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

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

Get Your Vehicle Repaired

Handling the aftermath of a big hail storm may be distressing, particularly if you have had significant damage to your home, as well.  Getting your vehicle back up and running should not add to your anxiety, if you're prepared for the repairs.  To help with the task, Car Craft Chesterfield offers the following tips for those in West County, Wildwood, Ellisville, Ballwin, and Chesterfield, MO:

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

•   After the storm clears, record the damage with photos and video.

•   Have a repair plan ready.  Know where you’d like to have your automobile repaired in advance so you do not have to make a sudden decision.

Whenever you choose an auto body shop for repairs, don't forget to:

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

•   Only trust your car to an established auto body shop business running prior to the storm. Avoid fly-by-night operators attempting to make a quick buck from the storm.  If they're set up in a tent or temporary location, don’t trust them with your automobile.

As soon as your car arrives at the auto body shop for repairs, there are some things you need to keep in mind to ensure you get a good quality repair:

•   Look at the estimate in detail, but keep in mind that it is for the visible damage and what it will take to repair the vehicle to pre-accident condition. If the estimate doesn't cover the full extent of damage, a supplement will be created and submitted to your insurance company for approval.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more tips on handling an accident or getting your automobile fixed after a collision, contact Car Craft Chesterfield in Chesterfield, Missouri.