Over the last few months, the North Texas region has seen several severe storms, which have damaged businesses along with many residential areas.
According to the Insurance Council of Texas, the March 23 hailstorm that hit Plano and surrounding areas cost about $700 million in insured losses, making it the 15th most expensive Texas storm since 1950.
With the recent hailstorms damaging roofs, windows, skylights, cars and other structures, property owners are turning to insurance and roofing companies to help recover their losses.
Insurance companies are in the midst of processing claims and ensuring their clients have the money to pay for repairs, said Mark Hanna, spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas. Located in the hail belt and Tornado Alley, the North Texas area is prone to catastrophic events, he said.
“So far this year, the insurance companies have already received more wind and hail claims than all of last year combined,” Hanna said. “The insurance rates are already pretty high in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because of the bad weather.”
Some insurance companies declared the hailstorms as a catastrophe and have brought out-of-state insurance adjusters to help process the large number of claims.
Randall Patterson, an independent insurance agent with Sergeant Fifty-Five Insurance and Real Estate in Plano, said if the storms continue, chances are some insurance firms could increase homeowners’ insurance rates.
Dealing with damages
Insurance adjusters are licensed by the state to inspect the property damage and give an estimate of the loss.
According to the Texas Insurance Code, insurers are required to inform consumers whether their claim has been approved within 15 days.
Once the notice is made, the insurer has to pay the claim within the next five days.
In the event of a weather-related catastrophe, the commissioner can extend the deadlines of the claim-handling process, Hanna said.
“Depending on the size of the catastrophe, the commissioner will grant them an extra week or two oftentimes because of the volume of the claims that they are dealing with,” he said.
Finding a reliable contractor
Finding a trustworthy contractor to perform repairs rather than hiring the first company that knocks on the doors is important, Patterson said.
“Don’t trust ‘Chuck in the truck,’” he said.
Patterson said Plano residents should verify if the contractor has a physical office address for his or her business, and check the contractor’s reputation in the community.
David Tilley, spokesperson for the Plano Police Department, said Plano residents should be cautious about trusting roofing contractors and take the time to read over any contract, Tilley said.
“We have had reports of what complainants believe to be unscrupulous activity. Roofers do not have to be licensed in the state of Texas. There are no laws protecting you from anyone overcharging you,” Tilley said.