While it’s been several weeks since Winter Storm Uri wreaked havoc on Texas in February, many are still assessing the full extent of the damage caused by the below freezing temperatures. This is especially true for many school districts in the Lone Star State, including those in Bastrop County, which is anticipated to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims from the storm.
Texas School Districts Gauging Freeze Damage
It’s been over a month since Winter Storm Uri’s freeze caused widespread power and utility outages for millions of Texans. While many businesses across the state have begun to recover from the damages the storm caused, four school districts in Central Texas’s Bastrop County are still determining the extent of the damage to their campuses.
County officials discovered the property damage after the Bastrop, Smithville, Elgin, and McDade School Districts canceled classes during the winter weather that brought ice, snow, and subfreezing temperatures. The four districts continue to evaluate and repair damage at their schools. While some of the damage to the properties is minor, other properties have systems that need to be replaced entirely.
For example, Bastrop District’s Cedar Creek High School sustained damage related to a water chiller, with additional water damage impacting Memorial Stadium and the District’s transportation facility. The Smithville School District’s freeze damage included frozen waterlines at Smithville Elementary and a frozen irrigation pump and water line at Tiger Stadium.
The Elgin School District requires several repairs to multiple facilities, including a boiler replacement at an elementary school, re-piping concession stands and restrooms at a stadium due to multiple water line breaks, and replacing safety nets at district athletic fields. The McDade School District suffered multiple burst water pipes and a water pump.
While the full extent of the property damage has not yet been determined for all the districts, officials from the Bastrop Independent School District have assessed over $150,000 in damage claims related to the freeze and anticipate this amount will increase.
Winter Storm School Damage Insurance Coverage
Just like any other commercial property, school systems need the proper insurance coverage in place to protect their facilities. Most schools have various types of insurance policies in place to protect against property damage, as well as accidents that occur on the premises. Standard commercial property insurance policies often offer protection if a natural disaster or weather event causes significant property damage. This protection helps aid in the return to normal operations so the students’ education can continue after a disaster.
School insurance policies may cover both the buildings as well as their contents, which can include the property of staff and students. However, many policies only cover the property of the school itself.
When a natural disaster causes damage to a school, it may not be possible for operations to function properly. Therefore, it is crucial for relief to be obtained quickly so students can resume classes as normal. Unfortunately, insurance carriers may fail to respond to a claim in a timely manner, often leading to delays, underpayments, or a wrongful denial of a school’s claim of loss. When this happens, it’s important that school officials contact an experienced commercial property damage attorney for help.
School Property Damage Attorneys
While Winter Storm Uri impacted many commercial properties, several Texas schools are still assessing the full extent of their property damage and how they can quickly recover. Unfortunately, even if a school has insurance coverage in place, insurers may not cooperate in addressing a legitimate claim. At Raizner Law, our team of experienced property damage attorneys understands the tactics insurance carries use to avoid paying out on claims. Contact us today for more information on how we can best assist with your claim.