During a year in which Americans suffered through devastating floods, monstrous blizzards and nationwide tornadoes, the lasting effects may only just be taking shape.
Every year there are roughly 7,000 fatalities, 800,000 injuries and 1.5 million automobile crashes in the United States directly related to poor weather conditions, according to the National Research Council.
As a result, the number of auto insurance claims increases during cold weather months. Experts believe that this is due to the poor road conditions. However, bad weather alone does not necessarily lead to crashes, as irresponsible and careless drivers may also be the cause of accidents.
Incidents lead to higher rates
“It stands to reason that human error in combination with hazardous road conditions leads to more collisions. Plus, heavy snow can bring down trees and power lines, which can lead to comprehensive claims,” said Jason Beever, owner of Chalmers Insurance Group’s C.E. Carll Agency in Gorham, Maine.
While it is difficult to determine if weather or human error causes the majority of automobile accidents, consumers are likely to pay the price in the long run; leading to higher auto insurance quotes. Car Insurance companies do not make money paying out more than they are bringing in, and continued high accident rates may lead them to raise rates.
One major factor companies consider when determining insurance premiums is the location of the driver. Individuals who reside in areas that are more prone to tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis may receive higher auto insurance quotes. The likelihood that residents in these disaster zones will make an insurance claim is higher than calmer areas and thus may be more of a financial burden on insurance companies leading to increased car insurance quotes.
People who own boats and RVs may also pay increased rates in high-risk areas. Any personal property an individual owns that could be damaged from a storm may cost more to insure.
Tips for drivers
While drivers have no control over the weather or the road conditions, there are precautionary measures that can be taken to help reduce claims. First and foremost, experts recommend staying off the roads during bad weather when at all possible.
If a person is not driving, they cannot get into an accident. Additionally, if driving is not an option, traveling well under the speed limit may help limit the number of accidents and allow a driver to pull over more easily if the conditions worsen.