Repair shops in Oklahoma are still trying to catch up with the colossal amount of work left for them after the May 16 hail storms left thousands of cars in the area damaged, according to reports made by The Oklahoman. Now, almost 4 months later most body shops are just getting caught up with the work.
Cars made up about $80 million worth of damage costs for insurers, Southwest Insurance Information Services President Jerry Johns said.
"From an insurance perspective it will go down as one of, if not the most significant weather-related events since 1999," Johns said. "Obviously much of it was roof damage and things like that but vehicle claims were extremely high for those not fortunate enough to shelter their car or truck before it hit."
Some customers waited for weeks and even months to get their hail-damaged cars repaired, most body shops in the area were having people come in and schedule an appointment months in advance.
"We've slowed down quite a bit, to about 1/3 of what we had initially, but there's still a lot of work to be done," said Bob White, Manager for Body Works Inc. in Oklahoma City.
White said the focus after the storm was on cars that weren't drivable because of broken windshields. Now the focus is on less-serious hail damage, such as dented hoods.
"We're still pretty scheduled out until November but we're managing the jobs better than we were. Right after the storm we were scheduled out until December," said White, "We've even been able to call some people in ahead of schedule now that the jobs have tapered a little bit more than in the beginning."
White also mentioned that Body Works has been able to start working back with some of their collision work that had to be put on hold after the spring storm.
Some cars that haven't been repaired might have remained on the road and could potentially pose hazards. It's up to officers to decide whether to cite a driver for a cracked windshield, which is against the law in Oklahoma. Although tickets are most likely to be written when the vehicle damage might impede someone's ability to drive safely.
Johns said people with damage should make their claims as soon as possible. He said insurance adjusters likely will remain in Oklahoma for up to a year after the storm.