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Was your car damaged by hail? Here's what you need to do

Auto repair shops packed after Tuesday's storms left vehicles with damage

MACCLENNY, Fla. – Repair shops in Baker County were packed Wednesday after hail damaged hundreds of cars.

But if your car was among those damaged, you may want to hold off on filing a claim with your insurance company.

Drivers across Baker County clenched as they witnessed rock-hard hail banging down on their cars Tuesday.

Even though the storms moved quickly through the Northeast Florida area, Mother Nature left its mark: dents covering cars from front to back.

"(The cant rail) is normally the hardest part of the car, it doesn't fold in a lot. And you can see the damage here and here," said Kirk Miracle, owner of Miracle Automotive and Truck Service Center in Macclenny. "That's some pretty good-sized hail to do that kind of damage."

Miracle's shop had a lot full of cars during the storm.

"Just about every car on the lot had damage to it," he said.

Gumball- to golf ball-sized hail pelted vehicles in Baker County during Tuesday's storms, even leaving  Baker County Sheriff's Office vehicles with visible dents and damage.

PHOTOS: Quarter- and golf ball-sized hail falls in Baker County

"Large and loud, and it was hard and covered the ground pretty fast," Sheriff's Office Maj. Randy Crews said. "Witnessing it hit the vehicles and how hard they were bouncing off the ground, I had a good idea that we were going to be looking at a lot of vehicle damage."

If your car was damaged by hail, there are some things mechanics advise you to figure out before you rush to the repair shop. 

First, you need to take photos of the damage. Mechanics told News4Jax that dents from hail could cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars to repair, depending on the car.

If you have comprehensive insurance, you're covered. But before you think about filing a claim, get an estimate on repairs. Minor damage isn't worth claiming if repairs cost less than the deductible. 

Since the damages were caused by natural events, it typically won't increase your insurance premium. But you should check with your agent to make sure.