It happens every summer in Alberta. Without warning, the western sky has darkened over. The clouds, which roll quickly towards you, are ominous. They can only mean one thing: hail. If you’re like most of us, you won’t have the time or ability to rush your trailer to safety, so instead you just hope the hail won’t hit where you are.
Most of the time, it doesn’t. Maybe this time, however, you’re not so lucky. You watch with dread as the hail storm rolls over your beloved horse trailer, pounding the aluminum roof and sides relentlessly.
Trust us when we say: it’s miserable. Really miserable.
Unfortunately, you can’t stop nature from doing what it will. Fortunately, at Vantage Trailers we have the tools and the technicians to get your trailer looking new again! Before we get to that, here are a couple of things that you should do to make sure the process is as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Inspect your trailer for damage
As soon as it is safe to go outside, have a look at your trailer to see if it did sustain any damage. Don’t just check the sides and the rear but take a look at the roof as well. Pay close attention to your LQ doors as well, which generally a slightly thinner metal than the sides and therefore more susceptible to hail damage.
If there is no visible damage to the sides or roof, go inside the LQ and check to see if any hail came through the shower skylight or any fan covers. If hail did break through any of these areas, it is very important to clean up any water that may have entered the trailer. The holes also need to be sealed up as soon as possible to prevent further water from getting into the trailer.
Step 2: Document the damage
If there is damage to the trailer, note the day it happened and take pictures of the damage. Try to ensure your photos are as clear and detailed as possible, as accurate photos will help your insurance company valuate the damage. Be sure you take photos of both exterior or interior damages.
Step 3: Call your insurance provider
The next thing to do is to call your insurance provider and let them know what has happened so that they can send out an adjuster to start working on a an estimated value of the claim. In some cases, the trailer can be brought to one of Vantage Trailers’ locations and the adjuster can do the evaluation there. In that case, proceed directly to step 4.
Step 4: Get a quote from a certified service shop
Once the adjuster has an approximate value for the repairs, you should bring your trailer into the Vantage Service Shop so that we complete a repair estimate and provide that to the insurance company. It is in your best interest to get Vantage or a comparable service shop to do a quote, even if a cash settlement is going to be the final result. This is because in some cases the insurance company may have underestimated the work it will take to fully repair your trailer. For example, the Vantage Service Shop once had an insurance company provide an initial repair quote of $6000.00. After inspecting the trailer, however, our quote to repair the actual damages was closer to $30,000.00. Once Vantage explained why our estimate was legitimate, the insurance company granted the larger amount.
Step 5: Decide whether to proceed with repairs or cash
Once final amounts have been decided on, you have two options to pick from (assuming the values are not so high that the trailer is a total write-off): 1) have the trailer fully repaired; or 2) take the insurance cash and invest in a new trailer. Generally, we recommend the first, repairing your trailer, rather than the latter. This is because insurance companies offer a cash payout only for a percentage of the final repair amount agreed on. As a result, if you take cash instead of repairing your trailer, you will either have to pay the remainder of repair costs out of pocket or leave your trailer unrepaired, which lowers its resale value considerably. Further, your trailer can no longer be insured for hail damage until all the repairs are made.
Instead, we’d recommend having your trailer repaired so that it is like new again. Not only will the hail damage be repaired, but it can have additional benefits if the trailer had scratches or minor dents in the side panels that will be replaced because of the hail damage. This option retains the value of you trailer and in some cases might even increase the value. Once the trailer is repaired it is fully insurable again.
It is important to work with reputable shops that have experience in aluminum repairs. Aluminum takes specialty tools and skilled technicians to repair. Most service shops do not have these tools or skills because they do not deal with enough aluminum skinned trailers to justify the investment. The Vantage Trailers Service Shop has both the tools and the skilled professionals to get your trailer looking like new again.