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Understanding Auto Hail Damage: When Does Hail Damage Total a Vehicle?

Hailstorms can wreak havoc on vehicles, leaving behind a trail of dents, cracked glass, and damaged paint. With the recent massive hail storms, many car owners across Colorado face the same question – did the auto hail damage total my car? 

Understanding the threshold at which hail damage can render a vehicle a total loss is crucial for car owners and insurance policyholders. Here we will delve into the factors that determine when hail damage is significant enough to total a vehicle, the assessment process, repair costs, insurance implications, and steps to take when your vehicle falls victim to a hailstorm. 

For Denver residents with auto hail damage, Capital Dent Masters is your local auto hail damage repair center. Experts in auto hail damage, we repair vehicles with the paintless dent repair method – sometimes saving a car from total loss. Let’s dive in. 

What Declares a Vehicle as Totaled?

When an auto insurance company declares a damaged vehicle as “totaled,” it means the cost of repairs exceeds a certain threshold, making it economically impractical to fix the vehicle. While hail damage is just one factor in this determination, it can significantly impact the equation due to the cost of repairs. 

Auto insurance companies consider various factors when assessing whether a vehicle should be deemed a total loss, including the vehicle’s age, pre-existing damage, and local regulations. Suppose the cost of making the necessary repairs, including the auto hail damage, surpasses a specific threshold. In that case, the insurance company will likely consider the vehicle totaled.

What Happens When My Car is Declared a Total Loss? 

If your vehicle suffers severe hail damage, your auto insurance company might determine it to be a total loss. It is best to understand the facts surrounding the situation as a car owner in Colorado. Hail storms frequent Colorado, with multiple storms already hitting the Denver metro area this summer. So here’s a brief overview of what happens when your car is determined to be a total loss by your auto insurance company. 

Although it may initially feel disheartening, the insurance company’s evaluation is based on objective criteria. They will assess the extent of the hail damage and compare it to your car’s actual cash value (ACV). The ACV considers factors such as the vehicle’s age, make, model, mileage, and pre-loss condition. By following a systematic process, the auto insurance company ensures a fair settlement for your claim. While bidding farewell to your beloved car is quite emotional for many, the silver lining is that you can use the insurance payout to invest in a new vehicle that suits your current needs and preferences. 

So, take comfort in knowing that your auto insurance provider supports you during this transition, providing a clear path toward getting back on the road. Be sure to review your auto insurance policy – auto hail damage is often covered under comprehensive auto insurance policies with the ‘Act of god’ clause. Be sure your vehicles are covered for repairs if needed. Your local insurance agent can also answer detailed questions about your total loss policy! 

How is Auto Hail Damage Assessed? 

Hailstones cause dents and dings on the vehicle’s body, can crack or shatter glass, and compromise the paintwork. Assessing hail damage requires the expertise of professionals who can carefully inspect the car in the proper conditions. While some auto hail damage is visible to the naked eye, many dents are less apparent and require a thorough evaluation. For instance, only about 40% of auto hail damage is caught in initial estimates done outside. 

Repairing auto hail damage requires a clean surface and specialized lights to correctly see each indention and metal curve. Dents are then circled and counted, one by one, on each vehicle panel. The dents’ size, depth, and location are noted to determine the damage’s severity. Professional auto repair technicians employ various techniques, including paintless dent repair, to effectively assess and repair hail damage. 

If your car has auto hail damage, begin your free auto hail damage estimate with Capital Dent Masters. 

Understanding Auto Hail Repair Costs

Repair costs are a crucial aspect of the decision-making process when determining whether or not a vehicle is a total loss. Estimating the auto hail damage repair costs involves considering the labor required, the cost of replacement parts, and the complexity of the repairs. Auto insurance adjusters compare these costs to the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) to determine whether repairing the car is financially feasible or if the vehicle is to be declared a total loss. 

Auto hail repair costs are determined by several factors. The most impactful are parts, labor, and dent repair. Dents are sized and counted across your vehicle. Each dent size has an industry-standard cost the repair shops and auto insurance providers agree on. For this reason, auto hail damage can be an expensive repair. Even so, auto insurance providers prefer it to other repair methods because it often returns the vehicle to pre-loss condition. 

You can ask our auto insurance specialists at Capital Dent Masters in Denver questions about your auto hail damage repair process by calling 303-283-9212. 

What is the Threshold for Totaling a Vehicle Due to Hail Damage?

The threshold for totaling a vehicle due to hail damage varies among insurance companies and jurisdictions. While some insurers may have specific guidelines, others follow industry standards. Generally, the threshold is based on a percentage of the vehicle’s ACV (actual cash value). 

Insurance companies may declare the vehicle a total loss if the repair costs exceed a predetermined percentage of the ACV, typically ranging from 60% to 80%. For example, if the repair costs exceed 70% of the ACV, there is a decent chance the vehicle is considered a total loss. 

It is crucial for you to consult your auto insurance policy or speak with your insurance agent to understand the specific threshold applicable to your situation. Some insurance policies may have lower thresholds for hail damage due to the potential for hidden damage and subsequent repair costs. 

How Does Total Loss Impact Auto Insurance and Vehicle Value? 

When a vehicle is declared a total loss due to hail damage, it can affect the vehicle’s insurance coverage. Insurance companies may mark the car as having a “salvage” or “rebuilt” title, indicating that it has undergone significant repairs. This designation could affect future insurance premiums and insurability. Some insurance companies may consider the vehicle more susceptible to future damage or higher claim rates. 

Additionally, a car with a history of hail damage might have a lower resale value than a similar vehicle with no damage history. Potential buyers may view it as less desirable or be concerned about potential underlying issues. Your auto insurance agent can provide specific information about your vehicle and auto insurance policy. You can find auto insurance recommendations and reviews here


Steps to Take When Your Vehicle Sustains Hail Damage

If your vehicle suffers hail damage, here are the essential steps to follow:

1. Document the Damage: 

As soon as the hailstorm passes, take photos and videos of the hail damage from multiple angles. Focus on capturing the size and extent of the dents, cracks in the glass, and any paint damage. This documentation will serve as crucial evidence for your insurance claim. It can also help begin your free auto hail repair estimate, like this one.

2. Contact your Auto Insurance Company: 

Notify your auto insurance provider about the auto hail damage as soon as possible. They will guide you through the steps and documentation required to file a claim. Be prepared to provide them with information like the time, date, and location of the car during the hail storm and the photos and videos of the damage.

3. Auto Insurance Adjuster Assessment: 

An auto insurance adjuster will likely be assigned to assess the hail damage on your car. They will examine the extent of the damage, evaluate the repair costs, and compare it to the threshold set by your insurance company. 

4. Auto Repair Estimate: 

An estimate can be beneficial, especially from an independent, reputable auto body shop specializing in hail damage repairs like Capital Dent Masters in Denver. They can provide a detailed vehicle inspection, identifying visible and hidden damage with the proper tools. Start your free auto hail repair estimate with Capital Dent Masters today! 

5. Consider Repair Options: 

After an estimate, you will better understand the extent of your auto hail damage and the estimated repair costs. Discuss the options with your insurance company and evaluate whether it is financially feasible to repair the vehicle. If the auto hail damage repair costs exceed the threshold for your auto insurance provider, it may be more prudent to accept a total loss settlement and seek a replacement vehicle. 

6. Make the Best Decision for You: 

Based on the repair cost estimates and your insurance company’s evaluation, you must decide whether to repair your vehicle or accept a total loss settlement. Factors to consider include the vehicle’s overall condition, its value, potential future issues, and your budget. If you plan to repair the auto hail damage on your car, learn how to choose the best auto hail damage repair shop for you in our other article. 

Auto Hail Damage Repair in Denver, Colorado 

Auto hail damage can be repaired using many techniques. At Capital Dent Masters, we specialize in Paintless Dent Repair, the preferred method for auto hail damage repair. Our claim specialists will walk with you through the repair process. They also speak directly to your auto insurance to ensure the smoothest repair experience for you. Schedule your free auto hail damage estimate today! 

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