Hail storms are a natural phenomenon, and can be seriously disruptive to your property like the roof of your house, or your vehicle. Outside of Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, or Nebraska you won’t see hail storms on a normal basis in the United States. If you do happen to find yourself caught in a hail storm unexpectedly, heed this advice from your friends out here in Denver – we have over 12 years of experience chasing storms around the world, and fixing the hail damaged vehicles affected using a repair process called paintless dent repair. Here are the 5 most common false arguments I hear when speaking to potential customers. So keep reading for the true ins & outs of what to do (& what not to do) when you get caught under fire – hailstones, that is.
Set the Scene
Imagine you have found your dream care for sale, but it’s in another state. Imagine that, it’s so perfectly perfect (price, color, year – a real “when you know, you know” situation) and the stars have aligned for you to fly to your new car and take it on a road trip home as initiation into your family. As you’re driving through the Midwest you’re surprised by a hail storm, and there is nowhere for you to take cover. What do you do? Well, first pull over and stop the car where it’s safe to do so – there will be significantly less damage if the car is not moving. Second, take a deep breath. You have comprehensive insurance. Hail storms are classified as an “Act of God” by insurance companies; meaning that it’s no one’s fault, and your monthly premium will not go up if you file a claim for hail damage. If you’re in the Denver area go ahead and give us a call, and we can walk you through the claim process to ensure it’s stress free.
“You can barely notice it. I’m not going to have it looked at”
Hail damage is not cheap to repair. So why repair it? Well, for one, a comprehensive insurance policy means that you are only responsible for your deductible – the rest is on your insurance company’s dime. Hail damage and how you fix it greatly affects the resale value of your vehicle. Damage that is visible only at the right angle in the sunshine can still add up to $7,000 worth of damage. Our vehicles are more than just a way to get around. Your vehicle was an investment (no matter how big or small)! If your car is damaged and you want to trade it in or sell it, that damage will significantly lower the asking price of your vehicle – ending up as a poor investment. Or, should you end up in a small accident (we hope you don’t – please always drive safe!), the minor repairs plus the hail damage will often result in the insurance company totaling your car since the hail damage is considered as previous damage. (A vehicle is totaled when the cost of repairing your vehicle is greater than the cash value of your vehicle.). So, if your insurance will pay for the repairs all you need to do is find a repair shop. We recommend doing some quick research – many shops offer free estimates as well as deductible assistance, just like we do at Capital Dent Masters. Even if you can barely see the damage, it’s in your best interest to go ahead and get your vehicle repaired sooner rather than later – future you will thank you!
“Why would I fix it now if it’s just going to hail again?”
For those of us who live in the surrounding areas of “hail alley”, where Nebraska, Texas, Colorado and Wyoming all intersect, summertime often brings more than one hail storm a year. So if my car is going to potentially get caught in a hail storm again within the next few months, why should I get it fixed today? Remember just above here how we talked about your car being totaled if you’re in a light collision while having hail damage on your car? Well, the same goes for a second hail storm. See, when a vehicle is damaged from one storm it’s typically able to be fixed by the paintless dent repair method. This method is preferred by everyone because it keeps the value of your vehicle intact, as well as repairing the damage. This method is performed by inserting metal rods through manufactured access points throughout the vehicle, and massaging the dents back into place (fun fact – aluminum has a memory and will guide itself back into shape with the right encouragement!). However, once a second storm has hit, it is nearly impossible to return the metal panels of your vehicle back to flat and smooth, thus totaling your vehicle & your investment.
“I’ll just call my insurance company first and do what they tell me.”
The biggest part of this mistake is the second part, the “do what they tell me” part. Dealing with insurance companies can be exhausting and confusing. While it may seem easier in the moment to call your insurance company, accept the check the adjuster offers you, and go to the insurance company’s ‘preferred shop’, I’d like to offer some insight into why this may not be the smartest course of action in the long run.
When we are repairing a hail damaged vehicle with paintless dent repair at Capital Dent Masters, the first thing we do is hand wash your vehicle. This ensures there are no debris or other contaminants distorting the damage. We also examine the car under specialized lights to see the full impact of the hailstones. When the insurance adjuster arrives at your house to inspect the car, do they wash it first? Are they bringing the correct lighting to see the full extent of the damage? – If you have an adjuster doing this, go ahead and accept their check – but chances are this is not the case. On average, claims filed outside of a specialized shop only account for 40% of the total damage. Imagine how much greater the check actually is when the damage is fully and properly assessed, and they gave you $3,000 when estimating the vehicle in your driveway (that totals to about $7,500!).
Then there are preferred shops. A preferred shop is one that the insurance company has essentially contracted to fix the damaged vehicles of their clients. While this sounds like a great recommendation, it often limits the parameters within which the auto shop can work. For instance, at Capital Dent Masters we offer different ways of assisting each customer from a free rental car to deductible assistance, depending on your needs. It is common for a preferred shop to not be able to offer these types of assistance, depending on their deal with your insurance company. Does it sound like that shop really has your best interest in mind, or are they looking out for the insurance company? Note, there’s also a law that only you can decide where your vehicle is repaired – meaning preferred or not, your insurance cannot dictate where you get your vehicle repaired, eve. So, don’t feel pressured to go choose their “preferred shop” before doing a little research.
While you’re waiting for your insurance adjuster to arrive to your home to inspect the vehicle in less than perfect conditions, and then waiting for your appointment at the preferred shop who does not offer any extra assistance, you are also driving the vehicle with pre-existing damage (the whole fender bender resulting in totaling your car scenario mentioned above). Depending on the size of the hail storm in your area, the list of people in your community also affected could result in the waitlist being a few weeks/months long. If you go directly to a repair shop, who also offers extra assistance options that ease the stress of repairs, the wait time to have your vehicle repaired is typically shorter overall. A good shop will be able to guide you through the claim process, and deal directly with your insurance provider, also easing you of the middle man headache. At Capital Dent Masters, our main goal (other than exceeding your expectations on the quality of repairs performed) is for you to have a vehicle repair experience that is stress free and actually has your best interest in mind first and foremost.
“Filing a claim makes my premium go up, which I can’t afford.
I’m not going to get my vehicle fixed.”
Dear, I have some great news for you. Repairing your car damaged in a hail storm will NOT cause your premium for comprehensive insurance to increase! Your premium will only increase if the premiums are increased company or area wide – whether or not you personally filed a claim for hail damage (this may happen if the overall amount of damage in your area was high and costly for the insurance company that year). Hail storms are classified as an “Act of God”, meaning a person is not at fault for damage caused by inclement weather (whereas hitting a tree is the fault of the driver, and falls under collision insurance, and will increase your collision insurance premium). Living in the area known as “hail alley” will mean multiple hail storms a year. Damage from two hail storms could total your car. Each time you encounter hail damage, repair it as soon as possible – there is no limit on the number of times you may file an “Act of God” claim. That way, you won’t have to worry if the next storm that rolls in is accompanied by hailstones, or if a stop sign fender bender will total your car, and you don’t need to worry about your insurance premium increasing either. Found a shop that offers claim assistance and deductible assistance? Are you running out of reasons yet?
“Yeah but all body shops are the same,
so really it doesn’t matter which shop repairs my vehicle.”
If there was ever a way to make someone cringe, tell them they’re the same as every other competitor in their industry. Imagine telling Peyton Manning that all football players are the same – I’m not sure if he’d just laugh or keep walking. Each body shop is different, and while there are definitely similarities and things you can expect, we pride ourselves on being different from the rest. Our expertise in the auto hail industry is hard to beat, and so is our level of service. The team at Capital Dent Masters is composed of people with experience in different industries across the board – from event planning to business development to the hospitality industry. This enables us to create a unique experience for our customers that will be hard to find elsewhere. Your experience is just as important as the quality of the repairs. We want you to have a stress free experience. Having damage to your vehicle can be discouraging already (especially for those of us who treat our vehicles as one of the family!), why heap a bunch of extra stress on top of that? Capital Dent Masters will make you feel like a part of our tight knit family, and you will have a friend in the community. We will always be honest and fair, keeping your best interest in mind. Paintless dent repair is an art form – you are massaging metal dents with rods, recreating that smooth panel from before. All of our technicians are highly experienced, and have experience working and were trained with damage in Europe and South America. The quality of paintless dent repair work we provide at Capital Dent Masters sets us apart just as much as our level of customer service. The body shop you pick matters, probably most of all.
Let’s Review the Facts
“You can stand under my umbrella.” – Rihanna
We went over a lot of information today, so here’s the bullet points to keep. Hail storms are considered an “Act of God” by insurance companies, which results in no one claiming fault for the damage, ensuring that your monthly premium will not go up due to filing a claim. It is still super important to get your vehicle fixed as soon as possible, because while you are driving around with damage (even with a pending claim) it is considered to be previous damage. This means that if you are involved in a minor accident, or are caught in another hail storm, your car is likely to be deemed totaled by the insurance company when both damage costs are added together (remember, hail damage is expensive to fix!). While some insurance companies are incredibly helpful to their clients, we still recommend that you do some research on the repair shops before just going along with their suggested repair facility. Every shop is different, with a different style of service, different priorities, and different options to assist their customers – doing research will make sure you pick the best one for you. Ri always did have a way with words. Under the Capital Dent Masters’ umbrella, you will feel like family. We can assist you with every step of the process, start to finish, taking a weight off of your shoulders. Our quality is top notch and our customer service is unique to the auto industry. We are paintless dent repair experts, but throughout the years we’ve also expanded our expertise and team, and offer many different services to get your vehicle back to like new condition. Capital Dent Masters is the umbrella for you, Denver.