Hurricane Irene Damage Estimated at $3 Billion

The East Coast was battered by Hurricane Irene over the weekend, causing an estimated $3 billion in damage. As of Monday morning, the storm had cut electric power to more than 6 million homes and business and caused the deaths of at least 18 people.

Virginia and North Carolina Battered by Storm

While the East Coast proved it was ready for Hurricane Irene by promptly evacuating thousands of people along the coast, the structures left standing could not withstand damage from the high-speed winds.

Though the entire coast was affected from top to bottom, Virginia and North Carolina took the biggest hits with at least 10 people killed. Virginia in particular has suffered the second-largest power outage in state history.

Vermont was another hard-tip area with record flooding. The other states affected by the storm include Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia.

Insurance Costs Expected Hit Reach $3 Billion

According to Kinetic Analysis Corp., a firm that predicts the effects of disasters, the storm’s cost to insurance companies is expected to reach $3 billion in the United States. This estimate is significantly lower than the original of $14 billion prior to the storm reaching the coast.

According the State Farm, claims have already starting rolling in. So far, the insurance has received about 1,600 homeowners insurance claims and 500 auto insurance claims from just in North Carolina and Virginia.

Experts say anyone who needs to file a claim should do so sooner than later since there is expected to be a large number of claims over the next several weeks.