Hail damage not as bad as 2011 storm, area roofers, auto shops say

05/30/2014 7:47 PM

05/30/2014 11:20 PM

Auto repair shops and roofers are anticipating more business in the wake of last week’s hail storm.

But it’s not what they saw in 2011 when hail storms caused $45 million in damage in the state, resulting in non-stop work for many.

“In 2011, I saw 400 cars the first day after the storm,” said Brandon Morrow of Dents and Dings on Cherry Road. “This time it was between 50 and 60 cars a day.”

Shane Benfield, owner of Benfield Roofing & Construction said he has had about 20 calls a day so far. In 2011, “it was 200 calls a day,” he said.

Damage totals won’t be known for some time, said Russ Dubinsky of the S.C. Insurance News Service. It takes longer to get hail damage numbers because some people wait longer to report claims, he said.

The National Weather Service said the worst of last week’s storm was in the Rock Hill area. Fort Mill and Indian Land also were hard hit. In some instances, hail the size of golf balls and softballs was reported.

Auto repair shops and roofers agreed while they are busy, the amount of damage isn’t enough to warrant a swarm of “stormchasers,” who come into an area and offer to make repairs.

“The local guys can handle this,” said Wylie Totherow of Totherow’s Roofing & Siding of Fort Mill. “We don’t need outside help.”

Auto repair shop owners say business was up this week with people coming into get estimates. In some cases, there were broken windshields or damaged sunroofs, said Denny Ramkissoon, owner of Precision Dent Repair, a Fort Mill-based mobile operation that offers paintless dent repair.

Mark Meares, owner of Meares Paint & Body Repair of York, estimated that 90 percent of hail damage can be fixed with paintless dent repair.

“Most of the time the dents can be pushed out,” he said. The remaining 10 percent requires using a hammer and dolly, the basic process of most car body repairs, he said. After the dent is hammered out, some filler may be needed and then there is primer and paint.

Dent repair pricing among shops should be consistent, owners said, as they all use the same system. Hail dents are graded according to size – dime, nickel, quarter and half-dollar. The size and number of dents per body panel is put into a computer which gives a cost estimate.

Ramkissoon said the median price for repairs from this storm should be about $3,000. Insurance companies generally pay most of the cost if you have comprehensive insurance.

Dubinsky said a typical windshield replacement can cost between $400 and $500.

Most roofers are waiting on homeowners to get their insurance checks before starting repairs. Many are doing roof inspections – which should be done for free, said Dale Self of Bright-Sun Roofing Specialties of York.

Self also said homeowners should inspect for more that just roof damage. Inspectors should look at gutters, siding and any interior damage. It is better to file just one claim – which means only one deductible – Self said.

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