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Hail storms causing auto shops to be swamped through summer

Springfield (MO) KYTV logo Springfield (MO) KYTV 5/13/2020 Leah Hill
a close up of a car © Provided by Springfield (MO) KYTV

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Baseball may be America’s past time, but when you get baseball-sized hail falling from the sky, it is an expensive repair for car owners and keeps auto body shops busy for months.

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This year, repair shops are seeing more and more cars coming in with damage. It is something they have not experienced in years.

“Definitely the most hail I have seen here, and I’ve been here almost 12 years,” Mike Stafford, a body shop manager for Thompson Cadillac, said.

He has seen damage on car hoods, doors, and roofs.

Last week hail up to baseball size was reported in Taney County when storms went through Kimberling City, Branson, and Hollositer. Here in Springfield, storms on the morning of May 4 dropped upwards of golf ball-sized hail. Thousands saw damages to their cars and homes.

Aaron Bruton, the vice president of operations for Hammers Autoworks said his staff has been kept busy coordinating with insurance companies on claims.

They are accessing dozens of cars a week, and are booked through the end of the month with repairs.

“We have guys coming in early and staying late,” Bruton said.

The repairs are coming at a hefty price.

“Our average has probably been around fifty-five hundred to six thousand dollars. It puts a lot of pressure on the shops,” Stafford said.

Some cars have even been deemed totaled because of severe hail damage.

While these repairs are mostly covered by insurance, it still puts their customers without a car while the repairs are being made. With the threat for hail again Thursday night, they are hoping they do not get a repeat of last week.

Stafford and Bruton both recommend getting your car in the shop as quickly as possible. Bruton said insurance companies will not cover the cost of hail if you have not taken it in for an assessment, and have not scheduled a repair.

While the shops are swamped, they are grateful for the business, but as asking for patience as they tackle the repairs. They warn it may take a little while longer to get your car back in shining condition.

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