Jenny Mousel Tufford had just made a huge purchase for herself Tuesday afternoon, buying a 2013 Buick Encore from Deery Brothers in Ames. She drove home to Nevada, where she lives on the south side of town, and parked the vehicle in the driveway. Fifteen minutes later, all “hail” broke loose.
“I had many thoughts going through my head,” as she watched the hail coming down. “I kept saying, ‘Please stop hailing, just please stop’ as I was pacing the floor. It (the hail coming down) lasted for roughly five minutes, but it seemed like it was forever,” she said.
Her 4-year-old granddaughter Kyper finally decided to help. “She kept saying, ‘Grandma, it’s OK. Then she looked up at the ceiling and said, ‘Please stop putting those ice balls on grandma’s new car! And it stopped,” Tufford said.
Dave Swenson, who owns Easy Camping RV along South G Avenue in Nevada, was in the same boat, but with campers instead of cars. In campers alone, he estimates between $45,000 and $75,000 worth of damage, (at least $5,000 on 15 campers, five of them brand new) and that doesn’t include the damage to two of his work trucks, and three customer campers and the hood of a motorhome that were there for service.
“We came in about 6:30, right after the storm,” to look things over, Swenson said. Because the hail was coming straight down, rather than driving sideways when there’s a lot of wind, the damage that occurred was to the plastic crank-up roof vents. “It just beat those up and the water came into the campers,” he said. It also caused damage to the curved sections of the front of each camper on the aluminum skin. “A driving, sideways hail would have hit the walls (of the campers),” he said.
By the look of social media postings Tuesday evening, Tufford and Swenson weren’t alone in suffering hail damage. Many others were sharing similar stories.
Mike Jamison, owner of Nevada Collision Center, said Wednesday morning that he talked to a guy who said he’d been getting calls from Madrid to Nevada, so it seemed like there was a path that cut across that area of damaging hail. Jamison himself lives on the north side of Nevada, and had no damage to his own vehicle. But he’d heard from a number of people Wednesday morning on the south side of town and in the center of town. “Talked to someone that was on Lincolnway and they got hit pretty good, and saw a truck that was parked by the bus barn (on 11th Street) that got hammered,” he said. He’d also had a few calls from people on Shagbark that had significant damage.
Eric Viers, an independent insurance agent representing several insurance companies, had taken eight calls about hail damage to vehicles by noon on Wednesday. That’s not a typical day for him.
“I tell them to go to a professional body shop…because they will see things that I don’t see. They’re the ones qualified to fix it,” Viers said.
Unlike the olden days when there was a mountain of paperwork to fill out when things like this happened, Viers said it’s much easier in today’s “electronic” world. “It’s a much faster process.”
Obviously, people with older vehicles and without comprehensive insurance are going to bite the bullet on this one, as the value of the car makes it not worth the fix. But Viers said people with newer vehicles and comprehensive insurance should have their cars fixed. “People have paid good money and insurance is expensive … and that’s what they’ve paid for is protection for incidents like this. I think they need to be compensated for their loss,” Viers said.
“I insure the owner’s financial position on that vehicle and ideally that owner will be put back in the same financial position as before the loss,” said Viers, who’s been in the insurance business for 33 years.
Vier’s also stated that hail damage is “a non-surchargeable claim,” meaning “those people didn’t do anything wrong,” so it usually doens’t affect their premiums, he said.
Jamison, who’s been at his business for over 30 years, said he’s advising people right now to be patient until the insurance companies get a handle on how bad the storm was and how much damage they’re going to be dealing with.
While it’s been quite awhile since Nevada had this kind of storm, Jamison said, what often occurs in these instances is that insurance companies will send in a catastrophe team and they will have people come to one location and they will look at cars and write estimates. “If they don’t go that route, with a catastrophe team, then I’ll start writing estimates,” Jamison said.
Jamison said he has a guy who does great work with “paintless dent repair,” which is what a lot of the vehicles will need and what most insurance companies want to see happen. Using this technique, he said, they get to the bottom side of a panel and work the dents out from the inside. “It’s either got to crack the paint or be on a body line somewhere for the insurance to cover repainting it,” he said.
Swenson had two workers — Jeff Allen and Donovan Cusey — out taking off the broken roof vents Wednesday. “We will fix all of them and make them weather-tight again,” and then wait for the insurance adjusters to come, he said. He’d also had at least five camper/RV owners come into the business that day looking to replace broken vents or have repairs done.
Tufford was one of the many people who checked with her insurance company first thing Wednesday morning. “They advised me to get an estimate and go from there. My cousin who has been in the auto body business for many years is going to look at it for me and see what he can do.”