The storm in Odessa that shattered windshields, dented cars and tore up roofs in June 2017 proved the costliest hail storm in Texas last year. Even though it was no Hurricane Harvey, which was the most expensive weather event in Texas history, Odessa’s hail storm set a local record with the estimated $480 million worth of damage it caused.

Now, as the spring storm season arrives, the Insurance Council of Texas trade association encouraged home and vehicle owners to prepare should it bring more catastrophic weather.

“Odessa’s hail storm was the biggest hail storm in the state last year,” insurance council spokesman Mark Hanna said.

About half of the estimated damage came from cars, the trade association estimated. The remaining half was damage to homes.

Even today, local insurance agents are still handling claims related to the June 14 hail storm.

State Farm Agent Jason Yeley said his office is still working on about a fourth of the claims related to the hail storm — in most cases because the policyholders decided they could get a better deal or better work if they waited on repairs, and because their level of property damage gave them that option.

Hanna and Yeley offered tips for people to prepare for the storm season and, if more bad weather strikes, how to handle damage to homes and vehicles:

Understand your insurance policy, including what property is covered, the level of coverage and the deductible. Make sure you know your insurance agent and that they have up-to-date information.

In some cases last year, Yeley said some policyholders hadn’t talked to their agent in years, which hamstrung payments because of out-of-date property information.

“The main thing is that by keeping your information up-to-date, you are not going to have as many problems as someone who didn’t,” Yeley said.

Report damage early, before beginning repairs. Especially in a major weather event causing widespread property damage, early claims lead to faster results. Document storm damage and keep receipts of any emergency repairs to prevent further damage before permanent repairs can be made.

Be leery of “storm chasers” who solicit repair work after a storm and who may end up fleecing homeowners after storms with false damage assessments, shoddy work or fraud. Report damage to the insurance company to get an adjuster out quickly, do not pay for repairs up front and do not let solicitors on your roof.

“That’s always a concern because people get ripped off every year after every storm,” Hanna said, adding that people should “just go local. Deal with people who have been here 20, 30 years. They’ve built up a good reputation… You know where they are going to be tomorrow.”

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