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Friday, 08 June 2018 18:58

Hail Storm in Columbia County, NY, Has Owners Paying the Cost

Written by Daniel Zuckerman, Columbia-Greene Media/HudsonValley360
City Body Shop’s technician Bobby Hill in the process of repairing cars that were damaged during the May 15 hail storm. City Body Shop’s technician Bobby Hill in the process of repairing cars that were damaged during the May 15 hail storm. Jada Kitson/Columbia-Greene Media


Hundreds of Columbia County, NY, residents were without power after severe storms pummeled the region, bringing damaging winds and tennis-ball-sized hail.

The hail, which measured greater than an inch in some areas during the May 15 storm, damaged several residents’ vehicles and their homes.

Workers at City Body Shop on Route 23B in Hudson, NY, were busy repairing 15 vehicles with dents from the May 15 hailstorm, and technician Erik Fogg was on hand to help.

Fogg, a California resident, is a storm chaser who follows weather events across the country. He helped the Hudson auto body shop five years ago when another bad hail storm hit the region, he said.

“Anything bigger than golf ball-sized will cause damage to the cars and it’ll put dents anywhere from quarter-size to dollar-size,” Fogg said. “A lot of the time, customers don’t know what to do once they get hail.”

Hail damage is covered under automobile insurance’s comprehensive policy. Filing a claim to repair it will not cause rates to go up, Fogg said. Vehicle damage from storms is considered an act of God, or an interruption caused by a natural force.

“Flood damage, tree damage and hail damage---it’s all an act of God,” he said. “No one meant for it to happen.”

One car needed $4,500 worth of repairs from the storm, Fogg said, and the car owner was initially advised to get a new car rather than have it repaired.

Ghent-based roofing contractor Seal-Rite Roofing LLC helped repair an Elizaville home damaged by the hail because of its dome-shaped skylight, owner Bill Wasinski Jr. said May 22. The home also suffered minor siding damage.

“There was a dome skylight, and [the hail] went right through it,” Wasinski said.

Wasinski recalled a hail storm that swept through Greenport and Kinderhook many years ago, resulting in the company repairing several damaged homes, he said. Homeowners should call a professional to inspect any damage and follow through an insurance company.

“From my experience, they’re pretty reasonable when it comes to hail,” Wasinski said of home insurers.

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