Fort Worth

Hailstorm in Tarrant County tops $600 million in insurance claims

Getting dents out of cars and replacing roof shingles across Tarrant County is going to take a while.

The Insurance Council of Texas, an industry trade group, now estimates last week’s hail storm will reach $600 million in auto and property claims.

If those estimates are correct, Friday’s severe weather would be the 12th costliest storm in Texas, said Mark Hanna, an Insurance Council spokesman.

“That means a lot of insurance adjusters are busy right now looking at autos, homes and businesses,” Hanna said. “We need to get people back on their feet again.”

For many Tarrant County residents, the headaches are just starting.

The phone was also ringing constantly at Lon Smith Roofing and Construction in Fort Worth.

The company had 22 estimators working Monday and is in the process of adding more staff, said Lon Smith president David Cox.

Homes and businesses with roof damage stretch from Benbrook to Arlington.

“We’re adding more people to answer phones,” Cox said. “It’s the biggest one we’ve had in a while but it’s too early to say how big it will be. These storms tend to grow around the edges as more people realize they may have damage.”

The next time it rains will likely reveal more hail damage, Cox said.

“You have the shock and awe where big hail hit — we’ve all seen video — but really these things tend to grow on the edges,” Cox said. “We need a good rain to expose granular loss.”

Cars lose windshields, gain dents

Hanna estimates $300 million came from vehicle damage alone and that at least 50,000 vehicles were damaged.

At Haws Paint and Body Repair in downtown Fort Worth, the phone was ringing steadily on Monday from customers needing repairs for their hail-damaged cars.

“We’re booked up until the middle of May,” said Eddie Stephens, the owner of the body shop. “We’ve got four here and one’s already totaled and I expect one of the others to be as well.”

Both State Farm and Allstate have each set up five drive-through hail claim centers across Tarrant County.

As of Sunday, State Farm had 5,820 auto claims and 2,630 property claims from last week’s storm. Most of those claims were in Tarrant County, said State Farm spokesman Chris Pilcic.

Allstate spokeswoman Kristin Freis said the insurance company was still collecting information on the storm.

More storms on their way

Another round of storms will arrive on Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night when a dryline and cold front push through the area. Right now, forecasters are predicting the greatest risk for severe weather will be east of Dallas but they aren’t ruling out some storms hitting the Metroplex.

The Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a slight risk (15 percent) for severe storms from Dallas eastward on Wednesday and a marginal risk (5 percent) for parts of Texas, including Fort Worth.

“There’s always the potential of wind and hail but it’s a totally different setup than last week,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop. “This time it’s a cold front and a dry line pushing through instead of a warm front setting up to south.”

Another round of storms is predicted to roll through the area on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

“It’s spring,” Bishop said. “This is what we expect this the time of year.”

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

Costliest Texas Storms

Insured Losses (actual dollars)

$12 billion Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13, 2008, Galveston Island

$3.5 billion Tropical Storm Allison on June 8, 2001, Houston

$2.8 billion Hurricane Rita on Sept. 24, 2005, Sabine Pass

$1.2 billion tornadoes on Dec.26, 2015, Garland-Rowlett

$1.1 billion Mayfest hailstorm on May 5, 1995, North Texas

$890 million hailstorm on June 13, 2012, DFW area

$885 million hailstorm on April 5, 2003, North Texas

$850 million tornadoes/hailstorm on April 3, 2014, Denton

$795 million Hurricane Alicia on Aug. 18, 1983, Galveston

$775 million tornado/hailstorm on April 3, 2012, DFW area

$750 million hailstorm on April 28, 1992, Fort Worth, Waco

$600 million hailstorm on March 17, Tarrant County; and hailstorm on March 29, 2012, McAllen

Source: Insurance Council of Texas

Tips on getting repairs

The rules of roofing

You can’t be too careful when getting a roof replaced, especially if the storm draws contractors from out of state. Here are a few tips to avoid getting scammed:

▪ Ask for their drivers license.

▪ Have your insurance adjuster examine your roof before you seek estimates from contractors.

▪ Get more than one estimate.

▪ Make the roofer provide local references and a physical business address, not a P.O. Box.

▪ Ask for proof of liability insurance and workers-compensation coverage.

▪ Don’t pay contractors up front and get everything in writing.

▪ Be wary of contractors who offer to contact your insurance company or pay your deductible to get your business.

▪ Make temporary repairs as needed (and get receipts) but do not make any permanent repairs until an adjuster arrives.

▪ Check with your city to see what permits may be required.

About that busted windshield

While many of the same tips are applicable for vehicle damage, you should also:

▪ Document all damage with photos and/or video.

▪ Check your policy for coverage and deductible information.

▪ Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible and request an adjuster.

State Farm Insurance, the Insurance Council of Texas and the National Storm Damage Center.