Hailstorm of Business – for Car Repairs

Many Boston-area drivers who lived through Tuesday afternoon's freakish pelting hailstorm described golf-ball-sized hunks of ice hitting their roofs like bullets.

If you go by repair shops like Vitaly Fedosik’s World Auto Body in Brookline, you can see – a number of those vehicle owners were scarcely exaggerating.

Wednesday afternoon, Fedosik showed us a Toyota Prius that will need to have $2,400 worth of work done to repair dents from hailstones all over the roof, the tailgate, and the hood, and a Rav 4 that had similar body damage as well as a cracked windshield.

The body damage is work you blow off at your peril – and at risk of your car’s resale or trade-in value.

"The clear coat can crack, which is the top coat, and it can crack and cause it to rust," Fedosik said. "We have at least 40 people coming in with this week and next week with hail damage."

The extent of the damage around Boston has attracted interest from national hail-damage-repair specialty companies, like Hi-Tech Paintless Dent Removal of Des Plaines, Illinois. They have specially trained technicians who use long, specialized bars to basically reach inside car bodies and repair dents from the inside out. They can get dents repaired faster, and less expensively, than conventional body-shop technicians.

Hi-Tech PDR vice president Paul Tsupin jumped on a plane late Tuesday as soon as he heard reports about the violent hail storm and was quickly beginning to line up work as body shop owners look to farm out what threaten to be weeks-long backlogs of hailstone repair.

It's extremely unusual for him to come to this part of the country. Usually, the places that see hailstorms bad enough to damage cars in big volumes are in "Tornado Alley: Oklahoma City, Texas, St. Louis. New England, very rarely."

Early reports from insurers like Liberty Mutual and GEICO, Tsupin said, indicate Tuesday's storm left a lot of work.

"I think there's going to be thousands of cars here from what I've seen so far" that need hail repairs, Tsupin. "The extent of the damage is pretty widespread."

With videographer Daniel J. Ferrigan

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