Summer weather is upon us and that means thunderstorms that can produce severe weather. South Jersey has seen an increase in the last several years of producing hail that is large enough to produce damage to your car or truck. Hail damage is an expensive repair, that typically would require filing a claim with your insurance company. It is classified and as a Comprehensive claim (an act of God), which means you just pay your comprehensive deductible. I always recommend reviewing your policy and setting yourself a lower comprehensive deductible for situations just like this or damage out of your control, like a deer hit. It is usually the first place an insurance company tries to lower your annual rate but is really only a few dollars a year to save you hundreds of dollars if you need it. Most people have a deductible up to $1000 when you should really consider lowering it to $500 or $250. It makes a big difference if your vehicle gets damaged.
What should you do if your car gets hit with hail?
The first thing you will need to do is report the damage to your insurance company and ask for a claim number. That is all you need. Your insurance company will then try to steer you to a repairer that they have made a deal with. You have the right to choose your own repair facility! I can’t stress this enough! Insurance companies want to send you to where they have negotiated the cheapest repairs. This can mean getting used parts, aftermarket parts, or unsafe repair. They will tell you that they won’t guarantee the work at any other shop. This is misleading, they do not guarantee the work anywhere. The shop that does the repair provides the guarantee.
Once you have a claim number, you can contact us where we can schedule the repair through a qualified body shop that we partner with. In NJ, it is illegal for a hail claim to be processed by a mobile PDR company, it HAS to go through a licensed body shop. If your insurance company wants to send a representative out to do an “estimate”, they are entitled to do that. But rest assured, the estimate will be inaccurate, and you will be offered a check that is below the actual repair cost. DO NOT CASH IT! The estimate cannot be written correctly outside. the vehicle needs to be pulled into a shaded area and looked at with lights that will show the correct size and count of dents on each panel. in my experience with hundreds of hail claims, I have never once seen an estimate written outside that was even close to the real repair cost. Absolutely do not allow the insurance company to send a repair company to repair your hail damaged vehicle in your driveway! Not only is it illegal, but you will get a substandard repair, just as you would get a substandard estimate. As I have reported in my other blogs and spoken on at many industry events, today’s vehicles are complex electronic systems. Here at The CAR Guy Paintless dent repair, our focus is one returning the vehicle to its original condition, and your safety is paramount in our repair process. You are our customer, not your insurance company!
So if your vehicle gets hail damage, call your insurance company first, but call The CAR Guy next! I can help you at any point in the process, to make sure you get treated fairly and get the results you deserve! ts damaged by hail this season,