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Your car insurance policy may protect you in the event of a natural disaster
Normally, to have coverage in these situations, you need to have your policy in place before the disaster occurs
There are different coverage options that may provide coverage, usually comprehensive and collision coverage
Collision coverage provides protection from damages that may occur while driving your car, such as hydroplaning due to heavy rains
Comprehensive coverage normally provides coverage for damages that are not related to a collision with your vehicle, such as fire, hail, or flooding
Natural disasters can occur at any given time, causing damage your vehicle when you least expect it.
In addition to the dangerous driving conditions that natural disasters may create, these disasters can damage your vehicle even when it’s not on the road. It’s important to learn what your policy provides coverage for in the event of a natural disaster.
Natural disasters are often hard to define because they can vary based on the area affected and the number of people affected.
However, there are some traditionally accepted events that are defined as a natural disaster. For example, a hurricane or tropical storm is normally considered a natural disaster, due to the amount of damage that can occur, the number of people that can be affected, and the large distance the event can impact.
Natural disasters are sometimes referred to as catastrophes within the insurance world, meaning it’s a severe disaster; either natural or man-made.
Each insurance provider may have a different definition of what they consider a natural disaster or a catastrophe, just as the insurance industry as a whole has different criteria for what is a true catastrophe.
Your Collision Coverage Protects You From Disaster-Related Accidents
Depending on the natural disaster that’s affecting your area, there could be some conditions that may cause a collision.
For example, during a hurricane, heavy rains or excessive winds could create hazardous driving conditions. During a natural disaster, any collision related damages would still fall under your collision coverage.
Similar to a common two-car accident, your collision coverage may require that you pay a deductible. The deductible on your policy is the amount you are responsible for before your policy limits come into effect.
This amount is normally selected when you first purchase your policy or when you renew your policy with your provider. Your insurance provider can discuss your coverage options and your deductible in further detail.
Your Comprehensive Coverage Protects Against Damages Caused By a Disaster
Although natural disasters may be responsible for some collision related accidents, there are often more damages caused by your car being parked in an affected area.
These types of damages are often referred to as “other-than-collision” damages and are typically covered under your comprehensive coverage. This coverage usually protects your vehicle in situations where you are not involved in a collision.
Using your comprehensive coverage, your car may be protected from a variety of different natural disasters, such as a tornado, flooding, hurricanes, or fires.
In the example of a hurricane, for instance, this could mean that your insurance policy would cover your car if the winds, rain, or even hail from the hurricane damaged your vehicle.
Just like your collision coverage, your comprehensive coverage usually has a deductible amount that you will be responsible for before your policy limits take effect.
Your insurance provider may be unwilling to provide any coverage before you pay this amount, or they may reduce any settlement by the amount of your deductible if you cannot pay.
If you are looking for insurance coverage, or already have an active policy, it’s important to speak with your provider. They can discuss what comprehensive coverage covers under their policy terms, allowing you to decide if the coverage limits work for what you need.
Each provider may offer slightly different terms in their policy, so it’s important to get multiple quotes to compare offerings.
Natural Disaster Claims May Come With Unique Terms Or Conditions
Many natural disasters can damage a large number of people’s property all at once, meaning that your insurance provider may receive hundreds of claims all at the same time.
To process these claims effectively, as well as reduce any fraud attempts, your provider may require you to follow specific guidelines or meet specific conditions before you can file a claim for natural disaster damages.
One of the conditions that may be in effect is your policy’s age. When natural disasters are predicted or imminent, your insurance provider may place a temporary hold on writing new policies or adjusting current policies.
This may mean that any coverage you do not carry before the disaster, such as comprehensive coverage, could not be added until the disaster has passed.
It’s important that you consider purchasing or renewing your insurance coverage before a natural disaster restriction takes effect. Once your potential or current provider has a restriction in place, you may not be able to acquire coverage or alter your existing coverage to protect your vehicle.
Your insurance provider may also require you to file your claim within a certain time window, or they may require that your vehicle was damaged within a certain date range to qualify for the natural disaster coverage.
If this is the case, there may also be unique claim handling procedures that your provider has set up. If you are filing a claim for damages from a natural disaster, be sure to ask about any unique conditions you need to abide by.
Finding the Right Protection
Natural disasters can occur in any area at any time, and it’s not always possible to plan accordingly.
Before damages caused by a disaster occur, it’s critical that you understand what your policy covers. The different conditions that natural disasters create could fall under collision or comprehensive coverage, and some providers may require that you have active coverage before any disaster occurs.
If you have questions or concerns about what your policy will cover in the event of a natural disaster, make sure to speak to your insurance provider.
Also, your state’s Department of Insurance can speak to you about different coverage requirements in each state, as well as any situations that a natural disaster may not be covered under your traditional auto insurance policy.
Your car insurance policy normally covers your vehicle from flood damage under your comprehensive coverage
To get your policy to cover your car for flood damages, you normally need to have comprehensive coverage in place before the flood damage occurs
On your insurance policy, comprehensive coverage protects your car in the event damages happen that are not related to a collision
This coverage choice normally carries a deductible, an amount that you are responsible for before your policy limits apply
Your insurance provider can discuss your coverage options and any concerns with you, to make sure your policy meets your needs
Flood damage is one of the many damages that nature can unleash on your vehicle; many times without enough time to plan ahead. Flooding not only causes dangerous driving conditions, but it can be damaging to your vehicle when it’s parked at your home.
It’s important that you understand the ways your car insurance policy can help protect your car when flooding occurs.
Damage caused to your vehicle by flooding is usually covered under the comprehensive coverage option, which you may have selected when you purchased your policy.
Comprehensive coverage is sometimes known as “other-than-collision” coverage, or coverage that applies to incidents that are not caused by a collision.
Under the coverage that your comprehensive policy option offers, damages caused by natural events are often covered. This means that your comprehensive coverage option will normally provide coverage for hail damages, fire, tornados, and even flooding.
This may mean your policy provides coverage if your car is damaged by flooding.
When you’re looking for insurance coverage, or even if you have coverage already, it’s vital that you determine what your policy covers.
Different providers may have different conditions on what is covered under your comprehensive coverage option, and there may even be time limitations on when you have to have the coverage in place before your policy terms apply.
Do you meet the conditions for coverage listed in your policy?
Flood damages, just like any damage covered under your comprehensive policy, normally come with a deductible. The deductible is the amount that you will normally be responsible for before your insurance policy limits will take effect.
This is normally one of the primary conditions that your insurance provider may require for your coverage to apply.
In addition to your deductible, your insurance provider may have special coverage conditions due to flood damages; these types of events tend to impact many different vehicles all at once.
For instance, your provider may have special time limits on when to file the claim or how you have to proceed with the claim settlement process.
It’s important to remember that what your state requires for insurance coverage may not be adequate to cover damages from hail. When you are shopping around for insurance policies, it’s important to discuss your concerns and any possible coverage situations with your provider.
Should you file a claim for flood damages?
Your car insurance coverage may cover flood damages, but that does not always mean you should file a claim.
While flood damages may be an unexpected loss, filing a claim may not be your best option. It’s important to take your policy limits and your insurance deductible into account before you file a claim since you will normally be required to pay the deductible before your policy limits apply.
Before filing the claim, you should first document any damages to your car as long as it is safe to do so. Your insurance provider may have requests on what you should do to document the damages, such as taking photographs of your car.
This may help you figure out if filing a claim for the flood damages is the best option for you, or if it would make more sense for you to cover the damages yourself.
As mentioned before, it’s always important to mitigate any additional damages if possible. In the case of flood damages, it may be difficult to mitigate damage once the flooding has started. Your insurance provider will appreciate anything you can do to reduce further damages.
Finally, you should speak to your insurance provider about the claim process when possible.
In the event of flooding damages, you may need to follow unique conditions to qualify for coverage. This normally occurs when many people are affected by the flooding, but your provider can explain any coverage conditions you should be aware of.
Are you covered?
Flood damages are not always predictable, but you can prepare for the unexpected as best as possible. The first thing you should do is go over your car insurance coverage to determine what your policy covers.
If you do not find comprehensive coverage listed on your policy, or you are not sure what your policy contains, make sure to speak to your insurance provider.
Additionally, if your car is damaged by flooding, or flooding is happening nearby, and you are worried it could affect you, then take some steps to protect your car if you can.
If possible, move your vehicle to a safer location. If your car is already damaged by the flooding, then contact your insurance provider for further guidance on what you can do to limit your damages.
When you carry physical damage coverage on your policy, you can file a claim against your own insurance to help you pay for the cost to repair the vehicle after a loss
Comprehensive coverage pays for claims that are made for non-moving incidents and damage caused by acts of nature. Collision pays if the vehicle overturns or collides with an object while it’s being operated
When you file a claim against your own policy, the insurer will cut a check to you or to the lender that will pay for the repairs. When the check is cut to a lender, the loss payee has to sign off on the check before you can cash it. The lender may require that you pay the repair shop so that the property is repaired
When the claims settlement check is cut to you and other named insureds on your policy, you are free to cash the check with your bank. What you do with the money is up to you
There’s nothing more relieving than knowing that you have the insurance that you need when your vehicle is damaged in an accident. Paying your premiums month in and month out will pay off when you need financial assistance to cover the labor that must be performed to get your vehicle back to its pre-loss condition.
While auto insurance safeguards you from footing the bill when you need to hire a professional who can buff out scratches or replace panels, after your claim is settled you can easily change your mind about getting the repairs done.
You might start to second-guess how bad the damage really is when you have the check in hand. If you’re tempted to cash the check and keep the money, here’s what you need to know:
When will your own policy pay to repair damage to your car?
Your auto insurance policy won’t always pay for your own vehicle repairs. If your car is damaged, you need to be sure that you have sufficient coverage before you pick up the phone to make a claim.
When you don’t have physical damage coverage and the insurer can’t attempt to collect from any other driver, your claim will be closed.
Since a basic insurance policy that includes only state-mandated requirements doesn’t pay for your own damage claims, building the right personal policy from the start is imperative.
Your policy will only pay for first-party damage to your covered auto or a temporary substitute vehicle if you carry one of the following coverage options:
Collision – pays for claims made for damage to your car when it’s sustained in a rollover accident or a collision
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage – pays for claims made for damage to your car when the vehicle is damaged in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. If you don’t have collision insurance, the UMPD coverage will pay up to $3500 for repairs
How much will your auto insurance company pay when you file a damage claim?
After all, a dented bumper or a scraped passenger door doesn’t affect how the vehicle runs. Before you start planning how you’re going to use the money, you might want to find out how the check is cut.
Some companies that deal directly with affiliate repair shops. These are the shops the insurer will recommend that you use. Unless you tell the company otherwise, the carrier will cut the check to the auto body shop that they refer clients to.
Luckily, if you tell the insurer you want to use another shop or repair the car yourself, you should have that option. This is when the check will be cut to you.
What happens if the vehicle is currently being leased or financed?
Your plans to save the settlement money or go on vacation can be thwarted if the vehicle that you’re making a claim on is financed or leased. One of the requirements that’s written into your finance contract is that the financial entity must be listed as a loss payee or an additional insured on your insurance policy.
You can’t cash the check until the lender or lessor is willing to sign the check and give you permission to cash it. Some lenders and lessors won’t do this unless the money is going to the repair shop.
What can happen if you keep the money instead of getting the repairs done?
There are dangers to holding onto the money and living with the damage. One of the drawbacks of doing this is that your company might ask to inspect your car to see if the repairs have been made.
If they haven’t, they may deny you the option to carry physical damage coverage. Some carriers will note that the damage exists so they don’t pay twice for the same damage.
If your car is financed or it holds some value, it might be worth it to consider carrying comprehensive and collision. If you currently don’t have full coverage, you should see how much it costs.
Use an online quote comparison tool, enter your personal information, and determine if full coverage makes financial sense.
When you have an accident, it’s important to notify your insurance company of the incident in a timely manner regardless of who’s deemed at fault
Your insurer requires you to call the claims department and inform them of a loss even if you’re sure you’re not negligent. The requirement is in place to keep the company in the loop and also to ensure that you’re practiced from bad faith tactics
If you file a third-party claim with the other party’s insurance without notifying your insurer, you don’t have a professional claims expert to represent you. This could put you at risk of accepting a low offer because of the way that you worded a statement
When you get into an accident, the fault determination has a lot to do with which auto insurance company takes care of the benefits.
Being not at fault for a collision typically means that the other party’s insurance company will pay for your repair bills and your medical bills as long as the amount is below the driver’s third-party liability limits.
If you’re definite that you’ll be found not at fault for your most recent accident, avoid the temptation of keeping the claim a secret from your carrier. So many drivers choose not to file a claim against their policy out of fear that their rates will skyrocket because of an incident that was beyond your control.
Before you start to handle the claim on your own, here’s what you need to know:
Consider What Type of System Your State Operates Under
If the other driver is at fault, you’d think that it’s just common sense that they are liable for your medical bills. While this is the case in most states, it’s not the case in states with their own no-fault systems. In these states, you can only collect for damage claims under the other person’s policy.
In the United States, there are two types of insurance systems: fault states and no-fault states.
In fault states, also called tort states, you can file a claim against the other driver’s Bodily Injury coverage when you’re not to blame. In no-fault states, the accident-related medical bills that you sustain are covered under your own policy regardless of who’s to blame.
Contact the Police to File a Report to Safeguard Yourself
Not all companies will ask you to submit a police report when you’re filing your claim. Since you don’t have to call the police to arrive at the scene of a minor accident, you might not have a report to accompany your statement. Taking the extra step can truly protect you as the claim is being investigated.
One thing that all insurance experts will tell you is that you should never admit fault or make statements that can be misconstrued at the scene of the crash.
If the other guy made the mistake of apologizing for hitting you, it’s easy for the fault to be determined right at the scene. They will later realize that this apology cemented the fact that they were to blame so they may change their statement after the fact.
Get the Officer’s Information While You’re Still at the Scene
If you have a police report, you can avoid the disputes that make claims settlements drawn out and stressful.
Since you probably can’t get the whole report at the scene, jot down the officer’s badge number and the department that they work so that you can give the insurer this information. The claims adjuster will then run the report so that they can review it.
Contact Your Insurance Company to Start the Claims Process
When both you and the police agree that you’re the innocent party, you can call the other company to file your claim. It’s best to avoid doing this because you can easily make a statement that will affect how much you’re compensated and how quickly the claim is processed.
Even though you’re filing your claim through your carrier, it will still proceed as the at-fault driver’s company.
You will give your insurer all of the information that they request and then the claims adjuster will help guide you through the process. Even better, the adjuster will contact the other carrier to initiate the claim and share statements so fault can officially be allocated.
What type of information must you give when you’re filing the claim?
It’s important to collect as much information as possible whenever you have an incident that will turn into a claim. The police report will contain some information, but you need other details because the company will do their own research to determine fault.
The report helps, but the company does look at the damage, the scene, and actions to determine who pays. Giving the most accurate information that paints the big picture is crucial if you don’t want fault to be passed on to you.
The car’s insurance company contact information and policy number
Contact information for passengers and witnesses outside of the car
Pictures of all of the damage to both cars
Location of your vehicle after the accident
What are the drawbacks of contacting the other driver’s insurance first?
If you decide that you want to take care of things by working directly with the other driver’s claims department, there are some risks that you should know about. The adjuster that you speak with represents their client and will try to find discrepancies in your statements to push fault on you.
The company will also talk to their client to see if their statement matches, which delays the process. If you get a low-ball offer, you don’t have an adjuster to help you negotiate unless you work with your company. It’s better to let the company you pay handle all of this.
If you’re not happy with the service that you received through your carrier when filing your claim, you should consider switching. Make sure to get instant quotes for coverage with large competitors and then you can research claims satisfaction to choose the best carrier.
When your vehicle is dented, it’s not always covered by your insurance. The cause of the dent is very important. The damage must have happened suddenly and not worsened over time or the claim will be denied
Comprehensive coverage will be available to use if the dent was caused by a falling object, a hail storm, a vandal, or an accident with a live animal. Dent claims are subject to a deductible
Collision will be available to use if you collide with another car or another object and your car is dented. You must pay a deductible before the carrier will pay for body work
It’s amazing how different a car can look with a few dents. Your once perfect vehicle could easily turn into a blemished one because of a careless shopper in a parking lot or a stray baseball.
What’s even more frustrating is that even small dents can be expensive to repair at professional body shops who have all of the right dent repair equipment.
Since the dent doesn’t affect how your car functions, it’s more than likely the last thing that you want to spend your hard-earned money on repairing. Luckily, there’s a chance that you don’t have to come out of pocket to fix your vehicle if you carry the right insurance.
Here’s a guide to auto insurance and how dent repair is covered:
What type of policy do you have?
Whether or not your policy is going to pay for dents and dings depends on how they appeared and also what type of policy you’re carrying at the time. If you have a basic auto insurance policy, you’re not going to have the optional first-party coverage options that you need to file a claim for damage to your own car.
Basic auto policies provide strictly third-party coverage that pays for the other person’s vehicle and their medical bills.
The mandatory coverage options that you’ll find on every basic plan include Bodily Injury and Property Damage. In some states, drivers are required to carry Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection, and Uninsured Motorist as well. None of these will help you pay for your physical damage expenses.
What type of coverage do you need for dent repair coverage?
If you’d like your policy to pay for dent repair, you’ll need to add comprehensive or both comprehensive and collision to your plan.
Each of these coverage options falls under the coverage category called physical damage coverage. In your policy booklet, it’ll be called Part D: Coverage for Damage to Your Auto. Each coverage pays for different incidents.
When does your comprehensive coverage pay for body work?
Comprehensive is often referred to as Other Than Collision because it pays when you have an incident that’s beyond your control. Dent claims often fall under comprehensive because they can happen when you’re in your car and when you’re sleeping in your home.
The different causes covered under your comprehensive coverage include:
Falling objects (tree, fruit, objects falling off of a truck)
Hail falling during a storm
A door hitting your vehicle while you’re parked
An act of vandalism
A deer running into your car while crossing the road
To file a claim for a comprehensive loss, the damage must exceed your deductible.
Luckily, the deductible carried for comprehensive is often lower than the other deductible on the policy. Some people carry a deductible as low as $50. The coverage will only pay up to your car’s value to cover the cost of repair.
When does your collision coverage pay for dent repair?
Collision is defined as the physical damage coverage that pays when your car is damaged after it collides with any type of property.
You can collide with a barrier, a wall, an object sitting in the road, or a vehicle and have your damage coverage. Your collision will only pay if you’re at fault in an accident where two or more cars are involved.
Like comprehensive coverage, collision pays when the collision deductible is exceeded. You must pay the deductible before the company will issue a check. If the car’s Actual Cash Value is exceeded, the company will settle the claim as a total loss instead of a collision loss.
Is there a limit to how much insurers will pay?
Companies may have partners with body repair companies to ensure that the cost of labor is covered. If you decide to get your work done elsewhere, there’s a limit to how much the company will pay for labor. You should see if the company charges more than this limit before you choose the repair shop.
It’s possible to make a claim against your policy to cover the cost of dent repairs. If you’re not carrying the right coverage, it’s time to get quotes for a full coverage policy. Do a thorough comparison by using an online rate comparison tool, and then you can secure adequate coverage at a fair price.
Click here to view the interactive graphics and here to view the data tables.
If you’ve driven for any length of time, you know how easy it is to be involved in a car accident. One glance at your cell phone, the radio, or your cup of coffee, and before you know it, you’re dangerously close to striking another car.
As licensed drivers, most of us have either been involved in a motor vehicle accident or have come far too close. While car accidents are never ideal, accidents that cause fatalities are a nightmare.
Based on our studies, fatal car accidents — and total traffic-related fatalities — have been on the decline from 2007 to 2014. The total number of traffic-related fatalities has been around 30,000 since 2009.
Statistically speaking, this means there is a 0.5 percent chance that any one person will be involved in a fatal car crash this year.
While the total number of car accidents in the United States is on the rise, the majority of these accidents are non-fatal crashes or crashes that only involve property damage. This means that, as a whole, less people are dying each year as a result of car accidents.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that “From 1993 through 2006, vehicle changes were the main source of the decline in driver death risk. Had vehicles not improved during that time, the longstanding downward trend of driver fatality rates would have ended in 1993.”
In the U.S., there were 29,989 fatal car accidents in 2014. This averages out to 9.4 fatal car crashes for every 100,000 residents or 14 fatal accidents for every 100,000 licensed drivers.
These statistics suggest that, for every 100 million miles driven, there is one fatal car crash, meaning there is a fatal car accident every 16 minutes.
In 2014, Texas had the most traffic-related fatalities with 3,193 and DC had the least with 21.
The Western Plains and the South are the worst offenders when it comes to traffic-related fatalities; the South being the worst for killing pedestrians and both areas being equally bad for cyclists and motorcyclists alike.
Based on these sources, we arranged information into six different categories:
Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven
Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers
Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers
Total Passenger Fatalities by Population
Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population
Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population
Within each category, each state — and the District of Columbia — was given a total score. The best states received higher scores and the worst states received lower scores.
For example, New Mexico earned only one point in the Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population category, meaning New Mexico was the worst of all the states for this type of fatality. In contrast, Minnesota earned 51 points, proving this state was the best when it came to this type of accident.
For a complete breakdown, along with the specific sources used for each scoring criteria, view the rankings table below.
Ten Best States for Traffic-Related Fatalities
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 45th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 24th
Connecticut drivers can be proud to claim their spot at #42. With only two categories ranked outside the top 40, motorists in Connecticut seem to be well aware of their responsibilities when they’re behind the wheel.
#43 New Hampshire
Best Ranking Factor: Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 47th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 16th
Coming in at #43, New Hampshire was 37th or higher in every category except Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population. In order to better their ranking for next year, New Hampshire residents need to improve at sharing the road with cyclists.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 49th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 27th
Wisconsin was close to the top of the list for Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population. Above average in each category, drivers in Wisconsin clearly take their responsibilities seriously.
#45 New Jersey
Best Ranking Factor: Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 49th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 10th
New Jersey secured the #45 spot for Traffic-Related Fatalities with its 49th ranking for Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers. Drivers in New Jersey need to be far more careful when it comes to watching for pedestrians to stay on our list of Ten Best States next year.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 46th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 34th
Washington kept all scores except for Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population in the 40s. Drivers in Washington are clearly level-headed and cautious in each category, and it makes for a safer state to drive in.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 51st
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 33rd
Minnesota takes the top spot when it comes to watching out for pedestrians. Out of a population of nearly 5.5 million, only 15 pedestrians were killed as a result of a car accident in 2014.
#49 District of Columbia
Best Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers, Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers, & Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 51st
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 23rd
The District of Columbia did extremely well in this study, besting every U.S. state in three separate categories. The only reason the District of Columbia isn’t at the top of our Ten Best States list is their below-average score for Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population.
#49 Rhode Island
Best Ranking Factor: Total Passenger Fatalities by Population & Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 50th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 20th
Securing #50 in two separate categories, Rhode island did exceptionally well in almost every category. If drivers in the Ocean State want to improve on their score for next year, they need to respect and drive cautiously near pedestrians.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven: 51st
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 35th
Massachusetts did a phenomenal job when it came to traffic-related fatalities, earning the #2 spot on our Ten Best States list. Out of over 575 billion miles driven, 328 people were killed as a result of a car accident. This averages out to a fatality rate of .57 for every 100 million miles driven.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven & Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 50th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Driver & Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 43rd
Coming in at #1, Vermont has a lot to brag about. Tying for 50th in both Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven and Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population, the state boasts conscientious drivers and safe roads. Even at its lowest score, Vermont still did extremely well with a score of 43.
It’s encouraging to see a state that takes the responsibility to drive seriously. Hopefully, the states on our Ten Worst States list will take note to learn how they can improve.
Ten Worst States for Traffic-Related Fatalities
#10 South Dakota (Tied)
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 36th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 7th
Ranking one position better than their neighbor to the north, South Dakota is tied with Florida at #10. No surprising with a population of 853,175 and many snowy months, South Dakota’s best rank is for Pedestrian Fatalities. Alternatively, for a Licensed Driver population of nearly 610,000 this state has a high rate of Drivers who are killed in fatal crashes.
#10 Florida (Tied)
Best Ranking Factor: Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 35th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population & Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 2nd
Florida tied with South Dakota for #10 on our Ten Worst States list. The state’s score of 2 for both Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population and Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population prove that drivers in Florida have a serious problem sharing the road.
#9 North Dakota
Best Ranking Factor: Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 31st
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 3rd
North Dakota scored very low when it came to passenger fatalities, with 31 passengers dying as a result of a car accident. With mostly below-average scores when it comes to traffic-related fatalities, drivers in North Dakota have a lot to improve on for next year.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 31st
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers & Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 8th
Arkansas secures the #8 spot with a score of 8 for both Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers and Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers, as 61 people were killed on motorcycles alone.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 23rd
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven & Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 9th
Texas drivers’ below-average score for even their best ranking factor has earned the state the #7 spot on our Ten Worst States list. Hopefully, motorists will improve upon their total score to stay off the list next year.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 40th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven: 3rd
Drivers in Montana should celebrate their score for pedestrian fatalities, but the Treasure State scored extremely low for Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven. For every 100 million miles driven, there were 1.58 traffic-related deaths.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 28th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers & Total Passenger Fatalities by Population: 2nd
Coming in at #5, Mississippi scored extremely low in Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven (4th), Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers, and Total Passenger Fatalities by Population. In Mississippi, over one thousand people were killed as a result of car accidents in these three categories alone.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 17th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven & Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 5th
Scoring below average in every category, Louisiana drivers earned the #4 spot on our Ten Worst States list. Overall, 1,462 people died as result of traffic-related accidents in Louisiana in 2014.
Best Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 42nd
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers, Total Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers, Total Passenger Fatalities by Population, & Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 1st
Scoring first in four separate categories, drivers in Wyoming earned the #3 spot. The state’s respect for pedestrians is the only reason Wyoming didn’t earn #1.
#2 South Carolina
Best Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers: 16th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven: 1st
Coming in at #2, South Carolina was in the top 10 for everything except Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers. Motorists in the Palmetto State need an overhaul of their driving strategies to improve on their results.
#1 New Mexico
Best Ranking Factor: Total Driver Fatalities by Licensed Drivers & Total Pedacyclist Fatalities by Population: 13th
Worst Ranking Factor: Total Pedestrian Fatalities by Population: 1st
New Mexico takes the top spot on our Ten Worst States list. In 2014, there were 2,223 known traffic-related fatalities in the state. New Mexico drivers have a lot to learn when it comes to safe driving.
The Best Predictor of Traffic-Related Fatalities Rank: Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven
It seems the best predictor for both the best and worst states for traffic-related fatalities was Total Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven. In the best states, not one scored lower than 40 in the Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven category, and in the worst states, seven states were listed in the top 10.
What causes traffic-related deaths?
While it may seem that these tragic accidents are uncontrollable, there is quite a bit we can do to prevent accidents — especially fatal accidents — in the future. Based on a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 31 percent of driving fatalities occurred when one or more people were alcohol-impaired.
From these statistics, it is obvious that our choices behind the wheel directly impact the number of accidents on the road. If we choose to pay attention while driving, avoid distraction, and obey the law, the number of traffic-related fatalities will drastically decrease.
What’s left to study?
Our study focuses on licensed drivers in the U.S. By the exclusive nature of this study, we do not have specific data for licensed motorcycle drivers or unlicensed drivers. Both of these avenues of study are worth exploring, and we hope to focus on this in the future.
Additionally, there is very little data when it comes to the specifics of all automobile crashes for each state. Because overall crash data is usually estimated, we have not included it in our study but we are interested in future studies focusing on crashes by state.
Complete Rankings: Worst States for Traffic-Related Fatalities
– To sort the table by category, click on header columns.
An auto insurance policy is an indemnity contract that’s meant to protect you against losses that could potentially happen when you own a car
Policies are sold and advertised like other goods but they are very different from goods that you find in a retail environment. Since insurance coverage is intangible, what’s being sold is more of a service than a tangible product
Most states have laws in place that require vehicle owners to buy a minimum amount of insurance. The requirements are in place to ensure that everyone can pay for any damage they are responsible for after an accident
You can build a custom policy that includes all of the coverage options that you need along with the coverage that’s required by law
Since you’re going to have to prove that you have an insurance policy before you register your car, it’s best that you understand what a policy is and what it provides.
Auto insurance is unlike any other product that’s available for purchase.
While it’s advertised much like other consumer goods that you can find for sale in your local retail stores, it’s more of a service than it is a tangible item. Since you can only put your insurance to use when you have a loss, it’s important to build a comprehensive policy.
When you buy an auto insurance policy, you’re entering into an indemnity contract. The purpose of this type of indemnity contract is to protect you if you have an auto accident. Since most states hold legal owners of vehicles accountable for the damage that their vehicles cause, buying insurance is a must.
When are you required to buy an auto insurance policy?
By law, you’re only required to buy insurance when you’re the legal owner of a car and you live in a state with compulsory insurance laws.
While a majority of states have mandatory insurance requirements, there are a few that allow you to provide proof of financial responsibility instead. You can deposit cash, buy a bond, or file for a self-insurance certificate.
It’s up to you to decide if you would like to put your money at risk to avoid paying auto insurance premiums.
When you buy an auto insurance policy, you have a guaranteed amount of protection that will help you pay for third-party and even first-party claims. If you are contemplating insuring yourself, make sure to look at the upside of buying insurance first.
What type of insurance is required by law?
Insurance requirements vary by state. Since a majority of states operate under a tort law system, you will be required to buy third-party liability coverage. If you live in one of the dozen states that has a modified no-fault system, you’re also required to buy Personal Injury Protection.
Here’s a breakdown of how required coverage options pay:
Bodily Injury Liability – pays for medical treatment costs when you cause an accident and another party is injured
Property Damage Liability – pays for repair costs or replacement expenses when you damage or total someone else’s property
Personal Injury Protection – pays for your own medical expenses and other related expenses that are incurred when you’re injured in an auto accident as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian
If you really want to have a buffer of protection over your head while you’re driving your car, it’s best to build a custom policy. You can do this by raising your liability limits and adding optional forms of protection:
Uninsured Motorist Protection – pays for your medical bills and immediate emergency expenses after you’re in a crash with an uninsured driver (required in some states)
Medical Payments – pays for reasonable medical expenses incurred no matter who’s to blame for an auto accident. You can be a passenger, a driver, a cyclist, or even a pedestrian
Comprehensive – pays for the cost to repair your vehicle if it’s damaged or totaled after a non-collision loss
Collision – pays for the cost to repair your car, up to its Actual Cash Value, after you collide with another vehicle or object
Rental Car – pays for a rental if your car is damaged in a loss. If you’re not at fault for the loss, the other insurer will pay
How much will my auto insurance policy cost?
Insurance policies are sold in terms. You can buy a policy that lasts for either six months or a year at a time. Unlike consumer goods, the cost of auto insurance is personalized. The premium that you’re quoted is based on your personal rating factors that represent how likely you are to cost the insurer money.
Since everyone has different risk factors, you’ll find that your rate could be dramatically higher than someone else’s, even if you have a clean driving record.
Now that you have an understanding of how insurance works, it’s time to find out how much you’ll pay for coverage.
The first step to finding competitive rates is to get auto insurance quotes from several carriers. The quickest way to do this is to use an online rate comparison tool. Enter your information and get personalized prices for coverage today.
Various types of evidence are used to determine fault
Confirmation of coverage is necessary for a claim to proceed
Motor vehicle accidents occur frequently, and many people have already found themselves involved in insurance claims related to these accidents. Unfortunately, many others will also find themselves dealing with insurance claims.
Being insured with a company that is known for handling claims quickly and equitably and having an understanding of how claims work will make the experience as painless as possible.
Accidents can result in damage to one vehicle, to multiple vehicles, to property other than vehicles, and even to people. When accidents occur, the insurance carrier will typically be represented by members of the claims adjuster staff. The claims personnel involved in handling the claim will conduct an investigation that will address liability, coverage, and damages.
Sometimes, liability investigations are simple. For example, if a driver rear ends another vehicle, the party that runs into the back of the other car is almost always considered to be the liable party. However, if multiple vehicles are involved, determining which party is at fault may be more involved, and accidents involving injury or death require more investigation as well.
There are many tools the claims department can use to investigate accidents. Police reports are often a source of addresses and phone numbers. Sometimes officers will indicate one party as the at fault party.
It’s important to remember the officer’s determination does not end an investigation because the officer is often basing his remarks on what he has been told by the parties involved and not on a full, complete investigation.
Investigations may also include taking recorded statements from those involved as well as any witnesses. Some people are reluctant to provide statements. Without the involved parties version of what occurred, an investigation can become more difficult and drawn out.
You should also know that if you retain an attorney, the insurance company must communicate with you through that attorney. You will get your information from your attorney, not directly from the insurance company.
Photographs of the scene and the property involved may be taken and a diagram drawn. In claims involving great bodily injury or death, an accident reconstruction team may be called in to document further exactly what occurred.
With the investigation complete, coverage can be addressed. Policies are written with different coverages depending on coverages mandated by law as well as by optional coverages chosen by the policyholder.
If you’re responsible for damages and injury to other parties, the insurer will make sure that your policy is in good standing, confirm that you have liability insurance, and determine the limits of your coverage.
Likewise, if you are in an accident and the other person is at fault, their company will make sure that coverage is available for your damages.
Once liability has been determined and coverage confirmed, the damages will need to be calculated. Damages to vehicles can be handled using several different methods that include:
Direct Repair Shops
– Appraising Damages
Sometimes, if vehicle damages are minimal, the company intending to pay for the damages will request that the owner obtains two or three estimates. Payment can be made based on the lower of the estimates provided the estimates reflect the same repairs, and there is not a huge difference in the pricing.
It is also not uncommon for estimates to be sent to an estimate review vendor. This vendor will obtain an agreed price with one of the body shops. The damaged party can use any body shop as long as the body shop agrees to complete the work for the agreed price as determined by the estimate review company.
Appraisers are also used to determine vehicular damages. Appraisers have an extensive knowledge of vehicle repairs, use special software in conjunction, and a vehicle inspection to write an estimate.
They are also able to write supplemental estimates should additional damage be found after the vehicle is torn down.
– Total Loss
If a vehicle is a total loss, appraisers can determine the actual cash value of the vehicle, which will include additions for upgrades to the vehicle as well as deductions for prior damage or wear and tear that is greater than would be expected for a particular vehicle.
Some insurance carriers have direct repair shops. These body shops have an agreement with various insurance carriers. On-site personnel write estimates at the shop and coordinate with insurance carriers concerning repairs to be done and the cost of the repairs.
The advantage to direct repair shops is these facilities result in one stop for the vehicle owner since both the body shop and the insurance company are present on site. Some repair businesses even have a car rental agency on site to expedite the pickup and dropoff of substitution transportation.
– Property Damage
If damage occurs to physical property such as buildings, estimates may be requested. If the damage is severe, some insurers will send out a Property Specialist or Large Loss Adjuster to determine the damages and assist in coordinating the repairs.
– Bodily Injury
Finally, if a bodily injury investigation is warranted, an adjuster will evaluate medical records, lost wages, expert reports, impairments, future earning capacity and a host of other items that can affect the value of a bodily injury claim before attempting to resolve the claim with the injured party.
Resolving an insurance claim is a process. Liability must be determined, so the party responsible for the damages is the party paying for the damages. Coverage must be verified, so the parties are paid what they are owed. Finally, damages must be determined, so claims are fully resolved.
As a vehicle owner or occupant, you’ll want to be sure your claim gets resolved if you’re in an accident. Carefully comparing the claims handling reputations of insurers and having an understanding of the claims process will put you in a better position to make sure your claims will be resolved and you’ll be back on the road as soon as possible.