No matter where in United States you live or have traveled, chances are good that you’ve seen a hailstorm! If you’ve seen it, then most likely so has your car or truck. In part one of our Hail and Paintless Dent Repair article, we will get started on the ins and outs of hail damage. From minutes after the storm, to estimates, to repairs, and finally, back on the road as good as new, we will walk you through it all. You can check out this video to give you an overview of hail from the owner of Dent Repair Now, Gene Fetty.
While Pennsylvania is not particularly known for its hailstorms, on November 27, 2022, our area was hit with a large hailstorm that dropped hail on a large area of southwestern Pennsylvania. The average hail reported was 1.7″ and in Belle Vernon, Pa, 2″ hail was reported. That stormed damaged homes, businesses and vehicles from Smithfield to Hopwood and over to California and Perryopolis. the size of the hail made this storm, for our area at least, remarkable, and catastrophic. The day after the storm was a really busy one. As a company whose main service is repairing dents on vehicles without any type of paint, hailstorms can certainly boost our profit for the year. Our office manager was answering the influx of calls and talking to each potential client answering their questions and guiding them through the repair process. Our owner traveled to the areas affected by the storm to access the damage and connect with local body shops to work in tandem with them. A hailstorm of this size that caused damage as severe as this, most repairs were going to include new glass, and replacement of panels that were so damaged, it only made sense to replace some hoods and roofs, where the majority of hail damage falls.
Hail will dent the panels on cars, with the top panel (roof, hood, trunk lid) taking the most impact. It can damage moldings, sunroofs, and break glass. In addition to vehicle hail damage, homes, businesses and agriculture can be severely damaged. It can dent and break the asphalt on the backside of shingles, which in time will turn into a leaky roof. Hail can bend, dent and break gutters, and there are strong winds with the storm, it can damage and destroy vinyl siding. Very similar to car windows, house windows and skylights will crack and shatter. Metal roofs, just like panels on vehicles, can become severely dented or even break. Crops can be devastated, and areas hit with hail can have huge hits to their economy.
According to the Arizona State University website, the largest and most destructive hailstorm in history happened in India in 1888. The hailstones were goose egg sized hailstones, and 246 people were killed. Pretty rare today for people to be killed with hail, but it could certainly happen. The largest hailstone on record fell in South Dakota. The stone was about eight inches across and weighed almost two pounds. A stone that large, if it were to hit a person, would certainly be deadly and destroy any kind of property.
What should you do if you’ve just experienced a hailstorm? If the hail that has fallen in your area is pea size or smaller, that should not cause any damage to your home or vehicle. If it is nickel sized or larger, you’ve probably sustained damaged. Immediately following the storm, if it is safe to do so, assess your damage. Are there any broken windows? Be sure to seal them up the best that you can to minimize additional damage from outside elements (like rain or wind). Once that is done, it’s time to contact your insurance company. One important thing to remember, when there is a hailstorm, you are not the only one calling insurance agents, needing estimates, and trying to get scheduled at a repair shop. If your goal is to have your vehicle back to its pre storm condition, do not wait to call your insurance company. Large-scale catastrophes, like hailstorms, affect hundreds if not thousands of people. The sooner you get the claims process started, the quicker the repairs process will begin.
Filing a claim will always be the first step. Sometimes the storm is considered large-scale, and the insurance company will declare it a catastrophe. From there a team of insurance adjusters will be sent out to assess damages. Generally, in large scale storms, centralized locations will be given to customers that need to have their vehicles assessed. That is to say, they will not send an adjuster to you, but they will have you bring your vehicle to a designated repair or body shop for assessment. They may say, “We don’t have any adjusters in the area. Go to your preferred repair provider for an estimate to repair your vehicle. This is just a starting point for customers. You may hear the term “Supplement” from either your insurance agent or repair shop. We will discuss that in part two of our Hail and Paintless Dent Repair articles. It can be a lengthy process when dealing with any type of damage and claims. (Our goal is to make it as painless as we can). It is important to keep in mind the influx of claims being submitted in your area. Repair shops fill up quickly, getting your vehicle in for repair will typically be pushed back, which will prolong process. Starting immediately with a claim and staying on top of things will pay off in the long run.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
What we hear from our customers most often, is their concern that their automotive insurance cost will increase. Hail damage, being an act of God or an act of nature, falls under the comprehensive side of your insurance, and depending on your policy, should not count negatively against you. As a whole, any zip code that experiences hail damage is going to see a blanket increase in insurance cost. There’s really no reason to not repair your hail damage. Down the road, not repairing hail damage can affect you financially when trying to sell or trade in your vehicle.
Once you’ve spoken to your insurance company, and opened a claim, it is time to call us! You can reach us any number of ways. You can call us at 724-554-1756. You can email us at email@example.com. You can send us your information from this form on our website and we will contact you.
Click here to read part two of our series on Hail Damage and Paintless Dent Repair