During a bad storm, hail can impact damage on a vehicle that is exposed to the elements. For example, you may suffer hail damage if a hailstorm occurs when your car is parked outside unsheltered. Hail dents can significantly decrease your car’s resale value, and larger dents and scratches can be unappealing, especially to a proud car owner. Any hail size can damage a vehicle, but those with a diameter of at least an inch cause the most havoc. Hail damage is widespread in Texas. Texas had the highest number of hail events in the United States in 2020 and the highest number of hail loss claims in 2019.
Apart from the common dents, other forms of hail damage include scrapes against body panels, causing paint chips or scratches. Hail can also shatter your mirrors, lights, or glass.
How to recognize hail damage on your car
Hail damage is often obvious to spot, but sometimes, it may require close examination to spot damage. Once the hailstorm has cleared, and it is safe to venture outdoors, examine your vehicle for these common signs of hail damage;
- Minor or significant dents on the hood, trunk, or side panels of your car. These dings may not cover the whole vehicle and are mostly not uniform in shape and size.
- Loose or missing side mirrors.
- Cracked windows, side mirrors, or windshields.
- Jammed doors or stuck side mirrors.
If you are not sure whether the damage to your car is due to hail, most car body shops offer free inspection and estimates of the damages.
Hail damage can be divided into four categories
- External car damage but with the paint still intact.
‘Cosmetic damage with intact paint’ is perhaps the most common type of hail damage. This type of hail damage is distinguished by numerous minor, round dents on metal panels’ surfaces with no paint damage. Because this is considered cosmetic damage that affects the car’s outward appearance, it may diminish its appearance and resale value. Luckily, this damage can easily be repaired with paintless dent repair since the paint is unaffected.
- External car damage but with scraped paint.
This type of damage is when the hailstones caused dents on your car and also scratched the paint. The damaged component will often be removed and replaced to fix this form of scratched cosmetic damage.
- Extreme car damage but with the paint still intact.
This type refers to damage to your vehicle’s exterior and interior components, but the paint is still intact. This may require significant repairs. The external components can be repaired with PDR, while the internal parts need to be repaired separately.
- Extreme car damage and scraped paint.
‘Severe damage with scratched paint’ is the most severe type of hail damage, as well as the most expensive to repair. This is because both internal and external components are damaged, and the paint is also scratched. The car might also have suffered mechanical damage. Hence, you must address the internal and external damages thoroughly and adequately for this repair.
How to repair car hail damage
After a hail storm, your car may suffer a few dozen dents. These can be repaired, depending on the severity. The damage could be so minor that you can fix it by yourself at home. Some DIY hacks that can repair hail damage include using dry ice, parking somewhere sunny, using a hairdryer, or a hail damage repair kit. These methods may not be reliable, and it is best to let a professional repair your car at a car body shop. Examples of such repairs include;
Paintless dent repair
Paintless dent repair is an example of a professional repair process, which is industry-recognized. It entails removing the dents from the exterior surface panels without interfering with the car’s paint. This process involves using special tools to apply pressure on the back of the panel to remove damages. It is fast, cheap, and also works best for small to large-sized dents.
Heat repair can be used to repair large dents. However, it requires that the heated part be repainted afterward, which will add to your total costs.
Replacing body panels
Body panel replacement is done for severe damages. The whole body panel might need to be removed and replaced. Though expensive, it is the only option for severe damage.
The cost of repairing hail damage depends on the size of the damaged area and the number of dents. The price ranges from $30 to $45 per dent for minor dents, $45 to $55 per dent for medium-sized dents, and $75 and above for large dents. On average, the cost of hail damage repair is about $2500. Should you suffer damages multiple times in a year, it can be expensive to repair your car. Repairing hail damage might be costly, and it is wise to get insurance cover if you live in hail-prone areas like Texas if you can afford it. Hail damage is part of the comprehensive insurance cover. Should you suffer damage, you can contact your insurance company on how to file a claim. However, the damage should not increase the rates you pay.
How to prevent car hail damage
Prevention is always better than cure. Preventing hail damage to your car can help you avoid expensive repairs, especially if you do not have insurance coverage on the same. First and foremost, parking your car in a garage keeps it from the elements of weather. Your vehicle will most likely not suffer any hail damages unless the garage is destroyed. If you don’t have a garage, you should consider installing a carport, which can cost anywhere from $1000 – $3000, depending on the size. Hence, you can save thousands of dollars you would spend on repairs and insurance deductibles.
There are also covers made specifically to protect cars in case of a hailstorm. Some include inflatable designs, which will cost you just a few hundred dollars. Regular car covers can also work. You can also cover your vehicle with a blanket at the onset of a hailstorm if you still cannot afford this. This will at least cushion the hail impact and help reduce the damages.
Car hail damages can impact a vehicle’s aesthetics and value. Repairing them should be done as soon as possible. As highlighted in this article, there are issues to consider when repairing damages, such as the cost and extent of the damage. Still, it would be better to prevent the hail damage or get insurance cover to help with the costs.