Most of the nation lives in areas with snowy driving conditions, so it’s wise to be aware of the role car insurance plays if you have an accident during the winter.
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.
Wintry 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 almost 76,000 injured in vehicle crashes during snowfall or sleet yearly.
Insurance implications of a weather-related accident
If winter road conditions cause you to 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 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, your bodily injury liability coverages could be claimed against.
You’d need collision coverage for your own vehicle to file a claim with your insurer. Collision insurance is optional, so you must have this as part of your policy before 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 the 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. Your rates could rise due to a surcharge at your next renewal.