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Traveling hail repair business sets up shop in Killeen – The Killeen Daily Herald

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Partly cloudy. High near 55F. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph..
Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers after midnight. Low 42F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Updated: December 18, 2022 @ 7:12 am
 Hail Yeah! Paintless Dent Repair’s employee, Dustin, uses a tool to smooth out dents in the truck’s hood caused by hail.
 Hail Yeah! Paintless Dent Repair’s location in the lot of 3310 S Fort Hood St. on Tuesday morning.

 Hail Yeah! Paintless Dent Repair’s employee, Dustin, uses a tool to smooth out dents in the truck’s hood caused by hail.
 Hail Yeah! Paintless Dent Repair’s location in the lot of 3310 S Fort Hood St. on Tuesday morning.
Vehicle damage repairs continue to be at a record high following major hail storms in October and November, according to a local body shop owner.
Due to the recent weather conditions in Killeen, hail damage repair vendors can be found at many local gas stations and intersections. Hail Yeah! Paintless Dent Repair at 3310 S Fort Hood St. explains the process to get a repair with their company.
The number of people filing claims for dents caused by hail has attracted the traveling services of Hail Yeah Paintless Dent Repair, currently operating at 3310 S. Fort Hood Street.
“With hailstorms, we don’t set up permanently; we come in to assist with the excess of claims,” said Dustin Ilmberger, who has owned and operated the business for 10 years. “We go all over the U.S. We were previously up in Spokane, Washington, for a storm that hit up there. Prior to that we were in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We just go wherever we are needed most.”
Tracking weather apps across the country, coupled with tracking the number of insurance claims filed, helps Ilmberger determine where to take his business.
After the hail storms in the fall, Imberger said more than 10,000 people filed insurance claims for hail damage to their vehicles.
Although they were not the first company to open business in the area in response to the storms, since setting up shop in Killeen on November 15, Ilmberger said he has remained busy.
Ilmberger said 95 percent of the damage they repair is covered through insurance.
“Hail falls under the ‘act of God’ category, so comprehensive car insurance usually covers hail damage,” Ilmberger said.
With minor dents, paintless repair can manipulate the metal back into place without the need of filler, sanding, and a new paint job, according to Matt Leitholt, marketing manager for Hail Yeah Paintless Dent Repair.
“We can help retain the vehicle’s value by avoiding the need for new parts or paint jobs — everything can stay original, Leitholt said. “We also pay insurance deductibles for our customers so there are no out of pocket expenses, which is not industry standard. We really try to help people.”
Leitholt said although the company travels nationally, they also offer nationwide coverage.
“If there is a problem with the repaired area, we refer customers to a local body shop, and we cover those repairs,” Leitholt said.
But if the paint has already been chipped and damaged, it may not be possible to lift the dent, he said. In those cases, customers are referred to local body shops for a more extensive repair.
Gary Santos has owned and operated America Dent Repair at 1705 Florence Road for the past three months but has been in the business in Texas for almost seven years. While he hasn’t noticed a surge in business, he said he does have consistent clientele coming in for repairs.
“It is important to get it done quickly,” Santos said. “I can fix their car in two to three days — no more than 10 days.”
Santos also said many insurance companies will cover a rental car during the time repairs are being done, which can be especially helpful as the holiday season approaches.
Most of the cars he has repaired have been covered by insurance, he said.
“The insurance sent me a check,” Santos said. “All the cost, they pay me in check.”
But not all insurance covers hail damage, according to Robert Mitchell, owner of Dent King Mobile Auto Body at 4102 Old Florence Road.
“It’s about 50/50,” Mitchell said. “A lot of people are going through insurance; a lot are paying out of pocket — and some can’t afford it. It’s a bad situation for some people.”
Mitchell has operated his business in Killeen for about 15 years, and after the storm he said his auto body shop has been swamped with repairs.
“We’re actually overbooked,” Mitchell said. “We have had hail storms before, but not like this. This one was pretty bad.”
Many cars Mitchell has repaired have dents in about 80 percent of the car.
“A lot of people have newer vehicles, and they want their vehicles done,” Mitchell said.
In order to prevent damage in the future, the best thing car owners can do is ensure their car is under a carport or garage if hail is predicted.
Ilmberger said he expects business to slow down heading into Christmas, but with the number of damaged vehicles in the area, he predicts he will stay local through the month of January.
For those considering whether to address minor hail damage from the fall, Ilmberger suggests making it a priority to avoid compounded damage after a future storm.
“Texas gets hail a lot,” Ilmberger stated. “You could get hit again, and the damage after you get hit a second time — it would be too extensive for what we do. You may have to replace panels and go to a body shop. It would be more expensive and take more time.”

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