AUTOMOTOVE HAIL & DENT CLAIMS FAQ
This information is being presented as helpful tips a consumer might consider when dealing with possible hail damage to their vehicle and the process of getting it fixed properly. This process is called PDR (Paintless Dent Removal/Repair).This may be only hood or or doors from dents from other things besides hail.
The ability for a consumer to understand each role in the repair process can be useful in making sure the experience is a positive one.
Most insurance companies and their employees are going to be trained in dealing with inexperienced consumers and can be a great resource for information and guidance.
Unfortunately, not all repair shops are as helpful, their role is to get the car fixed and out the door so they can move on to the next, so don't rely on their advice too much.
- WHAT IS "PDR"?
- WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING PDR?
- HOW WILL THE HAIL DENTS BE REMOVED FROM MY VEHICLE?
- WILL THE DENTS RETURN TO MY CAR?
- HOW DO I GET THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THE REPAIRS?
- DO I HAVE A CHOICE ON WHERE I TAKE MY CAR FOR REPAIRS?
What to do before the hail storm
- WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CLAIMS?
- WHAT IS A DEDUCTIBLE?
- HOW DO I KNOW WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE MY POLICY COVERS?
- WILL MY INSURANCE COMPANY RAISE MY RATES FOR A HAIL DAMAGE CLAIM?
- SHOULD I HAVE RENTAL CAR COVERAGE ON MY POLICY?
What to do after the hail storm
- HOW DO I FILE A HAIL DAMAGE CLAIM?
- WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM MY INSURANCE COMPANY WHEN FILING A CLAIM?
- WHAT DO I DO BEFORE THE INSURANCE COMPANY COMES TO INSPECT MY CAR?
1. WHAT IS "PDR"?
The industry term "PDR" refers to paintless dent repair.
This is the process of removing dings and dents on vehicles using tools and techniques designed to not damage the paint.
The most common used tools are called repair bars or rods depending on their size.
The other process used is glue pulling using special hot glue and glue tabs, similar to mushrooms, to extract the dent.
An example of this process can be seen here:Why use PDR versus replacement or paint/body repair?
2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING PDR?
You keep all the Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) parts on your vehicle with the original seals and equipment from installation at the factory in place.
You keep the original factory paint on the vehicle. The factory paint is baked on vehicle at 460° (F) before the interior of the vehicle is installed making it impossible to replicate after it leaves the factory.
Keeps the maximum resale value of your vehicle.
Dents are removed not "filled" with body filler and painted over.
No chemical smell from paints, lacquers, etc... in car for weeks.
Less repair time needed, so you get your car back sooner.
3. HOW WILL THE HAIL DENTS BE REMOVED FROM MY VEHICLE?
After the metal was molded in the factory under great pressure, it has a memory as to its shape.
As the tech gently massages the dent from underneath, it returns to its prior form.
4. WILL THE DENTS RETURN TO MY CAR?
From the 1950's, this process is used in many of the manufacturing plants in Europe to remove any blemishes on new autos that were leaving the plant for sale.
Today, the process is used throughout the world both in car plants and repair shops as the "gold standard" of removing dents from vehicles permanently without having to repaint.
5. HOW DO I GET THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THE REPAIRS?
Most vehicles are covered by an individual's insurance policy. If one doesn’t have insurance, the costs will be out of pocket.
6. DO I HAVE A CHOICE ON WHERE I TAKE MY CAR FOR REPAIRS?
Yes, the consumer has the right to take their vehicle to the repair facility of their choice.
It is against the law for the insurance company to force an individual to go to a specific shop by withholding payment on a claim or not providing an estimate and payment in a timely manner.
If an individual has problems with their insurance company, there is always a state agency devoted to insurance and consumer complaints.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE HAIL STORM
1. WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CLAIMS?
The three basic types of insurance claims are liability, collision, and comprehensive.
Liability refers to the coverage applied to another party's vehicle or property.
Collision claims are the coverage on your vehicle or property.
Comprehensive claims also cover one's property but the major difference is no one is at-fault for the damages.
The typical phrase used is "act of god" when referring to hail damage comprehensive claim.
2. WHAT IS A DEDUCTABLE?
A deductible is an amount of money that an insurance company requires a consumer to be responsible for when paying for an insurance claim.
The deductible amount on auto claims usually ranges between $100 to $1000.
The consumer sets the amount of deductible they want to pay by choosing the level of coverage when they purchase the policy.
3. HOW DO I KNOW WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE MY POLICY COVERS?
As a consumer, it is beneficial to know what your auto insurance covers in case of accident or other claim.
If you need help, it is a good idea to contact your agent if you have one, or call the insurance company directly for help.
There must be comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy for damage caused by hail damage.
Most important, be sure to keep your auto insurance policy current and have an updated copy of the insurance paperwork in your vehicle.
Example: Several clients over the 16 year period of my career have lamented to me after a hail storm had struck that their insurance policy had lapsed and they did not have coverage.
They had the money, and meant to pay, but just forgot.
Many insurance companies have auto-pay options that offer discounts on the rates and will help to avoid this problem.
4. WILL MY INSURANCE COMPANY RAISE MY RATES FOR A HAIL DAMAGE CLAIM?
No, one's insurance rates will not rise due to a hail claim being filed on the policy.
Hail damage claims are covered under the comprehensive part of an auto policy and considered an "act of god" to which no one was at fault.
5. SHOULD I HAVE RENTAL CAR COVERAGE ON MY POLICY?
If you need a rental car, the coverage is only dollars per month, and the insurance company gets corporate discounts so you can get a great car for little coverage.
There are dollar amounts per day for a rental that are given on a policy.
They are usually between $25 to $45 a day and can cost more for more coverage.
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE HAIL STORM
1. HOW DO I FILE A HAIL DAMAGE CLAIM?
After your vehicle has been damaged, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage.
Typically after a hail storm, there are many people who will be filing a claim at one time, so it is best to report as quickly as you can to get prompt service.
Once you report your claim, you will be put on a list of people who need have an estimator or "adjuster" to come and inspect the vehicle, write an estimate, and setup a rental car reservation.
Some adjusters are available to provide payment in form of a check of their estimate minus the deductible amount.
2. WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM MY INSURANCE COMPANY WHEN FILING A CLAIM?
When filing your claim, the representative should be helpful and courteous.
They should get the information on what happed to damage the vehicle in a professional and timely manner.
Before getting off the phone with the rep, be sure to have someone's name and number with the claims department that you can contact with any questions or concerns.
Their job is to start the claim in their system, enter any pertinent information, and get the claim in the "que" or list to be called to setup an appointment for an estimate of the damage to the vehicle.
You should be contacted typically within 2-4 business days by the company adjuster for an appointment to prepare an estimate.
Some smaller insurance companies take longer to process claims and may send out an independent contractor to write the estimate during the appointment
3. WHAT DO I DO BEFORE THE INSURANCE COMPANY COMES TO INSPECT MY CAR?
A good idea is to first wash the vehicle so that all the dents can be easily seen. Next, go to craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michael's and to purchase a "China Marker".
This is a crayon-like pencil that is not permanent and non-toxic.
Crayons are not recommended due to their tendency to leave trace in the paint.
Circle every dent on the vehicle, including the plastic pieces or "moldings" along the windows, windshields, and roof wells.
This will help the adjuster, who is trying to get the estimate finished promptly, will notice all the damage and include it on the estimate.How do I find a good repair shop?
A good rule of thumb is to look at the Better Business Bureau in your area to see who is a member and what their record and rating currently is.
Example: Atlas Dent Removal is a member of the BBB and has a 0 complaints and A+ Rating