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Old 07-27-2004, 07:55 PM   #1
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Hail damage

Greetings:

On July 9th, my 1969 Airstream, 25' Land Yacht" received numerous, small dents from a hail storm that hit Woodland Park, Colorado. I reported the accident to my insurance company and their appraisor stated that the repairs would cost over $6,500 and, therefore, the RV was a total loss. Then, based on an estimate of the RV's value prior to the accident of $3,500 furnished by Windish RV of Denver, CO, State Farm offered me a "take it or leave it" settlement of $1,882.00...and I could keep the Airstream.

Aside from replacing the skin, does anyone know if there is anyway the hail dents can be removed. I've read that WalMart has an inexpensive dent puller; might that work or are there other ways to fix the problem short of replacing the skin?

Also, I purchased the Airstream for $7,000 about 5 years ago and it is otherwise in great condition, so I thought it was worth a minimum of $6,000.
Does anyone know how I can obtain a creditable estimate of what the RV was worth prior to the hail damage. The State Farm representative said they would consider raising the settlement if I could furnish a professional appraisal or obtain a higher estimated value from a creditable source.

Any advice or assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Richard Compton

(e-mail: digitalphotos@msn.com)
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Old 07-27-2004, 10:40 PM   #2
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richard, we experienced the very same problem with the very same insurance co. our solution came when we surfed the net and came up with comprable airstreams for sale at fair market value. we printed about six advertisments and submitted them to our adjuster, they were very fair in there settlement once presented with the information. look to ebay and the airstream sites that have classifieds for appropriate year and model.
roger n cindy
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Old 08-03-2004, 04:45 PM   #3
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Richard,

I live in Colorado Springs and also had damage in July to my 2000 Airstream. The insurance company has settled with me, but for the most part the damage, while visable, is ever so slight. I would be interested if you come up with a way to repair it without having to replace the panels.

Sid Scott
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Old 08-03-2004, 08:17 PM   #4
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repair hail damage?

Richard and Scott,
I'm gonna' ramble as I do not have a factual answer.
When aluminum is dented, it stretches as it is a very mallable material. It cannot be pulled out as it now is thinner and covers more surface area.
Now, I have heard rumors of people using dry ice to shrink hot skins by applying it directly to the dent. This is to work o small dings (hail) not huge cavin type dents. I've also heard of using hot glue to glue a metal or plastic rod in the center of the ding. When it is set, attach locking pliers to it, and using a block of wood as a fulcrum, pull up with the pliers, then heat the glue to remove the rod.
The story goes that when so many units were damaged during the huge storms at the WBCCI International Rally at Souix City, that many of the units originally showing damage , had no signs of it after the next years hot summer. Maybe someone here will chime in as to the validity of this.
The biggest thing is this, DO NOT get behind the panal and try to tap them out as it will stretch the skin even more. If you were to get your hands on a shrinking hammer (specialty tool, Eastwood Company) then maybe you could attempt a repair on a scrap peice that you have dinged.
Good luck on a better settlement,
steelbird312
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Old 08-03-2004, 09:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbird312
The story goes that when so many units were damaged during the huge storms at the WBCCI International Rally at Souix City, that many of the units originally showing damage , had no signs of it after the next years hot summer.
I can't confirm with an Airstream. We got hit by hail while on vacation in our old MG. The hood took a bit of a beating. Now the real story: The hot Texas sun did indeed take out some of the worst denting with time, but it was not perfect, nor was it completely uniform. In other words, it seems, from my experience, that the story is half-valid.

Lynn
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:37 AM   #6
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Old MG

Yes, Lynn, in your old MG, unless I am very badly mitaken, the hood was steel, and I would expect that indeed it would have tried to resume original shape under the heat. It will be interesting to see if we hear from any of those who actually experienced it.
jerry
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbird312
Richard and Scott,
I'm gonna' ramble as I do not have a factual answer.
When aluminum is dented, it stretches as it is a very mallable material. It cannot be pulled out as it now is thinner and covers more surface area.
Now, I have heard rumors of people using dry ice to shrink hot skins by applying it directly to the dent. This is to work o small dings (hail) not huge cavin type dents. I've also heard of using hot glue to glue a metal or plastic rod in the center of the ding. When it is set, attach locking pliers to it, and using a block of wood as a fulcrum, pull up with the pliers, then heat the glue to remove the rod.
The story goes that when so many units were damaged during the huge storms at the WBCCI International Rally at Souix City, that many of the units originally showing damage , had no signs of it after the next years hot summer. Maybe someone here will chime in as to the validity of this.
The biggest thing is this, DO NOT get behind the panal and try to tap them out as it will stretch the skin even more. If you were to get your hands on a shrinking hammer (specialty tool, Eastwood Company) then maybe you could attempt a repair on a scrap peice that you have dinged.
Good luck on a better settlement,
steelbird312
That International was in Bismarck, North Dakota in 1993. Those trailers are universally now known as "Bismarck Units" as many were never repaired. We actually saw one this past weekend at the Airstream Park in Clear Lake MN that still proudly displays it's dents. Here is the most definitive discussion on dent removal that is on the Forums:

Dent removal

Roger
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:21 AM   #8
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READ OLD POSTS for more simular experiances

Our Resident Airstream Dealer, Andy of InlandRV.com use to be a adjuster for Airstream. If it is light damage he will tell you it may be gone by next year once it has had a season of heating and cooling. You will find that comment many times in older posts.
I will tell you this. The top of our 1959 is smooth and ding free. Our vents are old Hehr units that are stamped aluminum and a little thinner gage as well as different grade of aluminum. They looked like they have been worked over with a ballpeen hammer.

Personaly I would prove the coach is worth more. Get a bigger payout as long as it allows you to keep the coach and sit on that cash till next spring and see how many dings are left.

Flat pannels are not real hard to replace it's the curved ones that are a booger. Peter replace the whole side of his 345 from hail damage. There are photos of the process in hit photo album.

Welcome to the Forums BTW
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:31 AM   #9
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A new trick. I found a Ball from a large ball bearing about 2 inches in diameter. Then I took a large magnet from a car speaker and covered it with a piece of felt. I had my grandkid hold the magnet against the outside of the trailer and I slid the ball inside the wall to where the dent was and the magnet. then I came out and started moving the magnet around and around. The ball just rolled around inside in line with the magnet. It took about 1/2 an hour of rubbing but the dent was a lot smaller when I was finished than when I started. You realy need the large mass inside for the Magnet to get a good grip on. And also wash the spot and wax it first. I didnt and the felt picked up some dust and put little scratches everywher I rubbed
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbird312
Yes, Lynn, in your old MG, unless I am very badly mitaken, the hood was steel, and I would expect that indeed it would have tried to resume original shape under the heat. It will be interesting to see if we hear from any of those who actually experienced it.
jerry
Correctomundo! And the difference between steel and aluminum may be a very important one!

L
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:10 AM   #11
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Thank you for your help - I will let you know how things turn out!
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Old 08-05-2004, 11:51 AM   #12
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Hail damage

Hail damage to the sheet metal should be left alone.

In time, in the sun, the vast majority of dents in the side and roof metal will "disappear."

Some of the dents will aslo disappear in the softer metal used for the segments.

The old "alclad" aluminum is tempered, stress relieved.

When a dent is caused by the hail stone, a stress is set up, looking for a way to go back to original.

Therefore if you toy with it, instead of leaving it alone, you quite well may have a permanent dent.

Having settled more Airstream hail losses than any other person, I assure you, most of the dents will suddenly be gone, just leave it alone.

Therefore when setting an insurance loss for hail damage, replacement sheetmetal is rarely done, unless it is severely damaged.

What is done, is to calculate a "loss of value," for each hail damaged panel. In that way, should you have a collision loss on the same panel, the "loss of value" will be deducted. Bottom line of that is you are not out any more than a deductible, but at the same time any insrance company is not going to pay in full for a panel whose value has been previously decreased.

Some insurance companies may be dumb, but they are stupid. Most of them are aware that dents in Airstream from hail, "will" simply disappear.

For an owner to argue otherwise, just won't hold water.

Neither will "pay me now" and I will have it replaced later.

Other hail damage such as to clearance lights, tail lights, vent covers, AC shrouds or rockguards, should always be paid for in full, with no depreciation.

Bottom line is that hail losses, except to new coaches, is never as bad as one may think.

Time and patience, is the answer.

Andy
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Old 08-10-2004, 09:20 AM   #13
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Hail Damage

Andy,

Is is true that the dings will generally come out over time on (new coaches - mine is a 2000)? I assume the materials used in the new coaches vary from that of older ones and that prompts my question.

The only panels that were damaged were the rounded end panels (most noticible is the top 3 panels on either end). The dings are slightly noticible when the coach has just been washed, but with a little "road dirt" you can't really see them unless you are looking for them. While I have not had the opportunity to take it to the dealer for a quote, my initial impression is that State Farm has provided a thorough estimate and fair settlement. I have a high deductible, so obviously, if they will come out on their own over time, I would rather wait.

Thanks.

Sid
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Old 08-10-2004, 11:36 AM   #14
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Sid.

You demonstrated the point. Your trailer was hit with hail, but only the segments show damage. The segments are a softer material, which allows them to be stretch formed.

Therefore, some of the dents will dissapear in the segments, but it's unlikely they all will.

A loss of value settlement should be "very specific." Each and every damaged panel should be listed, and the allowance for each one.

In that way, should you have collision damage to one of the same panels, State Farm will deduct the amout of the loss of value.

Should it not be itemized that way, then it's anyones guess as to how much they would deduct for that particular panel, in the event of a collision loss.

Exact itemization, is the "key." Don't accept less.

If the adjuster knows what he's doing, you won't have a problem.

Andy
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