The Best Options For Repairing Hail Damage On A Car

Blog/ The Best Options For Repairing Hail Damage On A Car


hail damage repair cost

AuthorSarah RobinsonCategory Car Advice

You’re driving around town in your car without a worry in the works. You’ve made plans for the weekend and are looking forward to a stress free next few days.

But then you check your weather app and discover that hail is in the forecast. Other than a few ruined plans for Sunday, the hail should come and go peacefully.

But then you start to think - Massive balls of ice pounding against your car should be fun, no?

You think more about the lack of garage you have and the street parking you’ll end up in.

These seemingly innocent frozen raindrops can cause an extensive amount of damage to your vehicle.

But just how much damage are we talking about? Let’s take a closer look…

Hail Damage Repair Costs

Hail damage is a very common occurrence depending on where you live. In certain states, the risk of hail can be significantly higher as can the frequency of how often it can occur.

The majority of the time the damage is not severe and may not be noticeable. In a best case scenario, you may wake up to find hail surrounding your entire vehicle with zero on your actual car.

However - when it is a more intense storm or it decides to head straight for your car, the damage can add up.

Cut to the chase, what’s the cost?

Depending on the extent of damage done to your vehicle, the cost to repair it ranges from $30 to over $275 per dent. That’s right - per dent.

If you think about the amount of hail that can fall in a matter of minutes, these dents will quickly add up. Expect about a dozen.

The average total cost is around $2,500 but can vary based on location of the dent and severity.

Is the car actually damaged?

It is important to keep in mind that hail damage very rarely affects the actual vehicle. The vehicle should still run as it did prior and not have any underlying issues caused from the hail.

The main issues with hail damage is the appearance. Hail damage can be very unsightly and ruin the exterior presentation of your vehicle.

Additionally, if the hail dents are not addressed to begin with and another storm occurs - the dents can double in size.

What are my options to repair the hail damage?

You can try to repair it yourself, which may be tedious and ultimately ineffective. I’m going to let you decide if this is the best option for you, given your expertise and patience.

Do-it-yourself hail damage repair

If you decide to go this route, below are the most popular methods to try:

  • Heat is your new best friend. -Sometimes if there is enough heat on the dents, it can cause the metal to expand, which may pop the dents out. -Heat.. from where? -Keep your car under the sun for up to three days. If there is no improvement by day three, it is unlikely this will work. -Use a hairdryer directed at the dents for a few minutes at a time set at the highest temperature. Similar to keeping your car in the sun, if this does not work after ten minutes - call it quits!

-Pick up a hail damage repair kit. -These are much more likely to work on small dents, leaving little to no hope on medium to large dents. -What’s the trick? -The magic behind the repair kits is a suction cup type mechanism that is designed to pull the dents out and smooth the area around it.

Other than potentially wasting my time, are there any other pitfalls to the DIY approach?

You may end up doing more damage to your car with a DIY method. Such as paint chipping or making the dents worse.

If either of these happen, you may need to get this repaired at a car repair shop. Which is exactly what you were trying to avoid!

If those were unsuccessful and tiring, what are your other options?

The best method is to seek professional help from a car repair shop. After all, they are professionals for a reason. You are much more likely to get the dents removed, but it will come at a higher cost.

Should I go with the first car hail damage repair shop I find?

Shop around for different prices. You will likely find differing rates from one repair shop to the next. It is acceptable to present one repair shop with the lower cost of another to negotiate.

Just remember, if the price seems too good to be true - it probably is.

How does the car repair shop fix the hail damage?

Option 1 - Panel Removal

A car repair shop is most likely to remove and replace the car panels. A 100% success rate is expected due to completely removing the part of the car that is damaged. Be aware that this does come with a high price tag.

Since they are removing entire panels from your vehicle, research the company thoroughly, and review their customer testimonials to ensure they are a trustworthy and reliable business.

Do note that if a panel is replaced it may affect the warranty of your car if it is leased.

Option 2 - Body Filler

Another option that may be used is to fill the dent with a body filler.

Both options will take up to a week and may require accessing a rental car depending on your travel needs.

Along with the added time and cost, the location of the dent plays a large role in the repair as well. If the dent is easily accessible, it will cost less to repair than a dent that is in a not so convenient place. (Think: hood of the car vs. side)

Is there a more affordable option?

Meet your new friend - Paintless Dent Repair (PDR). Instead of the above approaches, this involves repairing the dents from the inside of the vehicle.

How is it done?

In short, metal rods are used to push dents out. The rods are used from the inside of the body of the car.

Pro’s of Paintless Dent Removal

In turn, there is less material being used so this becomes a much more cost-efficient approach! Typically, closer to $30 per dent. Not to mention it is typically a faster turnaround time.

An additional plus is this method should not void any warranty on your leased car.

Downfalls of Paintless Dent Removal

There are two issues that can occur during PDR:

  • The vehicle’s paint must be completely intact. If it is, you’re in luck! If not, then the process will not work.
  • There is a good chance some paint chipping may occur during the paintless dent removal. In these instances, you may wind up at the car repair shop anyway to fix the paint.

Will my car insurance cover hail damage repairs?

In most states, your car insurance will cover the hail damage under a comprehensive claim. This will depend heavily on the number of repair costs and the location you reside in. If the damage is extensive enough they may even consider your car salvaged.

How do I submit the claim to insurance?

Contact your insurance representative and fill them in on the extent of the damage. In most cases, an insurance adjuster will determine the true damage from the hail. They will take their own photos, but you should take your own photos as well.

Should I file a claim or pay out of pocket?

Keep in mind; you will need to pay your deductible first before the car insurance will step in and cover the remaining costs.

If the deductible is $500, it will make sense to go this route if it is less than the repair cost.

If the repair cost is less than the deductible, it may be best to pay out of pocket.

Will my car insurance go up after reporting hail damage?

Rest easy, reporting hail damage should not increase your rate. Finally, some good news, am I right?

If the repair costs are too steep…

Take some time to analyze if you are willing to spend around $2,500 for the dent repairs.

If you are not comfortable with the cost, you may want to consider getting rid of your vehicle.

But is it really that simple?

Will I be able to sell a hail damaged car?

Yes and no. You will be able to sell it but not to just anywhere.

SellMax will purchase your car from you regardless of the condition and pay you in cash.

As the slogan goes, “we’re not magicians but we can make your old car disappear, and leave a fat stack of cash.”

That sounds great! How do I sell it?

Give us all the details! This includes the make, model, year, and the cars current condition (dents and all).

From there, you will fill out our easy to use form or call in to receive a quote.

Lastly, our experts will get to work fast on getting you your money. We pride ourselves on truly taking the work off of your plate and into ours.

How much will I get back?

The cash you receive can be determined by using that online form we mentioned. Once you fill it out, you will get an instant offer.

The online form can be found here: https://sellmax.com/quote/

You mentioned cash, tell me more…

Once all the paperwork is filled out and settled, you will receive a nice fat stack of cash in your hands! Forget the dents, remember the money!

The Bottom Line

Hail storms are unfortunate and can be damaging to your vehicle. Unless the storm totally avoids your car, or you have a garage to park it in - there is a good chance your car will be affected.

If hail damage does occur to your vehicle, you have four options:

  • Try to fix it yourself which is the cheapest but least effective solution
  • Take your vehicle to a repair shop at a higher price tag with the highest rate of success
  • Give paintless dent repair a try which is a much more cost-effective option than taking it to a car repair shop
  • Work with SellMax to sell your car and leave your dented vehicle behind. We’ve got offices throughout the United States this includes cities like Brownsville, Texas to Sacramento, CA.

Regardless if the route you go, it is important to weigh all the options carefully. After all, hail is just one of those things that can strike at any point.

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