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Types of insurance that cover winter weather auto accidents

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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 ConditionsWeather-Related Crash Statistics
10 Year Average (2007 - 2016)10-year Percentages
Wet Pavement860,286 crashes15% of vehicle crashes70% of weather-related crashes
324,394 persons injured15% of crash injuries78% of weather-related injuries
4,050 persons killed12% of crash fatalities76% of weather-related fatalities
Rain556,151 crashes10% of vehicle crashes46% of weather-related crashes
212,647 persons injured10% of crash injuries51% of weather-related injuries
2,473 persons killed8% of crash fatalities46% of weather-related fatalities
Snow/Sleet219,942 crashes4% of vehicle crashes18% of weather-related crashes
54,839 persons injured3% of crash injuries14% of weather-related injuries
688 persons killed2% of crash fatalities13% of weather-related fatalities
Icy Pavement156,164 crashes3% of vehicle crashes13% of weather-related crashes
41,860 persons injured2% of crash injuries11% of weather-related injuries
521 persons killed2% of crash fatalities10% of weather-related fatalities
Snow/Slushy Pavement186,076 crashes4% of vehicle crashes16% of weather-related crashes
42,036 persons injured2% of crash injuries11% of weather-related injuries
496 persons killed2% of crash fatalities10% of weather-related fatalities
Fog25,451 crashes1% of vehicle crashes3% of weather-related crashes
8,902 persons injured1% of crash injuries3% of weather-related injuries
464 persons killed2% of crash fatalities9% 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.

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