LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Windshields were shattered, cars were dented and leaves littered the ground in Louisville Tuesday morning after a powerful hailstorm rolled through town.
The hail ranged from golf ball sized to baseball sized in some areas, pounding neighborhoods.
“We were not expecting the size (of hail) and we looked at it and it seemed to come down faster then was sort of possible,” said Waleed Abdalati, who lives in Louisville.
Abdalati was at dinner with his family when the hailstorm started and he said it sounded like popcorn being microwaved as the hail hit the metal roof of the restaurant.
“Windshields of cars in the parking lot just started kind of popping or just breaking,” he said.
That’s when Abdalati’s neighbor called him and told him the rear windshield on his Prius shattered.
In total, all three of his family’s cars sustained damage. He couldn’t park any of them inside his garage because the door is broken and he scheduled a repairman to come fix it Tuesday.
“But at this point, it’s sort of late, a lot of the damage already been done. But, it’s weather, it happens,” Abdalati said.
He spent 45 minutes on the phone waiting to speak with his insurance company about the damage and most of Tuesday morning cleaning up the shattered glass.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Agency says it will take around a week to determine how bad the storm was and how much damage it caused. The agency's executive director, Carol Walker, said the storm was widespread and that some insurance companies could end up setting up temporary locations to process all of the claims.
Walker said it is important for people to contact their insurance companies right away to report the damage, to make temporary repairs so things don’t get worse and then to save your receipts.
James Bartlemay was also at dinner when the hail started and his car also received serious damage.
“There’s damage on the roof, the hood, both sides and then obviously the glass. It’s going to run into the thousands of dollars,” Bartlemay said.
He says just about every car in the parking lot at the restaurant sustained some sort of damage.
Bartlemay watched as the hail pelted his car and set off its alarm, knowing there was nothing he could do.
“The problem is that you never know if you’re going to be safer staying where you’re at or if you’re going to be safer trying to move the vehicle,” Bartlemay said. “So we just stayed where we were and waited it out.”
Meanwhile Tuesday morning, insurance adjusters and roof repair companies were already out surveying the damage and offering free inspections.
“If your car is damaged, it’s more than likely your property is damaged. It’s always a bummer when those things do get damaged but they’re handled in a very similar way,” said Dane Wobbema, an insurance specialist with Caliber Restoration out of Lakewood.
His team was going door-to-door early Tuesday talking to people about the hail damage.
“Insurance covers all of the work that we do so the most important thing to do is to get an inspection to make sure the damage that was incurred was more than your deductible,” he said.
Even in a bad hailstorm however, homeowners might not be able to see the damage from the ground. He says it’s important to get your roof fixed sooner rather than later so the problems don’t become more prevalent.
“If you choose not to do anything you’re probably going to end up with leaks down the road and that can lead to interior damage and water in the walls and mold and who knows what else. It can get very expensive and fall into the line of something insurance may not cover because you waited for so long,” he said.
However, Wobbema warned homeowners to look out for possible scammers, particularly after a bad storm.
“You just want to make sure you get a good roofing company that’s licensed and insured, check their papers, check everything, checked the BBB, check Google and check all the Facebook reviews and everything like that make sure you’re going with a good, solid company,” Wobbema said.
Numerous rental cars were also damaged at hotels around the Louisville area. Walker says in that instance, it’s best to contact your own insurance company first to find out what it covers and then the rental car company to talk about your options. Drivers with optional comprehensive coverage will be covered for hail damage and that might apply to your rental car as well.
She says this is a good reminder for people who are renting a car to consider loss of use coverage in case their rental car becomes undriveable.
Another round of storms is expected to hit Colorado Tuesday afternoon.