It is always best to allow your insurance company to do what you pay your premium for… restore your car to pre-accident condition.
My car was damaged in the hail storm. What do I do now?
The first thing to do is to contact your insurance company and initiate a claim. You will be informed where to take your car or truck in order to have the damage assessed by an insurance adjuster.
I am meeting with my adjuster, now what?
Allow the adjuster to inspector car and write an estimate to repair the damages. This estimate may not be accurate, as it is just an estimate. When you have your car repaired, any difference between the amount of the estimate and the final invoice will be resolved between the repairing vendor and the insurance company by means of a supplement.
The insurance adjuster will most likely encourage you to have your car repaired by one of their preferred vendors. Remember, it is your choice to have your car repaired by the person or business of your choice. It is illegal for an insurance company or their representative to require you to have your car repaired by any specific vendor. It is not uncommon for the preferred vendors to have representatives present at insurance company claim centers. Do not be pressured into using one of these vendors if you are not comfortable with them.
I’ve got my check, now what?
Most insurance companies will issue you a check once they have estimated the damage to your car. It is not uncommon for the amount of the estimate/check to be substantially less than the actual cost of repairs when repaired by a reputable vendor not on the insurance companies’ preferred list. It has been speculated that this is a tactic of insurance companies to minimize the cost of the claim. If you do not repair your car and you cash the check, you are, in effect, settling the claim for the amount of the estimate, when the actual amount could, and probably should be, substantially higher.
While it is tempting to just cash the check and not have your car repaired, there are consequences to consider before doing so. One consequence could be that in the event of a future damage claim the insurance company may reduce the amount paid on that claim by the amount previously paid for hail damage not repaired. Also, if the claim amount is not applied to any liens against the vehicle, then the vehicle value would not be sufficient to satisfy the lien in the event the vehicle is sold or traded.