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Texas Claims Counts, Especially Auto, Rising

A homeowner in Forney, Texas walks through a debris field left over from his tornado-damaged home on April 4. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A homeowner in Forney, Texas walks through a debris field left over from his tornado-damaged home on April 4. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

NU Online News Service, April 6, 1:07 p.m. EST

Insurers are finding out the recent severe weather in Texas took a heavy toll on vehicles.

Auto damage—from tornadoes, but more commonly from hail—is the cause of rapid claims accumulation, insurers say.

State Farm has logged 8,610 auto claims, and 1,221 vehicles can’t be driven. Most automobiles that cannot be driven suffered damage from the tornadoes, says spokesman Gary Stephenson.

Other autos show significant damage from hail—some the size of tennis balls—which fell during the April 3 severe-weather outbreak in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

Nicole Alley, spokeswoman for USAA, says the Texas-based insurer is also seeing many auto claims. The insurer has received about 3,800 total claims. 

Jerry Davies, spokesman for Farmers Insurance, says the storm system was a “huge hail event.”

Farmers has received nearly 5,000 claims, and 3,120 are auto claims. The insurer sent its mobile-claims-center bus toArlington,Texas.

The bus is equipped with communications equipment, laptops and phones for customers and non-customers.

Stephenson says he has seen many storm sites, and every one affects him.

“You go in knowing what you are going to see; you’ve seen it before,” he says. “But when you get there, it’s always overwhelming.”

For many carriers, claims are accumulating fast as homeowners pile up fallen tree limbs and destroyed contents and pieces from their homes.

“Some are just able to get back to try and recover some belongings—see what they can salvage,” says Alley, who last night followed a claims adjuster to Arlington.

As of midnight April 5, State Farm received 3,082 homeowners’ claims—about 130 are from homes deemed uninhabitable, Stephenson says.

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