The majority of the nation lives in areas where there's snowy driving conditions, so it's wise to be aware of the role car insurance plays if you have an accident during winter months.
Winter weather accident statistics
Nearly 70% of the population lives in snowy regions, and more than 70% of the nation's roads are located in snowy areas, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Whintry conditions cause a fair amount of crashes, and fatalities, according to the FHWA:
- 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement each year
- 15% happen during snowfall or sleet
- 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually
- Nearly 900 people are killed and nearly 76,000 people are injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet every year
In the table below, you'll see how weather-related accidents, injuries and fatalities compare, according to the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
|Road Weather Conditions||Weather-Related Crash Statistics|
|10 Year Average (2007 - 2016)||10-year Percentages|
|Wet Pavement||860,286 crashes||15% of vehicle crashes||70% of weather-related crashes|
|324,394 persons injured||15% of crash injuries||78% of weather-related injuries|
|4,050 persons killed||12% of crash fatalities||76% of weather-related fatalities|
|Rain||556,151 crashes||10% of vehicle crashes||46% of weather-related crashes|
|212,647 persons injured||10% of crash injuries||51% of weather-related injuries|
|2,473 persons killed||8% of crash fatalities||46% of weather-related fatalities|
|Snow/Sleet||219,942 crashes||4% of vehicle crashes||18% of weather-related crashes|
|54,839 persons injured||3% of crash injuries||14% of weather-related injuries|
|688 persons killed||2% of crash fatalities||13% of weather-related fatalities|
|Icy Pavement||156,164 crashes||3% of vehicle crashes||13% of weather-related crashes|
|41,860 persons injured||2% of crash injuries||11% of weather-related injuries|
|521 persons killed||2% of crash fatalities||10% of weather-related fatalities|
|Snow/Slushy Pavement||186,076 crashes||4% of vehicle crashes||16% of weather-related crashes|
|42,036 persons injured||2% of crash injuries||11% of weather-related injuries|
|496 persons killed||2% of crash fatalities||10% of weather-related fatalities|
|Fog||25,451 crashes||1% of vehicle crashes||3% of weather-related crashes|
|8,902 persons injured||1% of crash injuries||3% of weather-related injuries|
|464 persons killed||2% of crash fatalities||9% of weather-related fatalities|
Insurance implications of a weather-related accident
If winter road conditions cause you have an at-fault auto accident, then your state-mandated liability coverage will cover those that you harmed. Your property damage liability will cover someone else’s car or other property (such as a guardrail or fence) that you damaged.
In no-fault states, each party’s own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage would be used for injuries. If you were at-fault for injuring someone else and that party’s PIP limits are exceeded, then your bodily injury liability coverages could be claimed against.
For your own vehicle, you’d need collision coverage to file a claim with your insurer. Collision insurance is optional, so you would have to have this as part of your policy prior to filing a claim.
After paying your deductible, your car insurance company should pay the remainder of the repair costs. Or, your insurer may find that the car is a total loss and pay you actual cash value for the vehicle, minus your deductible amount.
Comprehensive insurance, also optional and carrying a deductible, would cover damage to your car from falling objects, say, if an icicle fell on your vehicle.
Typically, if you’re the one who lost control – even if it were due to a weather-related condition like black ice – you’ll be found at-fault by insurance companies for the accident. This means your rates could rise due to a surcharge at your next renewal.
The staff of experts at CarInsurance.com analyzed rate data and found that your rates increase an average of about 32% after an accident claim. That's about $455 more a year.
If your car insurance rates do rise due to an accident and its resulting claims, then it’s time to comparison shop. You may be able to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year by shopping around and finding the car insurance company that offers the best rates for your particular situation.