150,000 cars awaiting insurance money after heavy Istanbul hailstorm
ISTANBULSome 150,000 car owners have made insurance claims for damage caused by heavy hail in Istanbul on July 27, which left holes on hoods and broke many windshields, as thousands of others have been waiting in line to be registered.
Insurance companies decided to extend the application deadline for the hail damage from four days to two years, with many car owners still waiting in long queues at repairers.
Many companies have already run out of windshield stocks and drivers who urgently need their vehicles are trying to replace the damaged original glasses with sub-industry products.
Repairers told daily Hürriyet that some of their staff quit their jobs to work independently in a bid to make benefits amid the high demand.
Some companies invited mechanics from neighboring countries like Bulgaria, Greece and Iran as well as Brazil, they said.
Can Akın Çağlar, the head of the Insurance and Reinsurance Companies of Turkey Union (TSB), told Hürriyet the insurance costs caused by flash floods, earthquake and hail happening in the past two weeks reached 300 million Turkish Liras.
Evaluating the natural disasters’ costs for the private sector, Çağlar gave information about the developments in the insurance market in the first six months of 2017.
He said companies collected some 7,000 notices for the 116 million-lira damage after the flood on July 18, which mainly hit Istanbul.
Following an earthquake in the Aegean Sea on July 21, 800 notices were collected for 12 million liras worth of damage.
Istanbul was once again hit by a flood on July 27, with hail during the heavy rainfall increasing the damage.
Insurers have taken 22,000 notices for the 168 million-lira damage during the second flood, Çağlar said.
“Insurance companies pay 3,500 liras for cars damaged in the hail, they pay around 1,000 liras for the windshields, and people whose houses were damaged during the earthquake get around 6,000 liras,” he said.
“Climate change increases the risk of natural disasters. Every day our citizens and institutions face serious damage costs and this is increasing because of the low percentage of insurance in our country,” he said.
Three out of four people do not have housing insurance, while one in two companies do not have fire insurance and two out of four car owners do not have car insurance, according to Çağlar.
“Insurance costs are not as expensive as people think and insurance business is not only a sector covering damages but also consulting to cut risks,” he added.