Insurers covering vehicles in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey expect hundreds of thousands of claims.
Auto insurance claims have already started filing in as a result of Hurricane Harvey, but despite the high numbers, they’re just getting started.
Insurance companies throughout the affected regions are bracing for hundreds of thousands more.
In fact, as of last Thursday, the 100,000 mark had already been passed. “We do know that approximately 100,000 claims have come in,” said the Insurance Council of Texas manager of governmental and regulatory communications, Matt Stillwell. That trade organization predicts that the number of auto insurance claims in Texas, alone, will be as high as 500,000 due to the storm. “It is looking to be a huge impact on the auto insurance market,” he added.
Auto insurance claims will typically provide coverage for damage resulting from flooding to a vehicle.
While homeowners insurance policies nearly never cover flood damage, car insurance is a different situation. For property owners, separate flood insurance coverage needs to be purchased to be able to make a claim on rising water and overland flooding damage to a home or business. In the case of cars, SUVs, trucks and other vehicles, flooding is often included.
In the case of Hurricane Harvey, this is good news – if you can call it that – for vehicle owners. The reason is that while wind damage is often the top contributor when a hurricane blows through, in the case of the recent catastrophic storm, it was the record breaking, torrential rainfall and flooding that did the damage.
Moreover, the auto insurance claims may be notably higher than they have been from previous storms because of the way the situation played out in Texas. A typical Houston home has two cars. When Hurricane Harvey was headed toward landfall, Mayor Sylvester Turner urged residents to find a safe place to stay and “hunker down.” The reason is that the storm wasn’t expected to pick up as much as it did, and the mayor didn’t want to repeat the traffic disaster from 2005, when hundreds of people were killed in accidents as they fled Hurricane Rita. As a result, most vehicles were at home when the waters rose and covered them.