Has your insurance company written you an estimate that seems unreasonably low? We are hail repair experts who work with your insurance company to ensure your vehicle is properly brought back to pre-loss condition.
The Insurance Process
When your car’s been a victim of a Colorado hail storm, the first thing you may wonder is how much of this will my insurance cover?
If you have comprehensive insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company for all the damage brought on by the storm. A claim number will be assigned to you, an estimate will be created in one of two ways: either an adjuster will come to you or you will be asked to take your vehicle into a claims processing center such as a CAT (Catastrophe) site or a designated body shop.
The Claims Adjuster
If your insurance company sends an adjuster out to “look” at your vehicle, they may conduct their inspection outside in the sunlight where you really can’t see all the dents especially on a light-colored car such as white or silver, even with a highly trained eye for detail.
They will cut you a check for what they “see” in damages and then tell you—at the end of that meeting—that if the repair shop sees additional damage, they will address that with a supplement. Their strategy, and it’s brilliant, is to write you a quick estimate based on the most obvious dents and cut you a check, minus your deductible and basically leave it up to you on what to do next. Often this initial estimate is around half of what the actual repair costs really are, but this strategy reduces their claims settlements and really adds up when you consider that they may be facing thousands of hail claims. This is their motivation to send someone on their team out to look at your vehicle. The average consumer doesn’t even know any better and they rely on that.
The Body Shop Method
If your insurance company refers you to a body shop for your estimate or to have the work done there, you pay your full deductible and then have to rely on them to make the decisions on what’s going to happen with your vehicle. That could mean replacing the hood or even the entire roof of the vehicle based on what the insurance company determines. The body shops within their network have special arrangements and pricing agreements in place and the insurance companies direct work there whenever possible. They are paying the bill and this is just another way to have control over that cost. They will write for recycled hoods or aftermarket parts based on whatever route is the least expensive and you will have no say in the matter.
Because a body shop makes its money from collision work (painting panels and replacing parts) they will rarely choose Paintless Dent Repair which is non-invasive, preserves vehicle quality and is also an environmentally friendly process. Even if a body shop uses PDR, they may employ “storm chasers” (technicians who follow hailstorms) as subcontractors to get all the work done, and unfortunately, many of these hail chasers are fresh out of training, using your car to gain experience!
But you have another choice.
You have the authority to determine where your vehicle gets fixed. If your insurance company tells you that you must take your car to a certain place, ask them to put that in writing. They won’t because this is a practice called steering and it’s illegal for an insurance company to force you to take your vehicle to a particular shop.
When you choose Dents By Hand to handle your claim, you can be confident you will receive a high quality repair job which will leave your car almost as if the dents never happened. At Dents By Hand, we have been in business since 1996 and I vouch for all of my PDR technicians. We offer a free hail evaluation and use a light tunnel to put your dents “under a magnifying glass” to make sure we catch everything.