While it isn’t technically winter just yet, the Michigan weather suggests otherwise. Snow on the ground, temperatures below freezing, it all makes for less than ideal driving conditions. According to the US Department of Transportation, more than 115,000 people are injured as a result of icy, snowy and/or slushy road conditions. Additionally, many more accidents occur without injury but result in car damage or some other form of property damage.
But it doesn’t stop there – winter has a huge impact on the State of Michigan as a whole. According to the Federal Highway Administration:
Snow and ice increase road maintenance costs. Winter road maintenance accounts for roughly 20 percent of state DOT maintenance budgets. State and local agencies spend more than 2.3 billion dollars on snow and ice control operations annually. Each year, these road agencies also spend millions of dollars to repair infrastructure damage caused by snow and ice.
Potholes, fender benders and other very common accidents are much more common in winter. This means now is the time to make sure you have the right coverage. It will require a two-fold approach – coverage for your vehicle and liability coverage should you damage someone else’s property.
Here’s some common winter accidents and how it is impacted by your coverage:
- Rear-End Collisions: Slick conditions result in your vehicles inability to properly slow down, especially in large amounts of snow or icy roads. If you were rear-ended, typically the insurance company of the person at fault would pay the damages, however your own collision insurance could help cover some cost of repairs too. If you are the one who hit
- Sliding Through Intersections: While the majority of people tend to drive significantly slower in the snow, even at slow speeds stopping at a suddenly changing light might be difficult during icy conditions. While you take the precautions if an accident results from this, collision coverage would again be able to step in to cover your damages.
- Frozen Branches: It isn’t unlikely for an old tree, or a tree that hasn’t been trimmed for years, to have branches that fall off when they freeze. Especially if you live in a highly wooded area, sometimes entire trees can fall down in this scenario. In this case the optional comprehensive insurance would be needed to cover your damages.
- Hit an Animal: In Michigan, it isn’t uncommon for people to collide with a deer while driving. During winter months, when visibility is minimal, it’s possible this could happen to you. Again, like with the falling branch, comprehensive coverage would be needed to cover these damages.
- Potholes: In Michigan, pothole damages are typically covered by collision coverage, however each insurance provider is unique in how they manage these claims. Given Michigan’s poor road conditions (#9 worst roads in country according to MotorTrend), especially in winter, you will want to seek this coverage to protect yourself.
Those are just a few scenarios and not a complete list of winter-related accidents. You will want to consult your insurance agent to understand how your covered and identify where more coverage is needed. If you have any questions, contact us today.