Hailstorm leaves its mark on Cedar Valley cars and homes

2013-05-01T12:00:00Z 2013-05-01T15:50:29Z Hailstorm leaves its mark on Cedar Valley cars and homesBy JIM OFFNER, jim.offner@wcfcourier.com Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Insurance adjusters, homeowners, merchants and car dealers were scrambling to assess the damage after a hailstorm pelted the Cedar Valley Monday.

"We had quite a few claims filed," said Brad McCunniff, a State Farm Insurance agent in Cedar Falls. "It was nonstop calls. I'm sure (State Farm) will be renting a location where people are going to be driving their cars through (for claims adjustors to inspect)."

State Farm is projecting as many as 2,500 claims for hail damage to automobiles totaling around $6.5 million, McCunniff said.

On Monday there were already 650 claims filed for damage to vehicles, McCunniff said. He estimated more than 150 homeowners had filed claims.

"Then, you get 'neighboritis,'" McCunniff said. New claims stream in as people see adjusters inspecting roofs or other potential damage on nearby properties.

"They review everything," McCunniff said of the claims adjusters. "They're trained to look for damage; in some cases, they don't find any damage."

Even if there is no damage, the process can slow pending home sales and cause other secondary problems, McCunniff said.

Ron Coffman, owner of Coffman's Body Shop at 1906 State St. in Cedar Falls, was busy Tuesday.

"It's just beginning," he said. "Some (insurance companies) are sending in a catastrophe team to write estimates and stuff. Some we're writing, but we just began this morning. It's very busy, and it's going to be a while."

Preliminary reports indicated a narrow swath of hail damaged every vehicle on some car lots and left others virtually untouched.

Community Motors, which has two dealerships side by side on University Avenue in Cedar Falls, reported at least some damage on the more than 700 vehicles in its inventory.

Community already was advertising a "hail sale" on its website Tuesday.

"We know we're going to have a hail sale, and people are going to save a lot of money," said Bryan Benson, Community Motors' general manager.

Some --- perhaps most --- hail-damaged vehicles were easily fixable by paintless dent repair, but there was no way to estimate how many would be repaired or how many might be sold "as-is," Benson said.

Witham Auto Center on South Main Street in Cedar Falls also reported some damage to all 160 vehicles it had in stock Tuesday.

"It wasn't huge hail, but it was enough," said Mark Russell, sales manager. "I've seen better, but also a lot worse."

Russell said most damage likely was light enough to get fixed with PDR.

"We'll end up selling some as-is. It depends on the customers," he said. "We'll probably put some signs up for 'hail sale' and see what happens."

The Dan Deery Chrysler and Toyota dealerships on University Avenue in Cedar Falls received minimal damage, said Barney Niner, sales manager.

"I don't think I have anything that requires PDR," he said. "It's not as bad as up the street. Ours is fairly light and can be handled."

Witham's dealership near Crossroads Center in Waterloo escaped unscathed, said Mike Schley, general sales manager.

Rydell Chevrolet, across San Marnan Drive from Crossroads, received a short burst of hail but reported no damage, said Jeff Smock, sales manager.

"We got pea-sized hail for, like, two minutes," he said.

However, he said it likely would take a couple of days before all 500 new and used vehicles in stock are inspected.

Copyright 2015 Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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