Golf-ball size hail leaves many filing insurance claims in Prairieville

Published: Feb. 24, 2014 at 11:28 PM CST
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PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Many in Prairieville are dealing with hail damage after a severe line of storms rolled through the area early Sunday morning.  People in two different neighborhoods, Seven Oaks & Prairie Oaks, woke up to hail around 5:30 a.m.

In some cases, the hail stones were up to two inches in diameter.

"This was the biggest hail stones I've ever seen," said State Farm Insurance Agent Todd Husers.

Husers has been an insurance agent for 14 years in Ascension Parish.  Prior to that, he responded to catastrophes nationwide.

"At my house, it lasted about 13 minutes and it woke up everyone in the family," said Husers.

Like him, many woke up to a loud hammering noise.  It's why the phone rang non-stop Monday for Husers.

"We've had about 70 claims," said Husers.  He said that included house and car damage and believes that number will only grow.

James Kirkland is just one of the dozens who filed a claim Monday.  His house escaped damage, but his luck ran out with a brand new Silverado truck he bought Saturday night. In fact, Kirkland's wife drove it home from the dealership.  Not even nine hours after bringing his new ride home, several small dents were all over the hood and roof of the truck from what Kirkland said were golf ball size hail stones.  On the side of the truck, debris tossed by the wind chipped the brand new paint.  

"It doesn't look like a lot of damage but when it's new, it's a lot of damage," said Husers.  "It's been about two years I've been looking for a new truck, and I buy it and it gets damaged before I've even driven it."

Kirkland's next stop will be a body shop.  It's why Brouillette Auto Shop's owner Greg Brouillette said they were busy Monday.

"We've had several calls and four to five vehicles already stopped by to access the damage from the hail," said Brouillette.

While many will say the hail stones were some of the biggest they've seen in Prairieville, Brouillette said fortunately the damage was limited to light to moderate dents, not busted out windows or major dents.

To avoid hiring a phony contractor, remember these tips:

-don't make hasty repair decisions.  Wait to talk with your agent or insurer about your claim first
-wait to pay after the job is finished and make sure to get a receipt
-do not pay in cash
-do not commit to a contractor who says he is working for an insurance company
-do not sign documents authorizing a contractor to negotiate with the insurer because a policy is a contract between the insurer and home owner
-work with people you know or someone who is recommended
-ask for references
-try to work with a local company rather than someone from out of state
-be wary of repairmen and roofing solicitors who approach you first
-request proof of insurance because professionals carry proper liability and workers comp insurance