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Impact of recent hail storm won’t hit your premiums, Cooperators

By: Christina Waldner

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 10:43 am

Repair shops are seeing a number of broken windows from the hail storm that hit Airdrie and surrounding area, July 17.
Repair shops are seeing a number of broken windows from the hail storm that hit Airdrie and surrounding area, July 17.
Christina Waldner/Rocky View Publishing

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Until it happens to their vehicle, many people are not aware of how a claim for hail damage will affect their insurance rates, according to Mike Acheson, owner of Rocky View Insurance Services and an exclusive agent for the Cooperators in Airdrie.

“Hail insurance claims don’t have near the affect on your rates or premiums for auto insurance as your driving record, for example, or your convictions. It’s classified as a not-at-fault claim,” he explained.

A major hail storm pummeled the City of Airdrie and surrounding areas on July 17, producing golf-ball-sized hail.

Observers reported tennis-ball-sized hail in the CrossIron Mills mall area in Balzac.

Aubrey Collingwood is one Airdrie resident who has damage to her vehicle, but she’s taking it in stride.

“There’s just a whole bunch of dents on the roof and my hood – huge ones. I haven’t even looked at them. My husband told me about them. I don’t really worry about them,” she said.

“My mother-in-law was driving down the highway and saw cars with their windows being blown out, though.”

Acheson said he’d received 100 claims for damage to vehicles by 1 p.m. on July 21. The damage ranged from a few dents to the vehicle’s body work to broken windshields and more extensive denting.

The cost of the repairs depends on a number of things, including the severity of the damage, where the damage is located on the vehicle, and the type of vehicle.

“Probably the major weighting you see on rates being charged is based on the experience and record of the driver and the type of vehicle it is,” said Acheson. “There’s nothing in your driving history that would make a hail claim less or more important.”

This doesn’t mean your rates won’t go up at all after a claim for hail damage, said Acheson, but it will be less significant than for an at-fault claim.

“Any claim an insurance company pays is going to have an impact on the premiums that are paid. Your premiums are set by the claims incurred for the vehicle, for that type of driver in that area. (Any increases) would have to be applied to a rate group. I doubt very much any one individual policy would see an increase where another didn’t.”

However, Acheson said there is an exception: if you live in an area where hail or similar natural events happen all the time, drivers might see an increase in the coverage for those types of losses.

Despite there being significant hail storms in Airdrie over the last 10 years, Acheson said he hasn’t seen this happen here.

Hail damage is included under the category called comprehensive coverage; defined as a loss that’s not a collision or an upset. Vandalism and theft are also included in comprehensive coverage.

Damage to vehicle glass caused by hail is covered even if the driver has opted out of glass coverage for damage caused by an impact by a rock or other object.

“It will be covered under your comprehensive coverage,” said Acheson.

Hail damage is repaired in a number of ways, although Acheson said 90 per cent of the time body repair work can be done without having to replace an entire panel on the vehicle.

Jerrod Dubeau, president of PDR Solutions, said his company uses a process that is faster as well as environmentally friendly because it doesn’t require the use of a lot of body filler and subsequent repainting of the vehicle.

“We use a system of custom-made pry bars in different sizes and we basically massage the dents out from underneath the panel,” he explained.

“By doing that, we can get it to a level that’s a better quality than painting. Once you start re-painting it’s really hard to match colour schemes.”

PDR Solutions has a shop in Red Deer and is about to open a second in Airdrie in partnership with Davis Chevrolet.

There is a limit to what Dubeau and his technicians can do, however.

“The things we’re going to be looking at are the severity of the dents. It’s going to be the size of dents and the volume. The stuff that hit Balzac, that was really bad, and I’m not sure how much of that is going to be able to be PDR’d,”

Dubeau said he has up to 30 technicians across Canada he can call on to help with the repair work necessary after a big storm. He anticipates needing to bring seven to 10 to Airdrie to deal with the aftermath of this latest hail storm.

“I suspect (we’ll be busy from this storm) for the next year. We’re not sure of the extent of the damage at this point. Over the weekend when people are out washing their cars and socializing, that’s when we’ll really see an influx in claims next week.”

For more information, contact PDR Solutions at 403-483-2223.


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