COLORADO SPRINGS – The American Automobile Association (AAA) has some tips for those affected by the devastating hail storm that pummeled southern Colorado last week.
AAA said it has already processed more than 200 homeowner and vehicle claims in wake of the storm. If you suffered damage to your car or house, here are tips to help get a move on repairs:
- No matter your insurance provider, file your claim as soon as possible. Filing early can help prevent additional damage and, because of the high volume of anticipated claims, there may be longer-than-normal wait times for repairs and possible time limitations from your carrier.
- While you’re waiting for your claim to be assessed, take photos of the damage to your home or automobile for your records. Avoid making any permanent repairs until the damage has been assessed.
- Be wary of scammers posing as contractors or dent-repair experts promising to repair your car or roof for cheap. As a general rule of thumb, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid agreeing to any repairs until you have worked with your insurance agent to determine your needs and coverage.
- Your insurance provider will help you determine how best to address home or vehicle damage based off of your insurance policies. If your roof needs extensive repairs or replacement, get an estimate from multiple contractors before making a decision.
- For automotive repair or bodywork, find a mechanic or body shop you can trust at AAA.com/Repair. Each AAA Approved facility has been inspected and certified by our automotive team and must meet stringent quality standards. Remember to review the shop’s estimate with your insurance agent before agreeing to repairs.
- If you were out driving when the hail hit, and believe you sustained only minor cosmetic damage, you should still give your insurance agent a call and get your vehicle inspected. Many vehicles and their electrical systems can suffer extensive water damage from hail storms, and some hail damage may not be immediately apparent.
- If your car’s windshield is shattered and requires replacement, make sure to call your agent and read your vehicle owner’s manual. Many new-model-year safety features, such as blind-spot detection, lane-departure sensors, and collision-avoidance systems rely on sensors in and the placement of your windshield, so you may need to get these technologies re-calibrated if it’s replaced.
- If your vehicle is “totaled” and you receive a check for its estimated worth, consider working with an auto broker, instead of directly with a dealership, to find a vehicle that fits your exact budget and meets your needs. Auto brokers, such as AAA Colorado’s AutoSource, including its Colorado Springs location, will search within their extensive networks to find you the vehicle you’re looking for at the price you’re able to pay, and will handle both negotiation and any financing on your behalf, if necessary. AutoSource can also help you in negotiations with your insurance company to ensure you’re receiving a fair figure on your totaled vehicle. More information at AAAColoradoAutoSource.com.
- Be wary if you’re considering buying a hail-damaged car. In the next few weeks, you may see advertisements and billboards offering savings on vehicles that were heavily hail damaged. While these might seem like great deals, there’s often more to the story than just cosmetic damage that could ultimately affect these vehicles’ driveability and long-term worth. And these vehicles may not be eligible for comprehensive insurance coverage in the future.
- Finally, plan ahead for the next storm — as Colorado is one of the most hail-prone states in the nation. For your car, make sure you consider comprehensive coverage, which covers physical damage to your vehicle not caused by a collision. For your home, consider replacing your roof with material that has been tested for impact resistance. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety recommends roofing materials rated by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as class 3 or 4.
For more information, visit the AAA website.