Online Auto Insurance: W.Va. Report Highlights Value of Comprehensive Coverage

November 01, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
While a new report from West Virginia regulators that shows a drop in deer-vehicle accident claims sounds like good news for motorists in that state, drivers should still make sure they have the right type of low cost auto insurance to cover damages caused by crashing into an animal, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).

That's because the report includes data on only those crashes that prompted motorists to file claims under the comprehensive portion of their vehicle policies.

Insurers in the Mountain State paid out $52.1 million to settle those claims in 2010, according to the report, released last week by the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner.


But because comprehensive coverage is optional in most cases, the report omits information on accidents involving drivers who did not opt for that coverage and so cannot file such claims.

According to State Farm reports based on the company's claims data, West Virginia drivers are 75 percent more likely than the national average to encounter a deer on the roadway.

And comprehensive coverage is the only kind that pays for losses stemming from accidents where the driver hits an animal, which means that choosing not to buy comprehensive can cost you plenty if you have the bad fortune to run into a deer or other critter.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that there are more than 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions nationwide every year, resulting in 150 deaths, tens of thousands of injuries and well over $3 billion in vehicle damage.

Another $1 billion is spent on medical payment for injuries sustained in those crashes and on out-of-pocket costs paid by vehicle owners, according to III.

In view of those figures, OAI advises motorists in West Virginia and other states to consider spending a little extra on policies that include comprehensive coverage, which is not required by law.

In addition to paying for damages caused by run-ins with wild animals, comprehensive also pays for losses including those resulting from fire, storms, theft and vandalism.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average premium for comprehensive coverage in 2008 was $167 in West Virginia and $133 nationally, though the actual price will vary greatly depending on the car type and the deductible level.

To learn more about this and other coverage issues, readers can go to where they will find informative resource pages and a rate-comparison generator that can quickly evaluate their coverage options.