Getting Back on the Road from Hail Damage

May 13, 2005

Thursday night’s hailstorm in Hastings, Neb., reportedly caused widespread damage to cars and rooftops. For those with damage to their car, paintless dent removal might be the answer to restoring the vehicle to its pre-accident condition.

“We know how important it is to get you and your vehicle back on the road quickly – that’s what our 24/7, in-person claims service is all about. Understanding your repair options can help save time and money,” said Scott Snapp, catastrophe response director, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies.

If one’s vehicle is damaged in a hailstorm, Progressive recommends that they take the following steps:

1. Call the insurance company immediately to report the damage.

2. Discuss the repair with one’s insurance company and the body shop. Hail damage to sheet metal may need to be hammered and painted. However, trained technicians may recommend paintless dent
removal (PDR), which involves using specially-molded metal tools on the underside of a damaged part that won’t disturb the factory finish. This method is often utilized by manufacturers and dealers to repair new vehicles and will not invalidate paint warranties.

PDR cannot be performed if the dents are too large, if there are too many dents or if the paint finish is damaged. Prior body damage that required plastic fillers or bonding may also make PDR difficult. One’s insurance company will be able to determine the severity of the damage and consult with the owner and the body shop on which repair method makes the most sense for the vehicle.

3. Find a reputable facility. Save time and money by asking one’s insurance company if it has a preferred PDR provider. If one chooses a repair shop on their own, contact the Better Business Bureau or get referrals from friends. Ask the shop how PDR works and how they access hard to reach places to make the repair. The preferred method is to pull the dents from the outside rather than drilling holes to access the dent from beneath the panel.

4. Find out how long the repair will take. Paintless dent repair is an efficient and effective technique for repairing damage to the vehicle, and may be completed within a day. However, in Hastings, lots of cars were damaged, so the work may take a little longer due to the volume of vehicles that need to be repaired.

5. Make sure the vehicle is repaired to one’s satisfaction. Before accepting the vehicle, look at the surface in fluorescent lighting and from several angles so that one can see all the details. Check for any remaining dents before taking the vehicle home.

6. Ask if the shop guarantees its work. If one notices a flaw in their vehicle’s repair, they should be able to have it fixed at no additional charge. Know how one’s body shop will handle any problems one might have with their vehicle after the repair. Get guarantee and contact information in writing. Ask the insurance company if it guarantees the work of its preferred body shops.

Taking these simple steps can reportedly help one get their vehicle repaired and get them back on the road.

In addition, ensuring that one receives safe, high quality, cost effective repairs, keeps the cost of the claim down and can help to keep down the cost of auto insurance for all consumers.

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