SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The severe weather that rolled through the ArkLaTex last Friday caused hail damage to an estimated 100,000 vehicles in the Shreveport area alone.
Fast Fix Dent Repair owner Rick Gallagher recalled a conversation he had that night. "And I told my wife, I said, 'they're fixing to have some major, major hail damage in Shreveport."
Gallagher told us he's so busy helping car owners, body shops and car dealerships that he rented out the old Landers Dodge building along the auto mall on Bert Kouns Industrial Loop in south Shreveport, since that dealership had moved to Bossier City.
Gallagher said he expects to be making repairs on these hail-damaged vehicles for the next two years. He is not alone in this massive effort.
After the storm Gallagher immediately called The Dent Guys, which sends out a team of several dozen repair technicians to team up with Gallagher for the next several months.
The Dent Guys National Director Mark Branstrom said they already have 17 technicians hard at work at the Shreveport repair station making the first hail damage repairs.
They expect to have a total of 50 technicians soon on the job, helping car owners like Jenny Flournoy.
She explained why the damage is just a short term problem. "It's stuff. If it was a child in the car that was hurt that'd be a different story."
The cost of repairs can vary widely, depending on the extent of the hail damage, where it is on the vehicle and what kind of vehicle it is. Car insurance typically covers hail damage if it is comprehensive coverage.
Gallagher and Branstrom explained that filing an insurance claim starts with one question — What is your deductible? Then compare that price to the estimated cost of repairs before making a final decision.
They added that a vehicle usually has 13 panels. And if the damage reaches a certain point it's better to buy a new panel. If the overall cost of hail damage repairs exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the vehicle, insurance companies often total out the car.
"We do see it quite often," said Branstrom. Gallagher added, "We're seeing some of that here." And Branstrom concluded, "Because the damage is so severe here and such widespread and so many dents that it can happen."
Fellow car owner Kim Hunter came by to check on having the hail damage to her vehicle replaced. "My husband saw it, I did not. And he said, 'you're gonna have to take that in.' And I was like, 'okay.'"