On April 28, a hailstorm swept through the St. Louis area of Missouri, causing damage to an estimated 50,000 vehicles, according to Ned Maniscalco, Enterprise Holdings manager of corporate communications. The widespread damage caused an increased need from consumers for insurance replacement vehicles, while the rental companies race to repair their own fleets.
The Enterprise Rent-A-Car location, for example, suffered damage to about 1,000 vehicles, Maniscalco said, but the company had to supplement its rental fleet with about 2,500 vehicles from neighboring states, including Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. “The resulting increase in hail-related auto insurance claims has caused a severe spike in demand for rental cars,” he said, adding that Enterprise is “currently evaluating overall demand levels and may bring in additional vehicles as appropriate.”
Maniscalco said that Enterprise expects demand to remain high for six months since body repair shops are already scheduled out until August for hail-damaged vehicles, even though insurance companies have declared vehicles more than three or four years old as a total loss.
Enterprise is still serving its corporate customer reservations, Maniscalco said, but customers who call or walk-in without a reservation risk not being accommodated with a rental. “We are working closely with our insurance and body shop partners to reserve vehicles for customers whose cars are being repaired,” he said.
— By Joanne M. Tucker