Your neighbors might think your car has been suddenly enveloped in a giant inflatable cocoon. But Michael Siciliano says those same neighbors will be the jealous ones when your car is the only one that survives the next round of Texas hail.
"The people who live in hail-plagued areas, they don't care what it looks like. They just want it to work. And it does,” Siciliano said from his home in Gunter, Texas where he first developed the Hail Protector.
"I've just had vehicles that were damaged by hail and there was no solution on the market. And I figured it could solve it."
He solved it with several years of designs and prototypes, resulting in a constant air flow cover that fits snuggly around the base of a car or SUV. Inflated by remote control with power from an extension cord to your house, a 12V plug in your vehicle, or even by batteries, the Hail Protector inflates enough to deflect dozens of line-drive softballs, a 5-pound medicine ball, and will even support up to 20 pounds of barbell weights placed on top of the vehicle.
"It takes any size hail. Any size that mother nature's been able to produce in the history of the world,’ Siciliano said. "But even fully inflated this will fit in a regular parking space."
Hail in Texas, last year alone, inflicted more than $4 billion in damage. Only Hurricane Ike in 2008 was a more expensive storm year in the state.
So now with his website, his weather app that can help identify approaching storms, and his proven solution, the man who sold 2,000 Hail Protectors in his first three years says he is on pace this year alone to sell 2,000 more.
The Hail Protectors range from $379 to $479 depending on the size of your car.
"A lot of people thought I was nuts. There's some people that still think I'm nuts,” he said. “But it's been successful because it's a serious problem and an effective solution."
So far he’s sold the device in 37 states, in eight countries, and on four continents. All from a wild idea he had several years ago in tiny Gunter, Texas.
“Home of the Gunter Tigers, 3A Division II football champions. Sorry you can edit that out,” he laughed.
But with a car-protection device he’s now selling worldwide, he hopes the Hail Protector continues to be a proven winner too.