Why do people only talk about flood insurance and homes? In 2017, Hurricane Harvey flooded an estimated 500,000 cars in the Houston area. With the 2020 hurricane season about to hit, it’s time for drivers to consider comprehensive insurance. In Texas, drivers that had comprehensive insurance in 2017 were glad they did.
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Flood insurance for a car?
Flood insurance that you buy for your home does not cover your car. However, there is insurance that does cover your car. Comprehensive insurance is the type of insurance that covers a vehicle from flood damage. Drivers can easily add comprehensive insurance to their auto insurance policy. This type of insurance is optional if you own your car. Lenders require comprehensive insurance when a car has a loan or on a lease.
According to the insurance council of Texas, roughly 85% of drivers have auto insurance. Of the drivers with insurance, only 75% have comprehensive insurance. This means only 64% of drivers have comprehensive insurance. The remaining 36% of drivers with a flood damaged car due to Hurricane Harvery were on their own. They had to pay to buy a new car or pay for the repairs to their flooded car.
The Cost of no Comprehensive Insurance
In 2017, in the Houston area alone, Hurricane Harvey flooded approximately 500,00 vehicles. 36% with no comprehensive insurance equals 180,000 vehicles flooded with no insurance coverage. Assuming an average value of $10,000, this equates to $1.8 billion in losses for motorists without comprehensive insurance to cover the damage.
Unfortunately, many of the people without insurance are also likely to be those least able to pay to buy a replacement vehicle. Clearly, the damage form Harvey was extensive.
How would vehicle owners with comprehensive insurance fare?
Without doubt, vehicle owners that had comprehensive insurance were better than those without. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean it was an easy claims process. $15,000 per vehicle was used to estimate the insured losses. $15,000 was used as the average value because cars that are worth more are more likely to be insured.
With 500,000 damaged vehicles, this translates into 320,000 damaged vehicles with comprehensive insurance. Multiplying 320,000 times an average value of $15,000 equates to losses of $4.8 billion. While these are losses the industry was certainly capable of withstanding, it’s a large enough number that some insurers would work to minimize their losses. All these factors have an effect on the service consumers can expect.
Which insurers will give customers the hardest time?
At ValChoice, we closely monitor the auto and home insurance industries. Our analysis convincingly shows that publicly traded auto insurance companies provide less value, less protection and a more difficult claims experience than mutual companies.
However, we readily acknowledge, this is a bit of an oversimplification. For example, AIG, Cincinnati Insurance and Chubb Insurance are three of the best insurance companies in the country. This is based on ValChoice analysis. Yet all three are publicly traded.
What this tells us is that finding a good insurance company is not simply a matter of understanding ownership structure. Furthermore, it’s certainly not a matter of liking the companies advertisements. It comes down to the management team and culture of the companies themselves. Reliable measures of insurance quality cannot be found through rumor, web reviews or asking friends. Insurance quality can only be identified through data analysis.
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Consumers Deserve to Know Which Insurers are the Best
At ValChoice we believe that when consumers are mandated by law to buy a product or service, they deserve to know the quality of that service they must buy. This much needed transparency is only recently available for insurance.
Learn what to expect from your insurance company with our free report. Upgrade to the Premium version to get their score on claims handling. The claims handling score is a comparison of how the insurer performs compared to all other insurance companies. Click the button below to get a report card on your insurance company.
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