Oh Hail No
When Mother Nature does her thing, and your vehicle is the recipient of dozens-to-hundreds of hail-induced dings and dents you are well-advised to know everything you can about the process of the repair.
If you decide to make a claim with your insurance company, you will be required to allow the insurance adjuster to write an initial estimate of repair. In many cases, these initial estimates are intentionally (and illegally) written “light”. That is to say, the estimate is not enough to cover the actual cost of a quality repair.
Why would insurance adjusters intentionally write an estimate in violation of Colorado State law CRS 10-4-120, (II) (3) (b)? It is estimated that 50-70% of all hail damage claims are not repaired. They take advantage of this knowledge. In other words, the insurance companies know that more than half of their insured (you) will cash the claim check without actually repairing the damage, choosing to put up with the dents and pocketing the claim money.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you cash the insurance claim check and decide not to repair your car, you in essence “settle” for the amount of that check. Keep in mind that most insurance estimates are written “light”, and the actual value of your vehicle’s damage was not represented. This becomes very important if you ever decide to sell your vehicle, as the entire amount of the damage (including diminished value) will be deducted from the purchase price.
Another very common practice on the part of many insurance companies is to strongly “suggest” that you take your car to one of their “preferred” shops. In fact, after a hail storm, many insurance companies will set up an estimate station on the property of one of their preferred (DRP) auto body shops. Under the guise of “customer convenience”, they will write the estimate and introduce you to the body shop management who will gladly schedule your vehicle’s repair on the spot. This subtle form of “steering” (illegal in many states) puts pressure on you to use that body shop. Buyer beware: you have the right to choose any body shop you want to repair your vehicle, and the insurance company is required by law to pay to have your car repaired to it’s pre-loss condition. What YOU pay (your deductible) does NOT change… and in most cases, hail damage is considered an act of God, so your future rates will NOT be affected.
TRADITIONAL vs PDR
If you decide to move forward with repairing your vehicle, the body shop you choose will also write an estimate. Depending upon the amount and severity of the damage, they will advise one of two courses of action: PDR (Paintless Dent Repair) or Traditional body work (or a combination of the two). In many cases, PDR is the best for hail damage.
Nylund’s General Manager, John Groome says that “in most cases, we write our estimates with the intent to PDR hail damage wherever possible – as it is preferred to save a panel rather than replace a panel”. There are cases when replacing a component is necessary, but those repairs often increase the complexity, cost or timeline of the vehicle’s repair.
NOTE: If the insurance company writes the estimate to replace your vehicle’s roof, there are literally dozens of questions that you should ask the body shop before moving ahead. A roof replacement is a very complex repair that affects the vehicle’s structural integrity as well as many of the safety features. If you’d like to discuss these questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Once the body shop’s estimate is complete, they will submit it to the insurance company – and typically there will be a back and forth until both companies agree to the repair plan. The good news is, you rarely have to engage in that process. If you chose an insurance company’s “preferred” body shop, there will be no back and forth, as they are directed by the insurance company to proceed with the least expensive repair. If you choose Nylund’s Collision Center, we handle all of the details of your repair for you, making sure that no corners are cut, and that your vehicle will be repaired to perfection.
CONSUMER ALERT: After a large hail event, you may notice an influx of storm-chasing hail repair centers popping up around your community. There is a significant risk in taking your car to one of these makeshift temporary “shops”. Many times the techs are from out of state or even out of the country, and will be difficult or impossible to find should you require them to fix something they repaired. It is far better to find a trusted, well-respected body shop who will do the repair right, and be there to stand behind their work.