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Hail Damage Repair Tips for Your RV, Travel Trailer, or Fifth Wheel Camper

Did you know that the central and south regions of Alberta have earned the name "Hailstorm Alley" because of their high frequency of hailstorms? Or, that the city of Calgary is known as the "hailstorm capital of Canada?"

In 2014 alone, Hailstorm Alley experienced $450 million worth of damage from severe hailstorms. And Canada isn't alone when it comes to hail damage.

The US has its own "Hail Alley" located at the juncture of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. That said, the biggest hailstone ever recorded fell on June 23, 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota.

It had a circumference of 18.62 inches, a diameter of eight inches, and weighed more than one pound!

Hopefully, you'll never come face-to-face with such a hailstone. But even much smaller ones prove damaging. Read on to learn more about what hailstorms can do, hail damage repair, and what it costs.

What Hailstorm Damage Looks Like

On the surface, hail damage to cars can look similar to that of RVs, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. From broken glass to dents, the worst storms can even result in a golf ball-like appearance.

But that's where the similarities stop. While most vehicles can be fixed through a process known as paintless dent repair (PDR), that's not the case when it some to RVs and trailers. Hail dent removal works differently for them.

Why? Because RVs and trailers are made of fiberglass and wood sheathing. Some have an aluminum skin. As a result, fixing hail damage proves more costly and time-consuming.

What's more, hailstones can also do damage to:

  • Vents
  • Roof-top air conditioners
  • Rubber-coated wood roofs
  • Skylights
  • Solar panels
  • And more

While some repairs, such as replacing vents, may not necessitate an insurance claim, others can prove far more costly. What's more, even basic vent replacement gets complicated due to the fans and electrical systems that are involved.

You also have to get sealing a new vent right, or you risk future water damage. It's best to let experts handle these repairs. That way, you can also ensure no leaking or future problems for your RV or trailer.

Telltale Signs You Need to Repair Your RV or Trailer

Some owners hesitate to get repairs, particularly if they think the damage is only minor or cosmetic. But this can be a terrible mistake that will result in even more damage.

Telltale signs that your RV or trailer needs repair work include:

  • Damage to AC units and vent lids
  • Small spots or bubbles in the rubber membrane
  • Mild to significant spider cracks or bruising to the gel coat

If you hesitate when it comes to repairing damaged AC units or vent lids, this could lead to the introduction of moisture into your RV or trailer. The result? More expensive repairs in the long run.

As for small bubbles or spots in the rubber membrane? This indicates that the membrane is no longer glued to the underlayment in spots. Again, this leaves your RV or trailer vulnerable to even more significant damage.

The fiberglass in the RV's construction can also sustain spider web cracks or bruises, which let moisture penetrate your recreational vehicle. Once you've got water under the surface, this can lead to sagging roofs and delamination.

Don't Hesitate When It Comes to Repairs

While you may assume that cracks or bruising are cosmetic issues, think again. The only way to arrest the damage is by placing your RV or trailer in an enclosed garage away from moisture. In other words, it's more or less unusable.

Unless you're okay with packing your RV or trailer in the garage indefinitely to ensure no further damage occurs, time is of the essence when it comes to repairs.

Besides risking more costly issues, ignoring hailstorm damage comes with other perils.

For one, if you sustain more damage in future hailstorms, your insurance company may refuse to cover repairs. They can deny your claim based on prior damage.

How to Repair Hail Damage and What It Costs

How much does it cost to repair hail damage to an RV or trailer? That depends on the type of RV or trailer and the amount of damage. But here are some guidelines that can help you estimate costs.

Expect to pay anywhere between $9.50 and $13.50 per square foot to replace sheet metal on an RV or trailer. These estimates include labor.

But here's the caveat. There are no deductions or subtractions for any openings measuring less than 40 square feet. So, don't assume you can subtract windows or doors.

Additional costs include those for replacement parts such as tail lights, awnings, and AC covers. And RV roof repairs? They often run about $300.00 per linear foot.

When it comes to travel trailers and fifth wheels, they require full removal of siding for repairs and replacement. This also means taking off everything attached to the exterior.

This includes all of the entry drops, windows, pass-through doors, furnaces, awning, water heaters, and lights. As you can imagine, this will up your labor costs.

Because hail damaged vehicles come with such a high salvage value, expect your insurance adjuster to consider the salvage value before making a determination about your RV hail damage.

Hail Damage Repair and Your RV or Trailer

What's the takeaway when it comes to hail damage repair and your RV or trailer? Although repairs can prove costly and your insurance may act hesitant to accept a claim, you need to move quickly.

Don't assume that hail damage is little more than a cosmetic issue. And stay away from DIY fixes that fail to address the root problem.

Fixing hail damage will help you avoid bigger issues down the road. Particularly if moisture has been introduced into your RV or trailer via spider web cracks or bruising of the outer coat.

Not sure how much your hail damage repairs will cost? Or, perhaps you need an estimate to submit to your insurance company? We're here to help.

Contact us today to discuss your RV or trailer's hailstorm damage and receive an estimate for repairs.