Insurance Information for Winter Weather
After the big snow storm in March, it’s obvious winter isn’t done with the Northeast. So we dedicate this blog to all the snow-related insurance issues you may face.
The best thing you can do for yourself when snow is still in the forecast is to make sure you get comprehensive coverage. Any number of unexpected things can happen in winter, and comprehensive will cover you for anything you may not have thought about. For example, if you’re just warming your car up in the driveway and someone steals it, this coverage will take care of it. Or a snow-covered tree branch falls on your car and cracks the windshield. You’ll be glad you got comprehensive coverage.
On the road, hazardous conditions are everywhere. Unfortunately, auto insurance can be unforgiving, even when it comes to an accident caused by winter weather. If you’ve never had an accident before, and a snow storm is responsible for your first accident, you could still face increased insurance rates. For example, if you slide on an icy, snow-covered road and land in a ditch, and it’s a no-fault accident, your insurance rate could go up 10 to 40 percent, or may not increase at all. Unfortunately, you’d most likely lose any safe driver discount if you had one.
As we always say, it’s better to prevent accidents whenever possible. When inclement weather strikes, be sure to clear your entire windshield, so you’ll have good visibility. Be sure you get snow or all-weather tires with good treads to avoid slipping. Get new wiper blades if yours are old or starting to smear liquid across the windshield. Also have an emergency kit on hand in case of a breakdown.
If you do fall into a ditch or your car battery dies right on the side of the road during a storm, make sure you have roadside assistance in your coverage. This way you’ll be able to be towed, or you’ll have a ride if you’re stuck in a blizzard.
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will take care of many issues. It includes something called “perils.” This usually applies to high winds, and the damage often caused during a storm. For instance, if your neighbor’s tree falls on your property in the middle of a snow storm, a standard policy will cover the cost to repair any damage to your home or other structures on your property, such as a detached garage. However, if a tree falls into your yard but doesn’t cause damage, you’ll have to pay for the cost of removing it yourself. If it’s your tree that’s blown down into your neighbor’s yard, causing damage to the house, your neighbor will need to file a claim with his own insurance company.
The standard policy is also good for covering any damage due to severe snow storms. For example, if your roof caves in because of heavy snow and ice. But beware—there are several factors considered by the insurance company before they decide how much to pay. If your roof was old and /or you didn’t maintain it properly, you may be paid a lesser amount for the damage. It’s a good idea to take pictures, keep good records and maintain a healthy roof. Always clean your gutters and make sure your attic is insulated.
Because of the high risk, you’ll need to get a lot of coverage for your snowmobile. Check the facts: Snowmobiles weigh more than 600 pounds and can reach speeds of 90 mph. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that snowmobiling results in more than 200 deaths and nearly 14,000 accidents every year.
Is snowmobile insurance right for you? It depends on how often you plan to ride and where. When determining the costs of your snowmobile insurance, the insurance company will take into consideration the state you live in, because some states require insurance for snowmobiles, while others don’t. They’ll also consider the make and model of the snowmobile and whether or not it has extra safety features. These things, along with your age, your deductible and the types of coverage you’re requesting—all will be factored when determining what you’ll pay. Coverages include comprehensive, collision, property damage and bodily injury coverage. Packages can range from $300 to $400 per year.
Zawada Insurance Agency is your all-in-one resource for helping you find the right coverage for you and your family. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, working to get you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.
Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.