Hail from Friday’s severe storm could have automobile and homeowners dealing with damage for the next couple of months.
“This storm was exceptional for a couple of reasons,” said Doug Tracey, an Allstate insurance agent. “First, it happened at 3 p.m. on Friday. Every car was out of the garage. Then, it wasn’t a five-minute storm. It was 20 minutes, so what it didn’t have in size, it had in duration. And this storm dumped from Lampasas to Belton.”
Insurance agents such as Tracey could be dealing with clients seeking claims and repairs from Friday’s hail for the next three to four months, he said.
Tracey expected at least 500 insurance claims to go through his office, he said.
At Hertz Car Sales in Killeen, almost 200 vehicles suffered light to moderate damage from the storm, said Tariq Sekander, the dealership’s sales manager.
“It started off quarter size, but then got to about ping-pong size,” Sekander said. “The vehicles that were out in the wide open took more damage than the others.”
Some of the vehicles were slightly shielded by fences, but most sustained hood, roof and trunk damage, he said.
Barry Harper, an insurance agent with State Farm in Belton, said his phone started ringing with claims Friday afternoon.
“We’ve been bombarded with calls,” Harper said, adding that his office alone had received 200 or 300 calls since it opened Monday morning.
Harper said that, in order to more effectively process claims, State Farm will be establishing a catastrophic claims center at Home Depot, 3550 S. General Bruce Drive in Temple.
The center will deal with automotive claims and will be up and running “in two or three days,” Harper said.
The fast-moving nature of Friday’s storm has been matched by the tsunami of homeowners calling for repairs. Joe Spoon, manager for the Belton branch of UCS Restorations, said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
“It’s gotten hectic here,” Spoon said. “Everyone is trying to get a local repair service.”
Bill Webster, owner of A Classic Roofing, visited close to 80 homes in Killeen, Harker Heights and Salado since Friday.
About 95 percent of them had roof damage that ranged between $4,000 and $16,000, Webster said. The hail also damaged homeowners’ air conditioners, fences, gutters and windows.
“It has to be roughly greater than the size of a nickle to do damage to a roof,” Webster said. “The golf ball-size hail we had on Friday could definitely cause damage.”
Many residents probably spent most of their weekend filing claims but could wait to do the repairs, said Webster and Tracey.
The damage caused by hail doesn’t mean a roof will leak, but the shingles are going to deteriorate faster, Webster said.
“People should think, why put that roof on in the 60 days during the hail season?” Tracey said.
Insurance claim checks are good for at least 180 days, Tracey said. Since the storm came through, already a number of out-of-town businesses are looking to do work here, Webster said.
Some of those people won’t do as a good job as local contractors, and others may try to scam people, he said.
Wait until the claims are processed before starting the work, Webster said. Also, people should stay away from contractors who offer to pay the homeowner’s deductible.
“If people fall for the contractor paying the deductible, you have already gotten into a dishonest deal,” Webster said.
FME News Service contributed to this report.