5 Essential Steps for Handling Hail Damage
We see our fair share of hail in the Twin Cities throughout the warmer months. And depending on where you park, moderate to severe hailstorms can do quite a bit of damage to the body of your vehicle in a matter of minutes.
At Minnetonka Collision, we know handling auto body repairs can be a confusing process, especially when insurance claims are involved. Below, we’ve broken down the steps you’ll need to take to handle hail damage repairs, and how our team can help expedite the process.
1. Document the Damage Thoroughly
As soon as the storm subsides and it’s safe to examine your vehicle, head outside to document the damage. You can use your smartphone or a digital camera to take close-up photos of each damaged area and take a panoramic shot of your vehicle, too.
Why snap photos of the dents? Because your insurance company will need evidence of the damage when you file a claim for auto body repair. To provide them with adequate proof, be sure to take a variety of photos from multiple different angles to effectively convey the extent of the damage.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
When filing an auto body repair claim, contacting your insurance company as soon as possible after your vehicle incurs damage is best. Most insurers these days give the option of calling or filing a claim online, so choose the option you’re most comfortable with.
If you’re unsure how to properly file a claim or feel uncomfortable speaking directly with your insurance agent, a quality auto body repair shop will typically offer to help. If you don’t know already, here’s what to look for in a trustworthy auto body repair shop.
At Minnetonka Collision, we aim to make your auto body repair experience as smooth and stress-free as possible. As an insurance-preferred shop, we’ve built a stellar reputation with a multitude of insurance providers throughout the country. Our top-notch service record and long-standing rapport with insurance companies reflect the integrity of our work and offer additional peace of mind on every job we undertake.
If you need help with your claim, we’re more than happy to assist. And when you choose us to handle your hail damage repairs, we can take care of the insurance paperwork, phone calls, and everything else from start to finish.
If you’re comfortable filing your own claim, be sure to specify Minnetonka Collision Center when your agent inquires about where you’ll be taking your vehicle for repairs.
3. Obtain Hail Damage Repair Estimates
After the adjuster examines your vehicle, you’ll want to get at least one independent estimate for hail damage repairs if you want your insurance to foot the bill. While the adjuster will give an estimate of what it might cost to have the work performed, you should always get your own written estimates, too.
Ideally, you should get estimates from at least three auto body repair shops where you’d actually take your vehicle for repairs. Beware of low-ball estimates, as the shops that quote you super-low prices may not perform high-quality work. Never take a verbal estimate — when the time comes for the actual work, there’s no way to prove you were actually quoted a verbal price.
When you bring your vehicle in, an auto body repair technician will assess the full scope of the hail damage to provide you with an accurate repair estimate. Depending on the extent of the damage, that estimate may include the cost for:
● Parts replacement for severely damaged areas
● Pulling dents out of vehicle panels and smoothing out each surface
● Car touch-up paint, if required
When you choose Minnetonka Collision, we can send our estimate directly to your insurance provider to expedite the process. All you’ll need to do is schedule an appointment for the actual repairs! And when we return your vehicle to you, it’ll look like the hail damage was never even there.
4. Meet With the Insurance Adjuster
After you file your insurance claim, your provider will send an adjuster to examine the severity of the hail damage in person. Before the adjuster arrives, ensure your vehicle is clean so all the hail-related damage is visible!
If your vehicle is dirty, that may send up a red flag, causing the adjuster to question whether the damage was indeed caused by hail. Dirt and grime can also conceal the full extent of hail dents, so be sure to wash your vehicle before the adjuster arrives.
5. Don’t Let Insurance Delay Your Repairs
If for any reason your insurance company drags their feet sending an adjuster out to inspect your vehicle, you can still move forward with repairs. However, you’ll need to pay for them out of pocket (you’ll get your money back later).
Generally, you should expect an adjuster to meet with you within about a week after you file a claim. If you’ve given your insurer a reasonable amount of time to get the ball rolling and things aren’t moving forward, go ahead and schedule your hail damage repairs at your preferred shop.
As long as you have a couple of estimates in hand, you can demand reimbursement from the insurance company after the repairs are done. Keep in mind, though, that your insurer may only agree to reimburse you for the amount of the lowest estimate.
To ensure you get full reimbursement, make sure the estimates you get are all within a fairly small dollar range of one another. You don’t have to choose the shop with the lowest estimate, but if all of your quotes are relatively similar, you’ll be more likely to get back what you actually paid.
For more important advice on the dos and don’ts of hail damage auto body repairs, check out 6 Mistakes To Avoid When Handling Hail Damage to Your Vehicle.
Need Auto Body Hail Damage Repairs in the Twin Cities?
At Minnetonka Collision, we know you can’t always control what happens to your vehicle, and that’s what we’re here for! If your automobile recently suffered hail damage, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to discuss repairs and get a free estimate.
To learn more about our auto body repair process or to schedule your free estimate, give us a call at 763-230-7805 or send us a message online with any questions or concerns, and we’ll get in touch with more information.