Hail: dings could bring big bills, and waits, to repair - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hail: dings could bring big bills, and waits, to repair

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Friday night was all about Mike Petty's sheer fear of what the winds would bring to his family in Ooltewah.

"We didn't even get a chance to put the cars in the garage," he says. "Things just let loose, and we ran into he house."

"Last thing we thought about was material possessions."

But the light of Saturday would reveal the hail dings that his vehicles, and those of Dr. Molly Leonard received, are big deals.

"The diagnosis is a list of superficial injuries, to the side of the car and the mirror here, Dr. Leonard says.

"Four cars damaged, and a boat and a home," Petty says.

"It's a repair we're gonna have to do," Dr. Leonard concedes.

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When they called, their body shop, Advanced Collision already had two vehicles in the bay.

"We started taking calls Saturday morning," owner Curt Swearingin says.

"I believe it's gonna be light compared to last year. Last year the first day we had forty cars show up."

Marshal Mize Ford tops that.

"We have received 43 assignments this morning, from different insurance companies," collision center manager Rick DeYoung says.

So many, that the dealership is freeing up office space for insurance adjustors. And, as with Advanced Collision, farming out the work to pre-screened private contractors, working out of their body shops.

"A couple of these jobs we're gonna have to have replacement body panels put on," DeYoung says.

The work redefines 'labor intensive.'

"There's probably somewhere from 20 to 50 dings up there," Swearingin says, pointing to the roof of a 2007 Honda Fit.

The car has more than 120,000 miles on its odometer. The National Automobile Dealers' Association 'blue book' puts its resale value at about $7400. The repair bill: about $5500.

"Most insurers won't total it out until the bill tops 75 percent of a car's retail or resale value," Swearingin explains.

He and DeYoung advise double-checking your deductibles; hail damage comes under 'Comprehensive' coverage. They also suggest photographing the damage yourself, so that you maintain your own record, in case of a dispute with your adjustor.

Addison Webb III is trying to decide whether to eat the costs to repair his 2008 Ford Ranger.

Paint for that hood was $300 the last time I checked, so hopefully, less than $1000 total," he says.

Marshal Mize Ford's repair estimate: $1200.

"I'll probably pay for it myself," he says. "They'd just raise my premiums if I turned it in."

Besides, the damage is far worse for his employer, Southern Champion Tray, where he's a printer technician.


"We were all in our little tornado shelter when it hit," he says. "Some of that hail came through one of the roofs."

"I took out a flashlight, looked things over and it didn't look too bad. Next morning, oh man, it's scary."

Petty has faith in his policy.

"In the past, they (my insurer) have taken care of us," he says.

Dr. Leonard's Toyota Sienna van is a family ride; not a vehicle for hauling pets to her veterinary clinic.

"I'll make do, if I have to do without for a few days," she says.

"I look at the house, and the damage to the siding. But the house is still there. We're still here."

"We're very happy with that. It could have been a lot worse"

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