Hail Leaves Mark On Waterloo Cars

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

WATERLOO, Iowa - Monday morning's hail didn't break too many windows, but it sure left a mark on cars. Auto repair shops in Waterloo expect they'll be smoothing out dents from the storm for months, a prospect that has them smiling.

Terry Root has got a new Saturn convertible. But, like many drivers, he was hit with hail while cruising to work.

"Pretty large, golf ball sized. Large enough I thought it was going to break the windshield," said Root.

Now, Root's ride is covered in dents.

"Oh, some of them are probably an inch, to an inch and a half," said Root.

Enough dimples to be a golf ball. It had Root ranting.

"Oh, it makes you real mad. But what can you do? It's weather," he said.

While Root hates dealing with hail. Dent repairman Ron Olsen said...

"Hail yes! That explains it all," said Olsen, who operates Mid-Iowa Paintless Dent Removal

Olsen expects this latest round of weather will give him about four to five thousand cars to smooth. Why? Olsen said hail was the perfect size. Big enough to dent cars, but not chip paint.

"A good majority we'll be able to fix. Save the factory finish," said Olsen.

Work won't be easy, though. Crews spot the dents at the right angle, using a special light. Then, they massage each out, one at a time, from underneath.

"By getting into the pocket of the ding, you might say, and just start moving it and reshaping it, you can bring it right back up to flush," said Olsen.

Olsen estimated he'll be busy on this round of cars until next summer. That's just about the time Terry Root will start worrying about hail hitting his car again. But he said he's ready if it does.

"I'll turn it in to insurance," said Root.

Insurance companies in Waterloo said hail is an agent's least favorite four letter word.

People at the Sinnott Agency said they received hail related claims numbering in the low hundreds. People are reporting damage to cars, roofs and siding.

The agency said it'll be paying out quite a bit for repairs.

"Ours will be, I'm sure, in the hundreds of thousands. If not a million," said Steve Sinnott.

After hail storms there's typically a flood of contractors ready to make home repairs. Insurance agents said some aren't reputable. They recommend doing research before you pick one.
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