If the picture below seems a little bit blurry, it’s because the photo had to be enlarged and carefully cropped so the car on the right would be noticeable. Does this look like a car that has been in a hailstorm?
Of all of the snapshots that were taken on our 2016 National Parks Adventure, this is the only one with our car in it. We were so heartsick and distressed, we could hardly bear to look at our one-week-old vehicle. Here’s the sad (at first) story, readers.
***Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.***
The Big Purchase
On June 13, 2016, my husband and I did just what Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard advise against: We bought a brand new car. We usually save our money and pay cash for good quality used cars, but this time, we realized that the used cars that had the features we wanted (mainly all-wheel or four-wheel drive) were nearly as expensive as the new models. So, after agonizing and test driving a variety of vehicles, we purchased a Subaru Outback (Bonus: Heated seats!).
The Dusty Road Trip
I’m not sure why we decided to take the brand new car on a dusty road trip, but we did. We had a car-top carrier strapped on top, in case we decided to go camping. We set off in the direction of Colorado Springs, where we planned to visit the United States Air Force Academy.
The Massive Hailstorm
After dinner, on the evening of June 20, 2016, our hotel was pummeled by a sudden hailstorm. My husband and boys ran down to the parking lot, taking a blanket, hoping to protect the car somehow. There was no covered parking, and I watched helplessly from the window of our room as cars drove madly around, hopelessly searching for shelter.
The aftermath was horrible. All of the cars in the parking lot sustained damage, but, “None of those cars are just a week old,” moaned my husband. He quickly called our insurance company, California Casualty, whose headquarters, ironically, was located in Colorado Springs. They were sympathetic, and advised us just to continue our trip, and meet with an insurance adjuster after we returned home.
Continuing the Trip
We took their advice and visited the five national parks that were on our list: Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. The hikes we took were wonderful, but each time we returned to the car, we thought, oh, our poor car. We felt terrible, and we were dreading having to meet with the insurance adjuster upon our return.
Our Marvelous Insurance Adjuster
The independent insurance adjuster turned out to be a really nice guy named Keith. He brought his wife along with him when they came out to our house, and I had a nice visit with her while Keith took lots and lots of pictures. The report that he turned in to the insurance company stated that the damage was “All over”, and after the second revision of the report, listed 103 parts that needed to be replaced or repaired. The expenses kept mounting. When my husband took the car to the service department at the Subaru dealership, the service technicians just shook their heads in disbelief.
In my heart, I really wanted to keep the car, even with all of the dents. My husband could hardly stand to look at the damage. He knew it could never be returned to its original condition. What were we going to do?
The Agonizing Wait
We agonized for weeks over whether to have the car repaired or just sell it back to the dealer. Then we received a phone call from our awesome insurance company. The claims representative let us know that the company was going to declare the car a total loss.
“So when will you come pick it up?” my husband asked.
“But wait,” said the adjuster,”Don’t you want to know what you would need to pay to keep the car?”
Our Amazing Answer to Prayer
We hadn’t really thought of that as an option. She quoted us a ridiculously low price, and we just couldn’t refuse. The insurance company seemed to just want to be finished with the ordeal, and so did we. In the end, after all of the details were worked out, we owned the Subaru free and clear for less than $7,000. It was still covered by insurance (with one exception: hail damage), we no longer had a car loan, and everything about the inside of the car was still perfect. Hooray! Thank you, Lord!
Three Essential Tips if Your New Car is in a Hailstorm
Here are three important things we learned and would advise people to do in a similar, nerve-wracking situation such as this one:
- Be polite to the insurance company representatives and the insurance adjuster. We were fortunate to have had such nice people to work with, and they really came through for us in a big way.
- If you need to have parts replaced, insist upon manufacturer’s parts (in our case, Subaru), not generic substitutes. My husband was very specific about this. That’s one reason why the car would have been so expensive to repair.
- If your car is totaled, but entirely functional, you might want to keep it. It depends upon how bad the damage is.
Driving Around Today in the Formerly New Car, Hailstorm Damaged
I have enjoyed driving the Subaru for over two years now. Yes, she (I secretly call her Dimples) has imperfections, but so do we all. Plus, I don’t have to worry about getting door dings at the grocery store. It has been a great vehicle so far, and I hope to drive it for many years to come.
A Special Offer
I promised you an opportunity to earn a $25 gift card, and here’s the special deal. My amazing insurance company is offering a $25 gift card (they don’t specify which type of gift card) to anyone who goes to this link and requests an insurance quote. There are no strings attached, they assured me. I have it in writing. They specialize in covering educators, firefighters, police officers and nurses. Not in one of those career fields? Don’t worry. They also have an “Other” option for you to select when giving information.
Do You Have a New Car Hailstorm Story?
What about you? Did you ever have a new car in a hailstorm? I’d be interested to read about your experience if you care to share it.If you like what you’ve read today, please consider subscribing and becoming part of the Fluxing Well tribe. You will receive fresh ideas every week, plus access to a library of free printable resources, including freebies for bloggers, cooks, gardeners and teachers. Have a safe, auto-damage-free day!