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In good times and bad, risk is in the eye of the insurer p2

Mon Dec 14th, 2015 on     Insurance Claims,    

Try not to get too excited about a hurricane-free 2015, Florida. Chances are your property insurance premiums will not know the difference. Nor, for that matter, will your auto insurance rates respond to the news that we are not the worst drivers in the country.

What insurance companies are looking for is risk. They know, for example, that not having hurricanes is not the same as not having dangerous weather that results in property damage. They know, too, that the good overall score Florida earned from CarInsuranceCompare.com does not tell the whole story.

We said in our last post that the state did fairly well two of the five categories analyzed. Fewer fatal crashes were related to speeding, and fewer people died because they were not wearing their seat belts. That’s good, especially since the latter includes infants and children using the appropriate safety systems.

But.

We were in the bottom 20 for alcohol-related fatal crashes — even though the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that the number of drunk driving deaths decreased by 4.6 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Most importantly for insurance companies, we were the absolute worst in careless driving, the percentage of pedestrian and bicyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents per 100,000 population. The state backed up this finding: Pedestrian deaths increased more than 20 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Insurance rates are also affected by the state’s experience with auto insurance fraud, the number of uninsured drivers and the costs and frequency of personal injury, wrongful death and other accident-related litigation. It all adds up to the state’s drivers being pretty bad risks for insurers.

When it comes to property insurance, the bottom line is not based on how many hurricanes we have had but how much damage from serious storms, freezes and other weather phenomena — and, according to ValuePenguin.com, theft. Florida may have escaped Hurricane Ana, but talk to Tampa about Tropical Storm Erika.

What are we left with? Well, Florida drivers are not the worst, though they take foolish risks. And Florida is not the most weather-ravaged place — even if we do tend to live too close to the water. That, however, is another post.

Source: Palm Beach Post, “Wait, Florida drivers not Top 10 worst? We pay fourth-most to insure,” Charles Elmore, Dec. 1, 2015

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