Thousands of Damage Claims From Tuesday’s Storms

Roofer says repairs could take all summer

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NBCDFW.com

Insurance companies promise to have more adjusters in North Texas on Thursday to confront thousands of damage claims from Tuesday night’s storms.

Late Wednesday, State Farm Insurance reported about 2,400 homeowner and 4,200 auto insurance claims had been filed. Farmers Insurance reported more than 700 as of midday Wednesday.

Jerry Johns, president of the Austin-based Southwestern Insurance Information Service said the industry expects about 200,000 damage claims in total -- $200 million to $300 million in claims.

He said the fact that the wind and hail storms hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area toward the end of the evening rush hour resulted in more cars being exposed to hailstones larger than golf balls.

According to State Farm's claims, Irving was the hardest-hit city.

Trees, roofs and cars were heavily damaged in several Irving neighborhoods.

Residents said hail was as large as softballs, and the National Weather Service also confirmed Wednesday that some wind damage in Irving was the result of a tornado.

"It was roaring, so my safest place was in the bathroom in the hallway, so that's where I went," Irving homeowner Dottie Vaughn said.

At the height of the storm, a large tree came crashing through her roof. But she said she was relieved to be confronting a big repair job instead of something worse.

"As far as I know, there's no one in our neighborhood that's hurt, so that's a miracle," Vaughn said.

State Farm claims have also been filed in Sherman, Mesquite, Dallas, Fort Worth, Saginaw, Keller, Arlington, Euless, Hurst, Bedford, Haslet, Southlake and North Richland Hills.

It may take all summer to finish all the repairs, said Rene Almendarez, a sales manager with Clear Creek Roofing Company.

"It's a bad thing," he said. "It's inconvenient for the homeowner, and this neighborhood is going to get very busy. There's going to be a lot of roofers like myself coming and knocking on doors."

Almendarez said some roofs that appear to be fine from the ground sustained hail damage that would make the roof leak in the future.

"Once that happens, it's much more costly event," he said.

Insurance companies urge customers to check a contractor's license and references carefully and to get everything in writing before any work is performed.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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