How to Spot and Repair Hail Damage on Your Car
Michael Collado is a car buying expert and has been a professional automotive writer since 2009. He’s written about dealership sales, vehicle reviews and comparisons, and service and maintenance for over 100 national automotive dealerships. Previously, Collado was a copywriter at the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day where he worked on brand campaigns for Nissan, ABC Television, Sony PlayStation, and Energizer. His recognition in the ad industry includes awards from Communication Arts and The Clios.
Collado has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Marketing.
Hail damage on a car can be an unexpected expense that no one wants to face. It can cause a lot of headaches if you're trying to sell or trying to repair the damage.
To help with the stress of dealing with hail damage, we put together this useful resource for identifying, repairing, and what it means for insurance coverage.
Table of Contents
- What is Hail Damage?
- How to Identify Hail Damage on a Car?
- Repairing Hail Damage on a Car
- Insurance Coverage for Hail-Damaged Cars
- Buying or Selling a Car with Hail Damage
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hail Damage?
Hail damage is the result of hail stones hitting a car, causing dents and other forms of damage. The size of hailstones can vary from tiny to as large as a golf ball, depending on the severity of the storm.
When these hail stones fall onto cars they can cause significant damage, including dents and scratches to paintwork.
Definition of Hail Damage
Hail damage refers to any type of physical harm caused by hailstones striking a vehicle's exterior surfaces, such as its body panels, windows, or windshields.
It can also include interior components like upholstery and carpets if exposed to falling hail stones.
Causes + Types of Hail Damage
The main cause of hail damage is strong winds carrying large chunks of ice into an area with no shelter for vehicles or buildings. This could be due to severe weather conditions like thunderstorms or tornadoes.
There are two types of hail damage that may occur when a car is hit by falling hailstones – direct impact and indirect impact.
Direct impact occurs when a large enough stone strikes directly against the surface it hits; this usually results in visible dents being left behind on metal surfaces such as hoods, roofs, and fenders, as well as deep gouges in plastic parts like bumpers or side mirrors.
Indirect impact happens when smaller stones bounce off other objects before striking your vehicle. This will generally leave behind shallow marks rather than deep indentations but still requires repair attention nonetheless.
Key Takeaway: Hailstones from intense storms can cause significant damage to cars, resulting in dents and scratches on the exterior as well as interior components such as upholstery. Direct impact is usually more visible with large stones leaving behind deep indentations while smaller ones may only produce shallow marks.
How to Identify Hail Damage on a Car?
Recognizing hail damage is essential for those purchasing or selling a pre-owned car, as it can have an important impact on its worth. Here are some tips on identifying hail damage on a car.
Signs of Hail Damage on a Car
The most obvious sign of hail damage is small round dents across the surface of the vehicle, which are caused by hailstones hitting and denting metal surfaces at high speed.
In addition, you may notice small cracks in paintwork or plastic trim due to hailstones impacting these areas with enough force to cause cracking or splintering.
Common Areas for Hail Damage on a Car
The hood and roof tend to suffer from the most impact since they face upwards when parked outside during storms; however, doors and windowsills also receive plenty of attention from Mother Nature’s wrath.
If there is an accumulation of tiny chips here then this could suggest that stones have impacted multiple times in one area over time.
Finally, check under carpets or mats inside the cabin; sometimes stones will become lodged here after entering through open windows during stormy weather.
Key Takeaway: Hail damage can be difficult to spot, but a trained eye will notice the small round dents across the surface of the vehicle or cracks in paintwork and plastic trim. Common areas for hail damage are hoods, roofs, doors and windowsills; inspecting these areas closely as well as under carpets or mats inside should reveal any signs of 'havoc wreaked' by hailstones.
Repairing Hail Damage on a Car
The cost of mending the effects of hail on a vehicle will vary depending on how severe it is and if it's slight or considerable. Minor hail damage may only require some DIY repairs, such as using a paintless dent repair kit to remove small dents from the bodywork. However, more extensive hail damage may require professional repairs, which can be costly depending on how much work needs to be done.
The cost of repairing hail damage typically includes labor costs for removing dents and replacing damaged parts, as well as materials such as paints and primers used in restoring the vehicle's exterior finish. It is important to get multiple estimates from reputable auto body shops before deciding which one to use for your repair job.
Some insurance companies also offer discounts for customers who have their cars repaired at certain approved shops after experiencing hail damage.
For minor damages caused by hailstones, you may want to try doing some DIY repairs first before taking it to an auto shop. A paintless dent removal (PDR) kit can help you remove smaller dents without damaging the original paint job or leaving any visible marks behind; however, this method is not suitable for larger dents or more extensive damages that affect several panels at once.
Key Takeaway: Fixing harm brought about by hail to a vehicle can be costly and laborious, with the cost hinging essentially on how serious the destruction is. DIY repairs may suffice for minor dents, but more extensive damages likely require professional attention at considerable expense; savvy shoppers should compare multiple estimates before committing to any one shop or insurer's discounts.
Insurance Coverage for Hail-Damaged Cars
Comprehensive insurance coverage provides protection against hail damage, as well as other types of non-collision-related losses such as theft or vandalism. It’s important to note that comprehensive coverage doesn’t always cover all types of hail damage; it depends on the terms and conditions outlined in your policy.
Deductibles are typically required when filing a claim with comprehensive coverage, meaning you must pay a certain amount before the insurer covers any additional expenses associated with repairing hail damage on your vehicle.
The claims process varies depending on your insurer but generally involves providing proof of loss (such as photos) along with an estimate from an approved auto body shop detailing repair costs. The insurer will then review this information and determine if they will approve payment for repairs based on their criteria for what constitutes “hail damage” under their policy terms and conditions.
If approved, they may issue payment directly to you or to the auto body shop performing repairs; however, some insurers require you to pay upfront before being reimbursed after repairs have been completed satisfactorily.
Key Takeaway: Comprehensive insurance can help cover the costs of repairing hail damage, but it's important to understand deductibles and claims processes before filing a claim. Knowing what your policy covers ahead of time will save you from getting caught in the rain when disaster strikes.
Buying or Selling a Car with Hail Damage
When considering the purchase or sale of a car with hail damage, it is important to be aware that this could mean getting a lower price than normal due to the devaluation caused by such damage.
For buyers, this means researching market values for similar cars without hail damage so they know how much they should expect to pay for one with significant dents and scratches from hailstones.
Sellers should research repair costs as well as local laws regarding disclosure of previous damages before attempting to sell their car at full retail value despite its condition. This will help both parties come up with an agreeable price point that reflects the current state of the vehicle while still allowing either side some room for negotiation.
Key Takeaway: When negotiating a car with hail damage, it is important to consider market values for similar cars without the same damage and repair costs before attempting to come to an agreement. Buyers should be aware of market values for similar cars without hail damage while sellers should research repair costs before attempting to sell at full retail value.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth buying a car with hail damage?
The cost of restoring a car after hail damage depends on the level of destruction and your financial commitment. If the hail damage is minor and able to be remedied without a large expenditure, then it may be worth considering buying a car with such an issue.
How much damage does hail do to a car?
Hail can result in considerable harm to automobiles, contingent on the magnitude and strength of the hail. Smaller hailstones may only dent or chip paint off, while larger ones could crack windshields or even dent hoods and roofs.
What does hail damage look like on a car?
Hail damage on a car typically appears as small dents or indentations in the body of the vehicle. The dents may vary in size from miniscule to quite large, and they can be scattered around the car or clustered together.
Does hail damage affect car engine?
No, hail damage does not affect the car engine. Hail may cause blemishes to a vehicle's exterior, yet it has no bearing on the engine's operation.