How to Estimate Auto Hail Damage With a PDR Matrix

PDR matrix

Knowing how to properly write an auto damage hail estimate is important. Many independent adjusters and auto damage appraisers don’t understand the concept of PDR matrices for insurance estimatics, and end up guessing at how to do it, without using a PDR Matrix at all.

Some auto body shops estimate the hail damage just by the size of the dents: $40 for small dents; $50 for medium-sized dents; $80 for the larger ones.

The way we properly write an auto hail estimate is by using a PDR Price Matrix and I’m going to walk you through exactly what that is and how to do use it in this article.

Auto damage appraisers that are deployed to catastrophic hail storms can earn great money, if you want to learn more about the pay of a catastrophic adjuster you can read our article on the topic. If you want to learn more about how to get catastrophic work I suggest my article on how to become a successful catastrophic adjuster.

 Estimating Hail Damage with a PDR Matrix in 3 Steps

A PDR matrix is a chart used to determine the cost needed to pay a PDR technician for the hail damage on a panel. Most PDR matrices are agreed upon by insurance companies as the standard by which the price is determined. Using a PDR matrix is as easy as 1,2,3.

  1. You must first determine what panel you are assessing the damage on. Find the panel in the left column of the chart.
  2. Next, determine how many dents you found on that panel of the vehicle.
  3. Lastly, decide what size the dents are. There are 4 sizes to choose from. dime, nickel, quarter, and half dollar.

IA Path PDR Matrix

Hail by its very nature is random and the sizes of dents can vary across the panel. It’s up to you as the adjuster to make a decision of what size the majority of the dents are.

If there is 16 dents total, 5 being quarters, 5 being dime, and 6 being nickel, the panel then has 16 nickel size dents.

Once you know the average size of the dent you can then determine the dollar amount. Using the PDR/Hail pricing Matrix you can determine the price associated with that panel, with that dent count, and that dent size. See the image below to see a PDR/Hail pricing matrix.

Paintless Dent Repair Markup

When writing for PDR there are a few markups you need to consider. Markups are additional costs associated with the repair due to the level of difficulty involved.

Aluminum/High Strength Steel (HSS) -If a panel is an aluminum or high strength steel you will add a 25% markup to the sublet repair price you determined using the PDR/Hail Matrix. To do this math quickly with a calculator, input the sublet repair price and multiply it by 1.25 to get the total price, including the markup.


$100 x 1.25 = $125 with markup.

There are three other main markups.

Double Metal/Glue Pull – First, there is a 25% markup for double metal. The main panel this is used on is for the roof rails of the vehicle. Every roof rail has double metal and the PDR technician cannot access the back side of the panel. (1.25 X the Matrix Sublet Price)

Extended/Tall Roof – Lastly, there is a 25% markup for SUV, van, and extended cab truck roofs. If a truck has 4 full doors, then it gets a 25% markup. (1.25 X the Matrix Sublet Price)

Oversized Dent – Any dent that is larger than a half dollar is considered an oversize dent. Add $40 per oversize dent (check your guidelines) on the panels sublet repair price. This is added after any markup and is usually put into your estimating system as a separate line item. ($40 per oversized dent)

If you are interested in becoming a catastrophic insurance adjuster or need help finding out how to get work, I recommend my free video series IA Crash Course.

It walks you through all the steps to getting started, how the industry works, and strategies for getting work.

Your Guide,
Chris Stanley

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