Here in South Florida we are pretty lucky as hail storms are quite rare but just north us in Orlando they were hit by a really bad storm in April 2016 causing millions of $’s in damage to vehicles. As we go west towards Colorado and Texas the damage occurs considerably more often and with somewhat larger hail stones causing great damage to the vehicles. So what is hail anyway? Hail is frozen precipitation that occurs within strong to severe thunderstorms, this is not just a winter thing as these can occur any time of the year. Within these thunderstorms, extremely fast flows of air move upwards, updrafts, and then downwards, downdrafts. Moisture in the clouds go up so high it freezes then spirals down again as a frozen droplet, this can happen many times and as it circulates up and then down inside the cloud either wind force or pure gravity will cause the hail stone to drop from the sky as it gets bigger. Luckily the majority if the hail stones stay quite small, 1/3” in diameter or so, Even though the world record is over 8” in diameter!! Striking with sometimes little or no warning at all hail storms can catch you in the wide open and pelt your vehicle so it looks like you have been shot at with a 12 bore shotgun. Obviously the roof, trunk and hood and rails tend to get the most damage from these Icey pellets. Strong side winds can mean your vehicle gets broadsided. If your car is damaged by hail, it is best to check your insurance. If you have comprehensive coverage you are very likely covered. Most insurance companies regard hail damage as an act of nature so the claim should not affect your premium; but as always, check. •In most cases, you will first take your car to a body shop to get an estimate for repairs. If the damage was minor, it may not even be as much as your deductible so you'll want to consider that before filing your claim. Whether or not you repair your car is up to you. •If you decide to file a claim, the insurance company will generally want an estimate for the repair and will write you a check for that cost minus your deductible. •If you have an outstanding loan on your car, you will be required to get the damage fixed. •Most of the time, filing a claim for hail damage alone will not affect your insurance premiums. •Some policies will not make you pay a deductible on windshield repair (not replacement). If windshield only has minor damage, make sure you know whether this is the case for you before deciding whether to repair or replace. There's nothing pleasant about having your vehicle damaged in a hailstorm. And the process of getting it repaired can be even more unpleasant. Dealing with your insurance company and running around town getting estimates takes up a lot of time, and it can be confusing. Hopefully the following information will answer some of the questions you might have and help you save a great deal of time. If needed we can go to you to write an estimate. If your vehicle gets hit in a hailstorm, let us help you call PDR 360 first. Our techniques for repairing the damage will restore your vehicle to its original factory finish, maintaining the value and saving you time and money.