The spring storm season is far from over and already in 2016 there’s been $3 billion in property damage in the state of Texas due to hail.
It’s not just Texas where severe spring weather – gale-force winds and tornados, torrential downpours, and hail the size of golf balls – is causing damage to cars. A wide swath of eight states came under severe storm watch in the first week of May, including a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” watch issued for Texas and Oklahoma.
A report in Automotive News says that hail damage in the Lone Star State is the worst in years. The most recent storm was worst in San Antonio and Dallas, with large pelting hail damaging 110,000 cars across the storm zone, resulting in about $560 in damage, according to data from the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT).
Three massive hailstorms in March caused over $1 billion in insured losses across Texas. A press release from the ICT states that three serious hailstorms in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in March were followed by a huge hailstorm in San Antonio April 12.
What’s Causing the Severe Storms
Is this year’s string of hailstorms, particularly in Texas, anything unusual? According to Bill Bunting, Chief of Operations for the National Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, Texas almost always has its share of hailstorms. This year, however, they are hitting in more heavily populated areas. But the large-scale pattern indicates more storms on the horizon.
As for what causes the severe storms, it’s hard to pinpoint a single weather feature. “The El Nino weather system which we have been experiencing since late last summer tends to bring more moisture and a stronger jet stream across the state,” Bunting says. “Its effects tend to weaken or decline during the spring. However, we may see more active weather before it completely dissipates.”
In Texas, the storm season runs through June.
Protect Your Car with Appropriate Insurance
Repairing vehicles with hail damage can be expensive, depending on the extent of the damage. Some minor hail dents can be easily removed with paintless dent repair, while other damage is costlier to fix.
If your car has been damaged by hail or other storm damage, photograph the damage, get an estimate for the repairs. If the amount to fix the vehicle exceeds your insurance deductible, you may wish to file a claim. If the repair costs are minimal, you may opt to pay out of pocket rather than file a claim.
Remember that damage from hail, severe storms, fire and flooding is protected only by comprehensive insurance coverage, not collision coverage.
With severe storms still expected, however, experts say that the best protection for vehicles is to park them in a covered, secure area.