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What to do if hail damages your property

How you respond right after a storm can help get any damages repaired a lot faster.

SAN ANTONIO — Two years ago, a hail storm devastated homes and cars across the area, causing an estimated $1.56 billion in damages.

So, what should you do if hail damages your property?

Claims adjusters from USAA said that how you respond right after a storm can help in getting those damages repaired a lot faster.

First, make temporary repairs if needed for safety, like boarding up windows, but don’t make any permanent fixes until a claims adjuster assesses the damages.

And be sure to document everything. Take photographs of damages and debris, and save all of your receipts if you have to relocate or move property.

And finally, when it is time for repairs, find a licensed and qualified contractor.

The estimated cost of damages in vehicles alone was over $500 million in April 2016, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

“The entire city suffered what was then the largest hailstorm ever recorded in the San Antonio market,” said Rueben Ramirez, General Manager of Gabe’s Collision Center in San Antonio.

Ramirez said after the last massive hail storm in April 2016, they repaired over 200 cars.

“It is an extensive process. You have to be patient,” said Ramirez.

Gabe’s Collision Center works with Texas Star Dent Company to repair damages to vehicles.

“Normally, if the hail is like one inch or bigger, that’s when you’re going to see damage,” said Mike Stewart with Texas Star Dent Company.

Stewart repairs most hail damage with a process called “paintless dent repair.”

“We just redo what the hail did,” said Alex Hargrave with Texas Star Dent Company.

Stewart said it’s a detailed process that may take two technicians a full day to repair a car with $4,000 in damages.

And although there are many tips online on how to prevent from being a victim of vehicle hail damage, Steward and Ramirez both agree, that the only way to keep your car from harm’s way is by finding a place to get your car under cover.

“Hail is coming out of the sky at 200 miles per hour, so that’s striking the car hard. So, I don’t know how many blankets you’ll need to insulate the metal,” said Stewart.

“Mother Nature is going to win. She’s going to win that battle all day long,” said Ramirez.

For more information on finding a reputable contractor, USAA said to contact your local Better Business Bureau, insurance agency, or local municipality.

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