Did you or your clients sustain vehicle damage in last night’s Oklahoma hail storms?
If you answered yes to the above question, know that we sympathize with you. Mother Nature can be so cruel. Hail can create costly damages in a matter of minutes and yet it can take days, weeks, even months to get everything repaired and replaced. This is especially true if the storm was widespread, such as last night’s catastrophic hail storms.
With hail damages to this degree, it will take a week or so for insurance companies to set up Catastrophe Teams for estimates. Even with Direct Repair Program (DRP) Shops, Insurance companies often treat hail claims differently when it comes to estimates for hail…sometimes it takes the insurance companies a week to lay out how they want to deal with mass estimates on storm damage claims. It will take some time for the rental car companies to get cars lined up for use. Additionally, due to Covid, many automotive manufacturers are behind on production making it harder to get some parts and difficult to get glass (windshields) in a fastidious manner.
Here are 5 things you should do if you sustained damage last night’s Oklahoma hail storms:
1) Secure your property.
Cover up holes where rain can cause further damage. We have been crash wrapping cars that have come by our shop (but we have been inundated ourselves and potentially will run out of wrap), but crash wrap can also be purchased online (Amazon) and possibly locally. Here we have a list of things by DisasterSafety.org on what to do to secure property after a hail storm.
2) Determine if You Should File a Claim.
If you can visibly see the hail damage, such as a busted windshield, mirrors, and lights, you should go ahead and file a claim. With the size of the hail we saw yesterday, there are going to be a lot of totals unfortunately. Much of the time even light hail damage all over the car is $3000 or more, and that is hard to see…so again, if you can easily see the damage, and if it makes it unsafe to drive, you might as well file a claim on this one.
3) Find Out How Your Insurance Company is Going to Handle Estimates.
Insurance companies do not always treat hail claims the same as collision claims. It may take a few days for an insurance company to evaluable the number of claims they have in a particular area and determine if they are going to set up a CAT Team to handle such, or defer to Direct Repair Facilities (DRP) Shops. If they set up a CAT Team, they will require you to get an estimate directly through their CAT team, which you can then take to the auto body shop of your choice to begin the repair. So getting an estimate may just be a waste of time, for this reason, you should find out how your insurance company plans to deal with estimates on last night’s Oklahoma hail storms
4) Evaluate & Mitigate You Damages for Potential Cost Savings in the Long Run.
We are at the beginning of “Oklahoma’s Hail Storms & Tornado Season”. If a vehicle is safe to drive and the windshield is not busted, it may make sense to get through the season before getting a claim started as you may sustain more hail damage over the course of the next month to 2 months. Why have multiple hail claims on the same vehicle in the same season if you can help it? Besides, dropping a “safely drivable” car off at a shop without ensuring parts are in or that they can handle your repair immediately is a recipe for longer repair times and slower turnaround (also know as more out of pocket costs on rental). More helpful hints for dealing with hail repair can be found here.
5) Be Patient
Everyone wants their vehicle repaired immediately after a storm and there are processes that must be implemented first, so be patient with the folks trying to help you get the repairs you need. Additionally, with automotive parts already having production and backorder issues, as well as auto glass, know that repairs will have to be strategically scheduled based on availability and those most in need. So cars that are deemed non-drivable due to windshields being busted, lights, or mirrors should have priority over vehicles that have just sustained cosmetic damages. Additionally, collision ramp up this time of year so you shops tend, too, so shops were already getting busy prior to these awful Oklahoma hail storms hitting.
Know that we want to help everyone that we possibly can. At the same time, we do not want you to waste your time getting an estimate if it doesn’t benefit you do so. We also don’t want to cost your more money out of your pocket unnecessarily. It is for this reason we are passing this info on, so you can make the best decision for moving forward with your vehicle’s repair. Getting an estimate or dropping your car off now will not guarantee you a spot closer to the front of the line on a repair, what will be the determining factor is going to be how insurance choose to handle the CAT claims, parts and glass availability for your year, make, and model, and if your car sustained damages that make it unsafe to drive.