Colorado passed Texas last year for the most costly hail damage on homes and vehicles insured by State Farm, according to a report released March 18 by the insurance giant.
State Farm policyholders from Colorado filed 66,800 claims totaling $598 million for hail damage to homes and vehicles, including 24,402 claims totaling $380 million for damage to homes and 42,414 claims totaling $218 million for damage to vehicles, according to the company’s annual hail report. Texas ranked second with $437 million in claims, followed by Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska. The company paid $2.7 billion in 2018 from more than 280,000 hail-related claims.
The number of claims by State Farm Colorado policyholders in 2018 was up 57 percent from the 47,500 claims filed in 2017, while the dollar amount was up 37.2 percent from $436 million, the company said.
A wave of storms that passed primarily through Denver and the northern Front Range on June 18-19 racked up $2.2 billion in damage. That came just days after a storm hit the Fountain area, causing $169 million in damage. Another storm in August, which injured dozens of people and killed two animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, caused nearly $173 million worth of damage to southwestern Colorado Springs.
Colorado was hit in May 2017 by its most damaging hailstorm, triggering $2.3 billion in damage from 267,000 claims in the Denver area, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
Texas topped the nation in hail damage in 2016 and 2017, with Colorado finishing third in 2017, second in 2016 and third in 2015. Colorado’s 2016 numbers included a major storm in eastern Colorado Springs that triggered more than 84,000 claims totaling $352.8 million, according to the association, a Greenwood Village-based industry trade group.
Despite the jump in Colorado claims last year, State Farm cut its auto insurance rates March 11 by 3.7 percent, resulting in $29.8 million in savings for its 850,000 policyholders statewide, or about $35 per customer. The company also cut its auto rates 4.7 percent in June, resulting in $35 million in savings, or about $40 per customer. The company is the largest auto insurer in Colorado and the nation.
Rate cuts are the opposite of what most Colorado auto policyholders have been experiencing, according to an annual story by auto insurance comparison website The Zebra.
The company said Colorado’s rates jumped 19.3 percent last year to $1,682 a year and now rank as the nation’s 11th highest. Since 2011, Colorado premiums surged nearly 80 percent, the most in the nation. Colorado auto insurance rates were the nation’s 12th lowest in 2011.
“We have had year after year of record hailstorms, and while rates are based on patterns and trends, Colorado has been part of a trend” of increasing losses from hail, said Carole Walker, executive director of the insurance information group.
“When you combine the increasing number of claims with the growing cost of claims, is should not be surprising we are already seeing rate increases.”