Winter Storms Are More Dangerous Than You Think

In response to the snowstorm that struck the East Coast at the end of October and the coming onset of winter, the Insurance Information Institute recently warned that snow and ice storms are the third-largest cause of U.S. catastrophe losses.

Only hurricanes and tornadoes are more damaging in that respect. Winter storms caused a total of approximately $2.6 billion in private sector insurance claim payments in 2010, the most since 2003. These types of storms can directly threaten homes, cars and other property, and pose additional hazards by creating extremely poor driving conditions.

Wet and icy roads, fallen branches and debris, and impeded visibility during precipitation can make driving significantly more dangerous, particularly for the inexperienced and unprepared. III vice president Michael Barry noted standard auto insurance policies cover accidents caused by slippery road conditions, including car crashes between two or more drivers.

Vehicle damage caused by wind, flooding and other environmental hazards is generally covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy, while optional collision coverage pays for damage from vehicles crashing into objects.

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