Dealing With Car Damage From Hail Storms
Your car has been damaged in a recent hail storm. Your sheet metal is dented and your windshield is cracked. What options do you have? If you go through insurance, are you required to repair all of the damage on your car? Or can you simply fix the glass and live with the hail dents? Let’s find out what you options are. When your car is damaged and you file an insurance claim, the adjuster is required to write you an estimate for all of the visible damage on your car. This includes the sheet metal, glass, damaged trim, and all accessories you carry coverage for. This original estimate is called the Estimate of Record. Typically, after your vehicle inspection, you are provided a printed Estimate of Record and a check to pay for all of the listed damages. If you dispute the amount of the Estimate of Record, please read my article entitled
Obtaining Your Insurance Estimate
No matter what the insurance company tells you, all of the repair decisions regarding your car are your decision. Do you want to use Bob’s Auto Repair but the adjuster suggests Johnny’s Garage? You are well within your rights to reject Johnny’s and stick with Bob’s. Do you want to repair only the windshield and leave the hail dents on the sheet metal? Well, that is also within your rights as well. There are a few catches but the choice is still yours.
If Your Car Is Financed
The biggest catch is going to depend on how the insurance company writes the check to you. Does your insurance check have your name and the bank’s name listed? If so, you may find it a bit difficult to repair only your windshield. This is due to the fact that the bank technically still owns your car. They own your car until you make your final payment and have the title transferred into your name only. Until then, the bank always has a legal right to the vehicle. Stop making your payments and you’ll see what I mean.
You Have Clear Title
On the other hand, if your insurance check lists your name only, then you’re in luck. You have complete control over how your repairs will be handled. You can choose to have all or part of your damaged repairs. And as mentioned before, you can choose any repair facility you want. Some of you may have received an insurance check with only your name listed even though you still make payments to the bank. Don’t worry. This happens often. The insurance company often does not have all loan information in their systems. It is up to you to advise them to list the bank or to keep the check with only your name listed. Please read the article entitled Why Is the Bank Listed on My Check for more details about this.
Fixing My Glass
Now that you have your estimate and insurance check, you can begin coordinating your repairs. We’ve already established that you only want to fix your windshield. If there was rain along with or after the hail storm, you’re going to have to deal with the water damage to the interior of your car. This should be the first thing you deal with. If water or moisture is allowed to stay in the car for any length of time you will also have the cost mold removal to deal with. Make sure to try to go straight to a water damage restoration company and get the interior dried out and cleaned. After your car is dried out and your intention is to only fix the glass , I recommend going straight to the glass company and avoiding the body shop all together. Make sure to try to go straight to a water damage restoration company and get the interior dried out and cleaned. Then you can get the windshield taken care of. The body shop will likely want to charge a 25% mark up on the cost of fixing your glass. This is so they will make money too since glass repair techs are typically mobile and will come out to the shop, repair the windshield, and bill the shop for the repairs. Once the shop adds their 25% markup, they are essentially making money for something you can do on your own. Call the glass company, make an appointment and have them come to your home or place of employment. Save the 25% for your own pocket. The main glass companies are Safelite and Speedy Auto Glass. There are many other glass vendors but these are two of the most common ones. When you call their 800 number, they will ask you for the year/make/model of your car and provide you a quote for the repairs. They will also ask you where they can meet you to complete the repairs. As mentioned, they are mobile and can fix your car in your drive way or in the parking lot of your office. Just make sure to give them enough room to work and possibly setup a tent to keep any rain out.
What If the Glass Company Quotes Me More Than My Estimate
This is always a possibility. The insurance company’s estimate uses prices that are updated once per month. When large storms occur, the price of car parts, including windshields, often increases. Make sure to keep your receipt. Call the insurance company and let them know you have a supplement. A supplement is an increase in the cost of repairs. Supplements can be anything from an difference in windshield costs or additional repair time needed on a fender. The insurance company will ask you for a copy of the windshield receipt. Once received, they should issue you a second check for the difference in cost. If you chose not to use the glass company listed on your insurance estimate, they may not pay you for the difference. Make sure you take this into consideration before deciding to use a company outside of the insurance recommendation.