FAQs about Hail/Storm Damage
Why is hail damage a good candidate for PDR?
Hailstones tend to produce dents with no paint damage and minimal metal stretching. In the hands of a highly skilled PDR technician, light, moderate, and even severe hail damage can be repaired to true “pre-loss” condition leaving virtually no trace of previous damage or evidence of repair work.
What is “pre-loss” condition?
This is the condition of the vehicle immediately before the time it is damaged.
When is hail damage not a good candidate for PDR?
Extreme storms can cause damage to vehicles so severe that body panels must be replaced or conventionally repaired for a variety of reasons:
- Large dense hailstones can stretch metal beyond repair for even the most highly skilled PDR tech or experienced conventional body repair tech.
- Severe dents can occur in areas that are not accessible from the underside.
- Impacts close to the edge of a panel can crack the paint and refinishing is needed.
- Impacts from flying debris can cause severe dents with paint damage.
- Extreme hail can cause severe metal deformity such as multiple dents within dents, multiple severe dents so close together very large dents are formed, or body line deformity that is beyond repair.
- Extreme hail can also result in such a high number of dents per panel that such a lengthy repair time is simply not feasible using PDR methods.
My car has been damaged in a hail storm what should I do first?
Contact the repair center of your choice. There is no such thing as a Preferred Provider Network (PPN) system that exists in medical insurance for automotive insurance. Therefore, it is not necessary to contact your insurance company first if you have a preferred repair facility. You own the property and ultimately it is your choice where to have it repaired.
My preferred repair center told me to contact my insurance company for an estimate first. Why?
In this instance, the repair center of your choice may be part of a Direct Repair Program (DRP) for your insurance company. A Catastrophe Team may be dispatched to areas following large storm events and your insurer may require an initial inspection performed by this team.
What is DRP?
Although there is no PPN for auto insurance, DRP is the closest method insurance companies use to direct clients to their preferred repair centers. Most large collision repair centers have DRP contracts with major insurance companies. In exchange for inclusion on the “approved” list of shops, the collision repair center agrees to provide repairs at a controlled rate. The benefit to the collision repair center is the volume of “assignments” that are sent directly to the facility by the insurance company. Although rare, some PDR repair centers are DRP. Should your vehicle have light damage your insurance company may refer you to a DRP Paintless Dent Removal company.
I contacted my insurance company for an estimate. A claims adjuster prepared an estimate and provided me a list of approved repair facilities. Am I obligated to choose one from this list for repairs?
No. Your vehicle is your property and you have right to choose ANY repair center to repair your damage. Most states have laws to protect consumers from insurance company steering under these circumstances.
The claims adjuster informed me that the insurance company will not warranty work performed by repair shops not on the “approved” list of facilities so shouldn’t I choose a repair shop from the provided list?
The fact is your insurance company does not warranty the repair work. The DRP repair centers that perform the repairs warranty the work. An insurance company representative can only make this statement based on the DRP contract agreement with a repair center. These contract agreements require the DRP provider be held responsible for warranty repairs at the shops’ expense and the insurance provider does not reimburse them. Every top quality repair center warranties and stands behind the jobs they perform to protect their business reputation regardless of DRP status.
My collision repair center told me that conventional repairs would be needed to repair the hail damage to my vehicle because the damage is too severe for PDR. Is this accurate?
Most likely, regardless if your collision repair center is DRP or not DRP, a claims adjuster will make the decision about what methods will be used to repair your vehicle. A claims adjusters’ job is to control losses for the insurance company by authorizing the lowest possible payout to repair your vehicle. In cases of severe hail damage insurance companies and their claims adjusters are aware that PDR is oftentimes more costly than conventional repairs. In addition, insurance companies and their claims adjusters are fully aware of the benefits of PDR (such as value preservation) to the consumer and the fact that PDR methods have the ability to restore your vehicle to true “pre-loss” condition. However, in an effort to control cost, oftentimes claims adjusters decide on your behalf to select conventional repairs in place of PDR on your vehicle to save just a few hundred dollars on a claim. Who pays more in the down the road? You do. As the vehicle owner this is why your involvement in the repair process is so important. In conclusion, the best course of action to preserve the value of your vehicle is to seek the advice of a master level PDR technician with severe damage experience.