If your car has recently been damaged in a hailstorm, you may be wondering how much it’s going to cost to get repairs. Anytime your car needs to be taken to the shop, it’s inconvenient — partly because it takes time and interrupts your schedule, but mostly because it’s a large, unexpected cost.
Although auto hail repair is a specialty service, it doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, sometimes it can be under a few hundred dollars, or even free. Keep reading to learn five tips on how to save money on auto hail repair.
#1. Prepare With the Right Coverage
If you live in an area where auto hail damage is common, it’s worth considering adding comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from damage caused by events other than a collision, like hail or vandalism.
If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the costs of the repair covered. So even though it costs more on your monthly insurance bill, it can be worth it in the long run.
#2. Contact Your Insurance Provider
If you have comprehensive coverage, the next step is to contact your insurance provider and let them know about the damage. They will likely send an adjuster to assess the damage and give you an estimate for repair costs.
Once you have this estimate, you can start shopping around for auto hail repair services, using the estimate as a gauge for what prices are appropriate.
And keep in mind, even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, it’s always worth it to check just in case. You may be enrolled in it without knowing, or there may be other aspects of your damage and repair process that can be covered.
#3. Try Paintless Dent Repair
One of the most popular options for auto hail repair is paintless dent repair (PDR). This is a process where the dents are gently pushed out from the inside using specialized tools, without damaging the paint. It’s uniquely suitable for hail damage, but can also be used for other types of dents and dings as well.
PDR is significantly cheaper than traditional dent repair since it’s less time-consuming and doesn’t involve repainting, adding filler, and several other labor-intensive steps involved with traditional dent repair. In general, PDR costs 25% to 50% less than regular dent repair.
#4. Go to a Specialty Hail Repair Shop
Not all auto body shops are created equal. When it comes to auto hail repair, you want to make sure you’re going to a reputable shop that specializes in this type of work. This is especially true if you’re choosing to use PDR.
Not only will they have the equipment and experience necessary to do the job right, they will also provide it at a lower cost than regular body shops. This is because they already have a streamlined system set up to do hail repair and won’t have to buy new tools or equipment, and they usually offer to negotiate with your insurance.
So, instead of going to the first shop your insurance suggests, shop around a little bit. Odds are, you’ll find a shop with better expertise and more affordable prices.
#5. Work With a Company That Offers a Warranty
When you get auto hail repair done, you want to be sure it’s going to last. Otherwise, you’ll just end up back at the shop a few months later and have to pay for repairs all over again.
The good news is, that many reputable auto hail repair companies offer warranties on their work. This means that if something goes wrong or the repair doesn’t last, you can take it back and they will fix it for free.
Even though car hail repair can cost a lot, there are methods you can use to save money.
By having comprehensive coverage ahead of time, working with your insurance, choosing PDR over traditional dent repair, and using the right shop, you can get your car looking like new without spending a fortune.