Ohio Storms Damage More Than 15,000 Cars. Is Yours Covered?

Storm Warning Sign

For about six days earlier this summer, Ohio was hit hard by storms that caused extensive damage to property and an estimated $433 million in insured damages, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII). Five Ohio deaths are blamed on the storm. According to OII president Dan Kelso, it was the eighth major natural disaster to hit Ohio since 2011.

These were no regular storms. The “derecho” storms—long-lasting storms that go in a straight line with severe thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service—lasted from June 28 to July 4. (“Derecho” is derived from the Spanish word for straight.) And while Ohio had the highest dollar loss estimates, according to a Property Claim Services (PCS) report, the storm also hit Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Washington D.C., and other places, causing an estimated $1.125 billion in overall damages.

According to the OII, the number of storm-related claims in Ohio was between 96,725 and 107,300. Of those claims, 15,605 were to cars with a total loss estimate of around $34.4 million, according to OII. However, Kelso notes in a written statement that “Not all insurance companies are represented by OII’s survey or PCS findings. Final losses will likely be higher than these preliminary estimates.”

Many Storm Damages May Have Gone Uncovered

The average car insurance claim size was around $2,190 from the storm, which would have put a serious dent in the average family’s finances if they hadn’t had coverage.

But it’s important to remember that the statistics only represent losses for people with proper insurance that covered the storm damages. It’s unknown how many people had damages but were not covered because they lacked insurance, although due to the severity of the storm and how widespread it was the number is probably substantial.

For those wishing to make sure that they are covered for future storm damages, comprehensive coverage is the only part of a vehicle insurance policy that will cover such repairs. It’s an optional coverage that covers things like damages from flooding and high winds and basically applies in all situations where the insured car was needs repairs due to an incident other than a car accident.

While many don’t get it, you can see that in a situation like this, it can be useful to have. The cost varies depending on the insurer, the type of car being insured, where you live, and what size deductible you choose, so check prices from a couple online auto insurance comparison sites if you are interested in getting it.

When damages happen in these situations, OII reminds people that “expenses incurred out of pocket can be claimed as a loss on your 2011 federal income taxes due to Ohio’s federal disaster declaration.” That federal disaster declaration is key, so don’t think you can always claim out-of-pocket expenses from a storm on your federal tax return.  If you have any questions on that, check with a tax specialist.

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