Warmer weather is here, and this means hailstorms will work their way throughout the country, leaving dented, dinged, and damaged cars in their wake.
Is the car ready to face Mother Nature this spring? Have you got the proper insurance to recover from any damage? And how can you get your vehicle fixed up to pre-storm condition without putting a dent in your wallet?
Car Craft Auto Body has seen and fixed many automobiles damaged by hailstorms. We’d like to provide the following advice to help car owners handle hailstorms:
After getting hail damage, the first thing to do is speak to your insurance company before contacting a repair shop. Most of the time, if there is a really big storm, the insurance companies will call in what’s referred to as a Catastrophe Team. If you are driving around town and you are getting lots of estimates, unfortunately, it is likely to be a lot of wasted time for you. The insurance companies will want you to go and have their Catastrophe Teams see it, start the claim process, and then you can bring it to Car Craft Auto Body or any auto body shop, and they’re going to work with the insurance companies from there to make sure that all the dents get fixed on the car.
Even if you do not believe your car was damaged too terribly, it is vital that you have it checked out at the earliest opportunity. There can be lots of damage that you can’t see when you are just visually looking at it. When you get it underneath some lights, and you really look at it, there are a lot of dents that you won’t see until you potentially go to trade your vehicle in, and then you are going to be stuck with a bunch of hail damage. The best option is to get a claim processed, and get it into a qualified collision repair center, and have them really look over the automobile carefully. Once you get it inside and underneath the florescent lights, what you thought was only 10 or 15 dents winds up being 50 to 100 dents.
Check Your Coverage
The time to examine your car insurance is not whenever you hear the hail hitting your car. Read your policy now to understand what is and isn’t covered, what the deductibles are, if you have rental coverage and what to do whenever the storm hits.
Comprehensive coverage safeguards against most damage from natural disasters. Two other options to consider are gap coverage – which pays the difference between what you owe on your loan and exactly what your automobile is worth — and rental reimbursement.
One warning – if you submitted a past damage claim and received a check from your insurance provider, but didn’t have your vehicle repaired – the insurance company will deduct this amount from your estimate for the storm damage, and charge a second deductible, too.
Protect Your Vehicle
Once you know that a hailstorm is en route, get your motor vehicle to higher ground or under cover. If you do not have a garage at home, locate a covered public parking garage to shield your automobile. If you need to park your automobile outside, park it on as high of ground as possible away from trees and phone poles.
For hailstorms, cover your car in an old blanket and a car cover from any local automotive retailer – before the storm hits. This will offer some protection for your hood, roof, and rear deck-lid. If a storm comes up swiftly, seek out an awning at a service station, the drive-through at the bank or self-serve car wash to get beneath for instant protection. On the highway, look for cover beneath a bridge or viaduct.
Get Your Car Repaired
Dealing with the aftermath of a big hail storm can be traumatic, particularly when you’ve had immense damage to your house, too. Getting your car back up and running should not add to your anxiety, if you’re prepared for the repairs. To help with the task, Car Craft Auto Body gives the following tips for individuals in Bridgeton, St. Louis, Chesterfield, and Oakville, Missouri:
• Make copies of your motor vehicle registration, title, insurance card, and driver’s license before the storm hits and secure in a safe, dry place.
• Once the storm clears, record the harm with photos and video.
• Have a repair plan available. Know where you’d like to have your automobile repaired ahead of time so you do not need to make a quick decision.
Whenever you choose an auto body shop for repairs, remember:
• Do your homework and check out the shop, their reputation, business or trade associations they belong to and if their technicians are I-CAR trained.
• Only trust your automobile to a well established auto body shop business running before the storm. Stay away from fly-by-night operators trying to make a quick buck from the storm. If they’re set up in a tent or temporary location, do not trust them with your vehicle.
As soon as your car arrives at the auto body shop for repairs, there are certain things you need to keep in mind to make certain you get a good quality repair:
• Read the estimate in detail, but keep in mind that it is for the visible damage and what it will take to fix the automobile to pre-accident condition. If the estimate doesn’t cover the full extent of damage, a supplement will be created and sent to your insurance provider for approval.
• Get an in depth description of the parts to be replaced and whether they are OEM, new or refurbished, and in what condition the car will be returned to you. Most insurance policies stipulate pre-accident condition, so your seven-year old minivan may not come back looking brand new.
• Get an exact timeline of when the work will be done and when the job will be completed.
• Detail the payment terms and methods, including down-payment, final payment, and charges for any follow-up work.
• Ask the store manager for regular updates on the job, and require approval for any work done outside of the original estimate.
• Don’t be pressured to accept the finished repair if you don’t believe it is repaired properly. Contact your insurance agent for guidance.
While your car is in the auto body shop, it’s a great time to get other dents and dings fixed. It ought to be more cost-effective and your car will ultimately benefit.
For more tips on handling an accident or getting your vehicle repaired after a collision, contact Car Craft Auto Body in St. Louis, Missouri.