Insurance Regulators Advise Consumers on Weather-Related Claims

Crashed car in snowAs the first surges of winter begin slamming different parts of the country with adverse weather conditions, insurance regulators are providing guidance to policyholders and insurers regarding weather-related auto insurance claims.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has issued a release advising consumers to make sure that they aren’t simply assuming that they have coverage for any incident that they may encounter.

For instance, most states do not require the type of protection that will cover drivers in the event that they slide off an icy road and damage their car. Only policies that include collision or comprehensive coverage would pay for these damages, since the required property damage liability legally required of motorists in the majority of states actually goes to cover the damages to someone else’s car that were caused by the policyholder rather than those incurred by him or her.

In Alabama, state regulators have recently issued a bulletin reminding insurers and policyholders that certain provisions are in place protecting policyholders from undue repercussions arising from weather-related claims.

Apparently, Alabama car insurance law has had these protections in place for some time, but negligence of the law has led Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling to reiterate the fact that, although regular accident claims can lead to adverse actions, insurers cannot cancel or decide to not renew a policy solely because an insured driver has filed a claim in which the damage was from weather-related causes.

Further, for policies issued after February 2011, insurers will not be able to apply a premium surcharge as a consequence of a weather-related claim. They can, however, cancel any claim-free discount.

Consumers may want to call their agents to make sure that they are clear on the provisions of their coverage.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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