Hail Storm Caused $70 Million In Damage

13,600 Auto, Homeowners Insurance Claims Made

Last week's storms added up to an estimated $70 million in insured damage, reported the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association Friday.

Approximately 13,600 auto and homeowners filed claims after the storm, which dropped baseball-sized hail. High winds from the storm damaged homes around Brighton, Commerce City and other communities northeast of the metro area.

"This storm is just round one of severe weather season in Colorado," said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association in a news release. "It’s much like a tornado siren warning us to take steps to protect ourselves and our personal property."

According to the association, Mother Nature made state history last year with the most costly severe weather season adding up to more than $1.4 billion in insured damage.

"Now is the time to consider impact resistant roofing to protect property and consider how much insurance coverage you have to fix your car, repair or rebuild your home and replace your personal belongings," Walker said.

Some of the heaviest damage was reported on farms across northeastern Colorado when the heavy rains flooded fields.

The owner of a dairy northeast of Fort Collins estimates the storm did about $190,000 damage to his property. Homer Dye, owner of Dyecrest Dairy, said he lost two cow shelters and 150 calf shelters were blown over.

Bob Sakata of Sakata Farms in Brighton says he lost 360 acres of sweet corn, onions and cabbage in fields in one storm Wednesday in southeast Weld County. Later that night, another storm hit another part of Weld County where he grows cabbage, broccoli and onions.

"All the fields in Hudson are gone," Sakata said.

Almost as quickly as the storm ended, aggressive contractors swarmed damaged neighborhoods looking for work.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve personally contacted about 25 contractors, 20 of them don’t know anything about the law. We have 5 other inspectors out here. They’ve each probably contacted at least 10 themselves,” said David Lutter, manager of Commerce City’s neighborhood services department. “We’ll we’re trying to be a little proactive. You know we don’t want to go out there and say ‘Hey, here, it’s the law.’ and write you a summons. We’re trying to educate them.”

Lutter said that summons for breaking the city’s door-to-door solicitation ban can become a fine if $1,000 once you’ve appeared in court.

“We’re trying to protect the citizens. Because what we don’t want to do is have some gypsies coming into the neighborhood and then they give them some money and then they’re gone,” Lutter said.

The Better Business Bureau suggests to always check the references of a contractor. Also, always have your insurance money go through you and not directly to the contractor.