Storms Damage Thousands of Vehicles in Missouri and Kansas

March 17, 2006

Baseball-sized hail and debris tossed by high winds damaged thousands of vehicles caught in the storms that swept across Missouri and Kansas earlier this week. To handle the increasing number of claims for broken windshields, dents and other storm-related damage, Progressive deployed more than 70 members of its catastrophe response team to ten drive-in claims centers located across Missouri and eastern Kansas and to its catastrophe response center in Austin, Texas.

Progressive, which insures about one out of every 13 cars in Missouri and one out of every 14 in Kansas, advises customers who suffered storm damage to call 800-PROGRESSIVE (800-776-4737) as soon as possible.

Progressive offers the following six steps drivers should take to restore a storm-damaged vehicle to its pre-accident condition:

1. Call your insurance company immediately to report the damage.

2. Discuss your repair estimate with your insurance company and your local body shop. Dents in sheet metal caused by hail may need to be repaired in a conventional manner. However, trained technicians may recommend paintless dent removal, which involves using specially molded metal tools on the underside of a damaged part that won’t disturb the factory finish.

3. Find a reputable facility. If you choose a repair shop on your own, contact the Better Business Bureau or get referrals from friends. If you take your car to a PDR provider, ask the shop how PDR works and how they access hard to reach places.

4. Schedule Your Repair As Soon As Possible. Due to the volume of damaged vehicles, repair shops will be very busy and repairs may take a little longer.

5. Make sure your vehicle is repaired to your satisfaction. Hail damage is not always easy to see under natural light. Before accepting your vehicle, look at the surface in fluorescent lighting and from several angles so that you can see all the details.

6. Ask if the shop guarantees its work. Ask your insurance company if it guarantees the work of its preferred body shops and get all contract information in writing. If you notice a flaw in your vehicle’s repair, you should be able to have it fixed at no additional charge.

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