WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News, Weather, & Sports

Repair shops, insurance agents see increase in business after first snowfall

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - When the roads turn icy, law enforcement and tow companies are in high demand. Tuesday night the State Patrol tells us troopers responded to four crashes on highways around the Chippewa Valley. In Barron, a truck and school bus collided and Highway 95 into Arcadia had to be shut down.

Winter driving also means the people who fix up your car after a crash are busy too.

Insurance agents we talked to say the first big snow is one of the biggest times of year for them, as people rush to reinstate their policies or upgrade their coverage as the winter driving season begins.

“We see a lot of minor collisions a lot of people slide into curbs. They’ll come in with a bent suspension, bent wheels, things like that,” Owner of Madison Street Auto Body Mark Eisold said.

Eisold says this time of year the phones are ringing faster than they can answer them sometimes and even the smallest storm can spell major damage for cars and trucks.

“Usually it's the day after that we will see the repercussions of what took place as far as the storm that went through,” he added.

After all the dents and fenders are fixed at the shop, its time to pay the bill and that’s where some drivers can find a sticker shock.

“I hear it all the time that people have a $1,000 deductible. They ask what they should do and I tell them the next time you buy insurance get a deductible that's affordable for you,” Eisold said.

That’s where insurance agents like Mark Oliver see people coming in wanting to crunch the numbers.

“Just a minor accident can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. So I find people who might have taken a thousand dollar deductible to save on costs wish they haven't done that because it’s tough to come up with a thousand dollars,” Oliver said.

Oliver says on a day like Tuesday, he sees people calling to reactivate their insurance or up their policy, and he expects more people to keep coming.

“We did field a lot of claims today but I expect more tomorrow. Definitely every year it's the same scenario,” Oliver said.

Auto body shops and insurance agents say around this first snowfall if you do get into an accident, expect a longer time to get your car back since many shops in the area will be busy these next couple of days.

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