How to Fix Hail Damage on a Car & Repair Cost (2024)

Updated: | Author: Kierstie Miller | Affiliate links may be present.

No one is completely safe from the dangers of severe weather. The damages caused can tally into the thousands for those unfortunate enough to be in the path of a bad storm. In hail prone areas, this can translate to costly damages to your house and property, including your car.

Hail damage on a car presents as quite a headache. Not only are the repairs costly, but it can reduce the overall price value of your car should you ever go to sell it. There are multiple different routes you can take when it comes to repairing hail damage on a car.

Estimates from auto body shops can be out of reach for some drivers, especially without insurance, but sometimes that hefty price tag is worth it. There are also a few DIY methods you could try.

Your Options for Fixing Hail Damage on a Car


Prevention is obviously the best protection against having to deal with hail damage. You can’t control the weather, but you can control the ways in which you protect your cars.

Some people have a spark of ingenuity when it comes to guarding against hail damage. On-hand items such as pool noodles and air mattresses have been employed to successfully protect their precious vehicles.

If you are able to, it is best to park your car under a carport or in a garage once you become aware of severe weather. Even if you’re driving, try to pull into a gas station until the storm passes.

Insurance Coverage

You could also classify this as a prevention measure, but sometimes you can still get most of your hail damage covered even if you didn’t have comprehensive protection at the time of the incident. Call up your car insurance provider and check what coverage you have.

Many insurance companies have coverage for what they consider “Acts of God”, which is essentially weather-related and other unpredictable or avoidable events.

For example, if lightning strikes a tree and it falls on your car, this type of coverage will help offset the repair costs.

Auto Body Shops

Even though paying full price for hail damage repair is something nobody wants to do, if you don’t feel confident repairing the damage yourself and your insurance company won’t cover it, that severely limits your options.

Some shops can negotiate a lower price or a payment plan. Also, most of them will give you a free estimate so you are able to shop around and find the best price & who’s willing to work with you so you can be sure the hail dents in your car will be professionally taken care of.

DIY Repair

While it is possible (with the right tools and patience) to fix hail damage on your own, the results from these methods are hit or miss. What works and what doesn’t is highly dependent on the severity of the hail damage & the person attempting the repair.

Still, some of them are worth a shot!

Repairing Hail Damage on a Car – DIY Methods

I’ll go over some of the purported repair methods for removing hail damage yourself, but as a disclaimer: these may not work for everyone.

Another thing to note about DIY hail repair is that you should prepare to do some buffing or polishing afterwards, as some of these methods can dull your clear coat or outright remove your paint if not done correctly.

Hail Damage Kits

These kits can be purchased online or at your local auto parts store. They generally include a suction device in the middle, some glue, and two leveraging devices on either side.

The glue is to be placed on the center plunger and centered over the hail-damaged spot. Once allowed to sit for a few minutes, the leveraging devices are slowly cranked to pull up the center plunger thus, pulling up the dent.

There are two drawbacks to this method.

First, if you have dozens of hail spots on your car then the amount of time it will take to fix them all with this method will be extensive.

Second, this method will only work on very very minor hails dents and only if the directions are followed properly.

If you plan on using this method, do not skimp out on the dent repair tool! It needs to have a strong adhesive & stable leveraging devices. Otherwise, you are just wasting your money

Panel Pushers

Panel pushers are a tool that bodywork professionals will sometimes use to push out dents in a car. It’s essentially a very thin stick that can be slid underneath panels and fenders to push the dent out from the inside.

These would best be used on larger dents, but be warned – it does take a little bit of finesse. Being too aggressive will cause the dent to essentially invert and you’ll be left with a bump instead of a dent!

Hot/Cold Method

This method has fairly good results on small, shallow hail damage spots. Having a piece of hail hit your car causes the metal to actually stretch under the force of being smacked. The hot/cold method uses this premise to “shrink” the metal back to its original size.

Using a hair dryer with a hot/cold setting, or a heat gun and some ice water, concentrate the heat on the dent for a brief period of time (approximately 30 seconds) then immediately blast the area with cold air or cold water.

By repeating this process, the dent will slowly start to reduce and eventually “pop” back into its original form.

How Do Auto Body Shops Repair Hail Damage?

Paintless Dent Removal

There are several different methods that bodywork professionals will use to repair hail damage. It all depends on the severity.

One method is called “Paintless Dent Repair” or PDR and is very similar to using the panel pullers mentioned above. Body shops will have more specialized tools for PDR though, so the end result looks flawless.

Body Filler or Glazing Putty

Another method employed for severe hail damage and multiple hail marks is called glaze/filler. The affected area is sanded down and then some sort of body filler or glazing putty is spread across the surface of the panel.

This is essentially filling in the hail marks instead of popping them out. After the product is applied, it is sanded again and then painted, primed, and buffed. This is a more costly repair method because it’s more labor intensive.

Panel Replacement

If a panel is damaged beyond the reasonable means to repair it, it may just be replaced entirely. This could be the hood, trunk, or roof of your car as well. Afterwards, it is color matched to the rest of your car.

The price on this will vary depending on which panel or panels is being replaced and the difficulty in color matching.

Auto Body Shop Hail Damage Repair Costs

If you don’t want to attempt to remove the dent yourself and would rather leave it to the professionals, you want to know how much money you are going to have to spend in order to repair your car.

Costs Through Insurance

Even if you have comprehensive coverage, some companies may only pay out a percentage of what the total damage is worth. An adjuster may quote you $4,000 for instance, but the shop will charge you $6,000 and the rest of that money is on you.

To avoid this overlap in fees, see which shops your car insurance company works with and let the shop and the insurance company hash out the details through your claim.

Keep in mind that filling a claim through your insurance for body damage will show up on your vehicle history report and may potentially raise your premiums. Also, if the insurance adjuster believes the cost to fix the damage will be more than 70% of your car’s value, they may total it out and cut you a check.

Figure out the out of pocket costs from a body shop first to see if it’s worth paying your deductible and risk raising your premium.

Costs from the Body Shop

The cost to repair hail damage on a car ranges between $550-$3,000, with the national average being about $1,700.

For a hail marred car with multiple small dings, auto repair shops usually charge per dent removed. This can range anywhere from $30 to $75 dollars, with the nationwide average being around $50. This is the hail damage repair cost without insurance.

You don’t need to be a math genius to see how this can easily add up to a very costly repair. Sometimes a panel replacement will end up being less than repairing each individual dent.

Also, the body shop can negotiate a total price with your insurance company (should you choose to use it and are covered) which may reduce the overall out of pocket costs to you.

It’s important to be an active participant in the discussion about the cost with the body shop and discuss different options and their price points.

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About Kierstie Miller

Kierstie is a huge car enthusiast, hailing from Texas. As a proud owner of a Ford Explorer, she loves to hit the road at every opportunity. While Kierstie doesn't have any professional automotive certifications, she's usually the first person among her clan to diagnose car issues and suggest effective fixes.

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