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Common Mistakes Motorists Make When Filing a Hail Damage Claim

There’s a reason people get nervous about hail storms when they roll through Dallas-Fort Worth. They can cause serious damage to our vehicles, and cars with hail damage can be a hassle to fix. If your vehicle has sustained hail damage this spring, there are several things you need to do to get it back to its original condition, starting with a call to your insurance company. To help you navigate the process, here is a list of common mistakes many motorists make when filing a hail damage claim and how you can avoid these pitfalls.

Mistake #1: Waiting to contact the insurance company

After realizing your car has sustained hail damage and needs hail dent repair, the first call, you make after realizing your vehicle has sustained hail damage should be your insurance company. You’ll want to do this as quickly as possible. Why? Because whenever a hail storm passes through North Texas, insurance companies are typically flooded with hail damage claims. That obviously slows down the process, and sometimes it can take weeks or even months for the insurance company to send out an appraiser. If your car is damaged again — either from a second hail storm or in an accident — before the first claim is handled, the damage from the first event is considered “pre-existing” damage and isn’t covered by insurance. So if you intend to get car hail damage repair work done on your vehicle, do it as quickly as possible. Every day of waiting for repairs is a day that you’re driving a car with pre-existing damage and vulnerable to potential monetary loss.

Mistake #2: Not making time to meet the insurance appraiser

After you file a claim, your insurance company will send out an appraiser to assess the damage to your vehicle. You or your spouse should be present to meet with the insurance adjuster because it will give you a chance to ask any questions you have and to point out the damage, and advocate for the repairs you want. Take notes about what the appraiser says, and be sure to ask about the deductible, which you will be responsible for paying. Your conversation with the appraiser should help you determine what repair work needs to be done and what kind of repair shop you need to choose. You should also take clear photos of the damage for your records.

Mistake #3: Being blindsided by the deductible

Speaking of the deductible, one common mistake motorists make when filing an insurance claim for hail damage is not realizing that there is a deductible they will be responsible for paying out-of-pocket. This is not an annual deductible like with health insurance, but rather a deductible you have to pay every time you file a claim as determined by your policy. If you pay the deductible, your insurance company will pay the remaining cost to repair your vehicle. You should ask your insurance company about the amount and plan for the payment so that you won’t be forced to leave the hail damage unrepaired.

Mistake #4: Accepting a settlement check and not fixing the damage

Your insurance company will most likely offer you an initial settlement check, and it can be tempting to take it to get the whole ordeal over with. Many motorists do and then put it towards what they owe on the car instead of getting the repairs done. But keep in mind that the initial estimate is typically well below the actual damages — sometimes by as much as half. So you should never accept a settlement check until you know the full extent of the damages and losses. Even if it doesn’t look like a lot of damage, car hail damage is often much more expensive to fix than most car owners realize. What might look like a few hundred dollars worth of damage to you could be several thousand dollars worth of damage. Yes, even when the damage is only cosmetic. That’s why it’s essential to hold out for full repair coverage and get your car repaired. Leaving the hail damage is one of the biggest mistakes motorists make because hail damage significantly decreases the value of your vehicle, as you will find out later when you go to trade it in. That’s when many motorists realize that what they thought was merely light cosmetic damage has cost them thousands of dollars in losses.

Mistake #5: Not talking with several body shops before making a choice

First, you should be wary of the “preferred vendor” list from your insurance company. By law, you can choose any shop you want to handle your repairs, so do your homework and choose an auto repair shop that will work hard for you. Second, by “do your homework,” we mean: never settle for the first repair shop you find without talking to several other shops. As long as there are no scratches or gashes, your vehicle is most likely a good candidate for paintless dent repair (PDR). PDR is cheaper, faster, and retains the car’s value better than traditional dent repair. However, not all PDR companies are the same, so you should schedule several estimates from local body shops and make sure you’re looking at how each business handles auto hail repair. Look out for pop-up shops that promise great deals but then close up as soon as hail season ends. Instead, choose a reputable dent repair company like Bodyguard that offers a lifetime warranty and will be here long after hail season ends. You can do that by asking good questions. By the time you have to make a decision, you should have a solid understanding of what your out-of-pocket expenses will be, how long the expected repair will take, how each business operates, and what guarantees they offer.

Why choose BodyGuard for your paintless dent repair?

Fixing hail damage without further damaging the material is a task that requires professional training, expert skill, and exacting precision. Not everybody shop is equipped to handle the job efficiently and effectively. Bodyguard specializes in paintless dent repair, so if you’re looking for the best hail damage repair company to take your automotive hail damage, reach out to our team of professionals at Bodyguard. Beyond hail dent removal and fixing hail damage on cars, our auto hail specialists will give you the flawless customer service experience you deserve. We also offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty on our service. We’re known and trusted in DFW for our top-quality care. For more information about our fast and straightforward vehicle hail damage repair process, go to our website at bodyguardpdr.com for more details, or call us today at 469-628-4910 to set up an appointment.