Area insurance agents were slammed with calls from Valier area residents after the June 14 hail storm that ripped through areas of Pondera and Glacier Counties, leaving houses, vehicles, gardens and some crops damaged.
“Large golf ball size hail caused broken windows, skylights, siding and roofs to homes and outbuildings,” said Shannon Naylor, Sales Executive for Leavitt Great West Insurance Services in Conrad. Vehicles sustained broken windows and mirrors, dimples and broken plastic components, she added.
“If anyone has any question if they have a loss or not, they need to call their agents to discuss things further,” said Naylor. “Going forward, when getting estimates from different contractors they need to find out if the contractor is insured.” Naylor suggested asking for a certificate of insurance. She noted contractors “will need to be able to provide an estimate and/or may need to visit with insurance companies. Normally, contractors do not ask for money up front to save them a spot for services.”
Naylor advised anyone with questions should contact the Insurance Commissioner’s Office. For more information, see https://csimt.gov/insurance/.
“It has been a day,” said Juanita Meeks, who is the Insurance Manager of dtj insurance and real estate in Cut Bank. Meeks, formerly of Valier, said a lot of their customers were able to pull their vehicles into their garages to protect them from the storm. Most of the calls they received on Monday had to do with houses, but there were a few automobile calls, too. Much of the damage reported was broken windows and screens, she said.
Meeks said most of the damage they’re seeing is located right in Valier and on the outskirts of town. The damage and the amount of it seem to vary, depending on where the home was and how it was situated on the lot.
Meeks advises residents to assess all of the damage before submitting a claim as there may be damages the property owner doesn’t think to look for or doesn’t notice right away. Broken windows are easy to spot, she pointed out, but you may not be able to see the damage to your roof.
Teresa Baney of KW Insurance in Shelby said they had received a lot of calls on Monday and the “calls just keep coming.” According to Baney, “The hail damaged everything from vehicles to campers to homes in varying degrees.”
If people need to make a claim, Baney said “sooner is better than later” and filing a claim is simple. “Just call your agent and he/she will take it from there.”
Local resident Linda Holden posted a YouTube video that shows the fierceness of the storm as it passed through the Valier area. Her video can be found at:
According to StormerSite.com, the reported hail measured 1.75 inches and hit around 2:40 p.m.
Hailstrike.com posted Doppler radar detected half-dollar size hail near Valier on June 14. The storm was traveling east-southeast at 35 mph and the storm produced hail for roughly two hours. The maximum hail size was 1.75 inches, with the average hail size listed at 1.38 inches.
The site estimated 11,835 buildings were in the affected area and, based on the size of the hail, the intensity of the storm had the potential to:
•Strip leaves from plants and damaging vegetables.
•Break glass panes, scrape paint, mark woodwork, dents trailers, tear tents.
•Break windows, crack window screens, kill chickens and small birds.
•Break roof tiles and slates, dent cars, strip bark off trees, cut branches from trees, kill small animals.
•Breach shingled roofs, break away window frames, score metal.
(Note: Jennifer Van Heel and Nate Kavanagh also interviewed agents in this article.)