Car Insurance Co.: Road Hazards Remain After Winter Storms Clear

Auto Insurance provider AAA has issued an advisory to drivers warning them that just because the snow has stopped and the rain has ceased, this doesn’t mean that the roads are free of the hazards caused by winter weather.

Ice, snow and rain often leave behind lasting road problems in the form of potholes, which can leave an unsuspecting motorist with car damage ranging from flat tires to serious structural problems.

Water-filled pothole“Major winter storms have affected much of the country this season,” said the director of AAA’s Auto Repair and Buying program, John Nielsen, in a statement. “While many motorists’ cars have made it through the winter storm season unscathed, they could still fall victim to a pothole left in its aftermath.”

Drivers who have only the basic liability policies required by most states may be surprised to find out that their policies won’t cover any damages sustained due to hitting a pothole.

Such damage would be covered only under most collision coverage policies, which provide protection to the policyholders in the event that they collide with another car or object. These policies are not required under state law.

Consumers wishing to see how much it would cost to add this extra coverage can generate car insurance quotes online and compare prices between coverage providers. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the national average cost of an annual collision policy in 2008 was about $300. The price can be lowered by opting a higher deductible, but doing so will require the policyholder to pay more out of pocket in the event of a claim.

AAA has provided a number of measures that consumers can take in order to avoid sustaining serious damages caused by potholes.

The insurance carrier recommends drivers check tire pressure and tread, take their cars to mechanics if they suspect any suspension problems, check their cars’ alignment and to slow down and watch for puddles that might disguise a sizable hole in the road.

A number of causes can lead to a formation of a pothole.

In areas with colder temperatures, ice can melt during warm periods of the day and seep into the asphalt. As the temperature drops, the water can freeze, expanding and displacing the asphalt. Then the ice melts once again, leaving the road’s cracks even larger and ready for traffic to weigh heavily on the top layer and cause it to cave in.

In warmer areas, rain can seep in through the top layer of pavement and soften the base. The material shifts over time and eventually weakens to the point of caving in.

Many city and county transportation departments maintain hotlines that residents can use to report potholes so that they can be identified and repaired.

About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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