Car owners count cost of hail storm
By ANDY PARKS
ROBERT ARGENT heard a weather report on the radio say 'bad storms, but no hail' when he parked his Peugeot 307 in Lismore last Tuesday.
We all know the weather bureau gets it wrong sometimes, but Mr Argent said it 'broke his heart' when the hail started pelting down.
"This is the best car I've ever owned," he said. "And that includes a Mercedes 450. It handles so beautifully."
Mr Argent was one of hundreds of local residents to take advantage of the mass assessment centre set up by Suncorp Insurance at the Lismore Showground over the weekend.
About 15 assessors were brought in from Sydney and Brisbane for the weekend to speed up the assessment process for hail-damaged cars.
A long line of cars was banked up early on Saturday, but as the morning passed the influx slowed.
"It probably took about 30 or 40 minutes. It was very good, a lot quicker than I thought," Mr Argent said.
Motor assessor Frank Pisano estimated he was checking between six and seven cars an hour.
"A lot of them are total write-offs," he said.
After looking at Mr Argent's car he had some good news.
"It's repairable. There's probably $10,000 to $13,000 worth of damage here," Mr Pisano said.
"It will need a new roof and a new bonnet, but its market value is still around $20,000, so it's definitely repairable."
Mr Argent was pleased with the outcome. "Obviously I don't want to part with it, so yes, I'm very pleased."