April 30, 2010

Allstate Experiences Spike In Texas Weather Auto Insurance Claims

Allstate Insurance reported on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 that its storm-related auto insurance claims in Texas increased 50 percent in 2009. The company is the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer and the 2nd largest auto insurer in Texas.

The cause for the increase in auto insurance claims was said to be severe weather, including: floods, wind, and hail. Texas experienced 2.45 billion dollars in catastrophe losses in 2009, the worst in the United States. Total catastrophe losses in the nation were reported at $10.57 billion.

The cities with the largest auto insurance claims from 2008 through 2009 were El Paso, with an increase of 2,613 percent; Lubbock, which spiked 1,849 percent; and Houston, which rose 857 percent. Major increases also occurred in Beaumont, which jumped 533 percent; San Antonio, which rose 302 percent; Midland-Odessa, which experienced a 102 percent increase; and Corpus Cristi, which elevated 93 percent.

Still, despite the extreme weather, Allstate said that some Texas cities actually experienced a decline in auto-related claims during the period. They include Tyler Longview, which plummeted 91 percent; Waco-Temple-Killeen, which dropped 89 percent; Amarillo, which fell 56 percent; and Abilene, which dipped 36 percent.

The major causes of weather-related damage to a car are storms, hail, and floods. Damage to a car during extreme conditions can be minimized or even eliminated if the owner takes precautions. For example:

Clean out your garage before a storm. Remember where water has risen in your neighborhood during prior storms and then don’t park in those areas.

Park your car in a garage before a hail storm. If you are unable to do this, then after a hail storm, check your car for dents and broken glass and clean away the glass from the interior to prevent possible damage to upholstery and fabrics. Wash the dirt off the vehicle before inspection to make it easier for the claim representative to see the damage.

After a flood, open the doors and windows to air out the vehicle

Remove items from the floor of the vehicle to give yourself space to blot out the excess water.

Don’t start your car after a flood. The water that could still remain on the car could cause electrical damage or cause some other dangerous condition.

Take pictures of any damages that you can present to the claim representative. Anything you feel is vital to the claim should be taken to the agent.

Monthly rainfall records caused by storms in March occurred in New York City; Boston, Massachusetts; and Providence, Rhode Island, which contributed to a rise in Allstate’s catastrophe auto insurance costs in the first quarter of 2010. Costs jumped to $648 million from $516 million during the same period last year.