Auto Insurance Payouts Roll In for Mississippi’s March Hailstorm

Payouts for policyholders are pouring in after Mississippi was hit with harsh weather in March that rained pieces of hail on the state in record-breaking sizes.

Up to the latest reporting period, which ended April 30, there have been 40,801 personal Mississippi auto insurance claims relating to the hailstorm and about $155 million paid out for those claims, according to the latest figures that the Mississippi Insurance Department (MID) provided to Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN).

That leaves the average auto claim from the hailstorm at around $3,806.

Nearly 7 out of every 10 claims related to the hailstorm were auto-related.

When counting all types of insurance claims filed in the wake of the storm, the MDI reported 59,354 claims with about $266 million paid out, according to the MDI, with around an average payout per claim of $4,472.

Claim and payout numbers jumped “dramatically,” as Mike Chaney, MID’s commissioner, had expected early last month, when he predicted that the ultimate number of claims would “probably exceed 60,000 claims.”

A Chunk of Mississippians Lack Protection Against Hail

The comprehensive portion of an insurance policy protects vehicle owners against weather-related events like hailstorms, but not every driver has that additional coverage.

Nationwide, more than 3 out of every 4 drivers have comprehensive coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). In Mississippi, the rate is a little lower at around 70 percent, meaning that nearly a third of drivers in the state lack the proper protection against hail damage.

With hail claims increasing in size and frequency, comprehensive coverage may be a prudent purchase. A Highway Loss Data Institute report on hail claims showed that the rate of car claims for hail damage ramped up significantly in 2011 alongside total claim losses that were more than 32 percent higher than in 2010.

Miss. Hailstorm Damage Spurs Total-Loss Inquiries

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the storm raked the Central Plains on March 18 and brought damaging winds tore down trees and roofs along with huge pieces of hail that broke windows and windshields.

Residents reported hail of all kinds: some golfball-sized and others softball-sized.

One hailstone reported in Clinton, Miss. was noted as the third-largest hailstone for the month of March and the seventh-largest ever in the state. Other NWS reports from Clinton include heavy damage to an elementary school and local police cars, the latter of which were sometimes totaled.

The most common inquiries for the MID’s Consumer Services section have been about total-loss car claims, according to Chaney.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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