Body shops and insurance companies stay busy in winter weather

Every couple of years, we see a winter storm that comes in and causes problems for drivers.

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Every couple of years, we see a winter storm that comes in and causes problems for drivers.

General Manager at Bob’s Paint and Auto Body Ashley Denton says people usually tend to be more cautious when there is inclement weather, but sometimes they get too comfortable.

“We’re not used to it, and we don’t have the equipment to get the roads where they need to be as soon as they need to be there,” Denton said. “A lot of times there’s not damage cause they just slide off, but I do know we’ve had incidents where they’ll slide into the car in front of them because there’s not enough space. You want to double or triple the space. Sometimes you can’t see the ice. It will just be clear over the concrete or the asphalt. With that type of ice, you don’t know it’s there until you get on it, and if you hit your brakes you’ll start sliding.”

Brandt Galloway with Galloway Chandler McKinney Insurance says they have also been pretty busy.

“Oftentimes, they are just neighbors trying to get out of a neighborhood and they backed into another neighbor’s vehicle. If that’s the case, they just need to call their insurance agent and have them file a claim for them. We’re happy to do that, and we’ll walk them through the process. We did get a number of claims where it was a single-car accident or the car slid off the road, into the ditch, or a tree or a mailbox. Some of those had damage to the vehicle and some of them needed to be towed. So, they would need to pay the tow to get their car out of the ditch, and we could file for reimbursement.”

Denton says he used to live in Indiana where winter weather is more common. With that experience and working at a body shop, he offers some tips of his own.

“They have anti-freeze jugs. If you have water in your engine to keep the engine cool, it freezes, expands, and cracks your blocks. (The anti-freeze) doesn’t freeze, but it still keeps your engine cool. The second thing is the tread depth on your tires, you want to make sure it’s a safe tread depth so if you do lose traction, you have the most capability out of your tires to get the traction because if they don’t, it will do that with the rain too. Another thing too, is they have washer fluid that has a defroster in it, you put it in your reservoir, with this type of weather, if your fluid has that de-icer in it, it gets it off a lot quicker.”

Denton and Galloway say they expect to see more cars coming into the shop and more people filing claims on insurance

“We’ll probably continue to get claims for a couple of weeks after this,” Galloway said.

“I would just be mindful of the way everything is going with the cars in the community,” Denton said. “There will probably be a heavy influx after the weekend. We haven’t seen the brunt of it yet. Be patient with the shops, and we’ll do everything we can.”

Galloway says they have also seen several homeowner claims resulting from water lines that burst after the extreme cold.

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