Online Auto Insurance: Billions in Weather Damages Should Prompt Evaluation of Coverage

Sep 19, 2011, 08:00 ET from Online Auto Insurance

NEW YORK, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With federal officials announcing Friday that fires, floods, tornadoes and tropical storms have racked up more than $35 billion in economic costs nationwide so far this year, Online Auto Insurance (OAI) advises consumers to make sure they are covered for losses due to natural disasters, which can threaten any region.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports the U.S. has suffered through nine catastrophic weather events in 2011, each entailing economic losses of $1 billion or more. The NOAA estimates do not include damages from Irene, which industry experts have said could be as high as $5 billion.


According to OAI, those statistics should serve as a warning to consumers looking for homeowner coverage or making an auto insurance comparison online, since only certain types of coverages protect against weather-related losses.

The NOAA announcement is the latest attempt to quantify insured losses so far for 2011, which experts say is turning out to be a particularly expensive year in terms of property damage. Along with their threat to life and limb, catastrophic weather events also imperil personal property including vehicles and homes.

OAI encourages consumers nationwide to make sure their auto policies for relatively new vehicles include comprehensive coverage, the only type of car coverage that protects against weather-related damages.

Comprehensive coverage is not legally required in any state and will cost a little extra, but it is the only way to adequately insure vehicles against flood or fire damage, according to Insurance Information Institute.

Some other recent damage estimates:

--The Insurance Council of Texas says losses from the wildfires raging across that state since Labor Day could total $250 million.

--Disaster modeling company Risk Management Solutions estimated insured losses from Irene at between $2 billion and $4.5 billion for the United States and at as much as another $1 billion for the Caribbean.

--Catastrophe losses for the first half of 2011—which do not include recent events such as tropical storms Irene and Lee—total $27 billion, according to credit rating agency A.M. Best.

--A Munich Re report on natural disasters nationwide during the first half of the year put losses from thunderstorms, winter storms and wildfires at nearly $18 billion.

To read more about this and other coverage issues, go to where you will find informative resource pages and a free-to-use quote-comparison generator that consumers can use to get sample premiums for many vehicle makes and models.

SOURCE Online Auto Insurance