Hurricane Sandy damage toll reaches 250,000 vehicles image

The total number of cars damaged in superstorm Sandy rose to 250,000, an insurance-industry group said.

The state of New York had the highest number of damaged vehicles – 150,000. New Jersey followed with 60,000 damaged vehicles, with Connecticut coming in third with an estimated 8,000, the National Insurance Crime Bureau said today in a statement.

Hurricane Sandy damaged 20,000 more vehicles in New York than earlier estimates, as insurers received additional claims, the report said. The storm hit the East Coast, killing more than 100 people and causing about $50 billion in damages.

“Sometimes weeks and weeks, months after an event, claims will continue to trickle in from areas that were really at the center of the storm,” Frank Scafidi, a spokesman at the National Insurance Crime Bureau, told Bloomberg.

Sandy may cost the insurance industry as much as $25 billion, according to an estimate from catastrophe modeling firm Risk Management Solutions Inc. Companies including Travelers Cos. and Chubb Corp. posted lower fourth-quarter profit because of the storm. Geico, New York’s leading automobile insurer, is set to announce results for the fourth quarter next week.

According to analysts, the storm has helped U.S. sales of new light vehicles in recent months as owners replace damaged cars.