When winter weather hits, HomeFirst® wants you to be careful out there on the roads. Knowing when it’s safe to drive and tips on how to navigate safely in the snow can help you protect yourself and your vehicle. But before the snow falls, learning what coverages are best to have in different winter-related auto accidents can help you choose the right policies for your needs. Read more about different scenarios and the coverage they may call for.
An Accident in the Ice and Snow
As the roads get snowy and icy, the risk increases of you being in an accident. The Federal Highway Administration notes on its website that, “Each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.” So how are you covered if you hit a patch of ice and slide into the car ahead of you, a neighbor’s fence or a snowy ditch?
Liability: Liability covers injury to another person, such as the driver of a car you hit or your passenger, but not your injuries sustained. It also covers damage to another person’s property. The costs of damages to another driver’s car or for repairs to that fence could also be covered by liability, but your own car repairs would not.
Collision: To cover damages and repairs to your vehicle from an accident – whether or not another car is involved – a collision policy can help after your deductible.
Roadside Assistance: If you have added emergency roadside assistance to your policy or it is already included, this can be used to have your car towed out of that snowy ditch and to a nearby mechanic for repairs.
Windshields can be vulnerable to the winter. Ice may fill a small chip in your windshield and cause it to fracture more and crack. Hail can splinter or shatter the glass, as can the weight of snow from a heavy winter storm. In these cases, a comprehensive policy may help with repairs.
Comprehensive: Before the winter weather has a chance to damage your vehicle, check with your insurance agent for more details on how windshield repairs or replacements are covered. Since the above-mentioned hail and ice damage would not be caused by a collision, those perils would fall under comprehensive auto insurance.
Whether you’re at home or on the road, wind, ice and the weight of snow can break tree limbs or cause a tree to fall on your vehicle even after a storm has passed.
Comprehensive: Parking your car in a garage or under a carport if available is always a great way to prevent damage from falling objects. However, you may not have that option. If you wake up one snowy morning to find your car with a limb fallen on the hood, your comprehensive insurance can cover the car repairs.
Depending on the situation, if the branch or tree that fell is from your neighbor’s yard, it’s possible their insurance would cover it if there was negligence on their part. If negligence is not found by the insurer, your claim will be filed under your insurance.
Collision: If you slide on ice and crash into a tree while driving, causing limbs to drop down on your car, then that is a situation where collision coverage would be more appropriate.
Speaking of falling objects, hail can pack quite a punch to your vehicle’s exterior, leaving dents and cracking windshields. And the harm isn’t just limited to cosmetics. If the hail damage is severe enough, it can even total your vehicle.
Comprehensive: Hail is a typical peril included in insurance policies. Comprehensive auto insurance can keep you covered if the ice starts to come down on your car.
Don’t wait until you’re driving in a winter storm to find out what kind of coverage you need. Plan ahead before you are in a situation where the cost of damages could snowball, and feel better knowing how you’re covered while you sip hot chocolate and watch the snow fall.