Storm chasers drove into a tornado on purpose

Discussion in 'Weather In The News' started by Randy Jennings, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Matt Hunt

    Matt Hunt EF3

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    I think we've already beat this dead horse enough. Every year the subject of regulations and increased enforcement from LEO's comes up, but the number of chasers actually ticketed vs. the total chasers and total storm days is minuscule. This is nothing more than speculation that's never likely to come to fruition. There are many chases where I never even see an LEO.

    As far as sponsorships, well I'm sure some companies won't like it, but others will love it. Look at what sells and what goes viral these days. Not just in chasing, but in anything.

    And if I owned a rental car company I wouldn't want to rent to chasers, or at the very least cover their hail damage. Because, duh! That one should be a no-brainer. Can't even be mad about that.

    That being said, I do just chase for fun. I'm not out there for money or fame, or anything else other than to witness and enjoy the beauty and power of Mother Nature. And I follow all the laws, aside from the speed limit, but I don't follow that in normal every day driving anyway, so that's no different.
     
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  2. Justin Hassie

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    When you rent a vehicle, your own auto insurance is primary, even if you buy their damage waiver. All the waiver does is pays your deductible. Your insurance will end up paying for the damage to the rental whether it be hail, wind, or collision. The only way they can possibly deny the claim is if you're operating as a representative of a company (TWC, local news, etc.), and even then it's difficult. Most likely if they find out you use the vehicle for chasing they'll re-evaluate their risk and raise your rates or drop you when your policy runs out. I work for a major auto insurer for my day job, over 10 years.
     
  3. Ben Holcomb

    Ben Holcomb Digital Janitor
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    Well considering he was a mod on this forum for a couple years, I guess you must live under a rock.

    Not true. The Loss Damage Waiver becomes primary and you don't even need auto insurance at that point - That's why its so expensive.
     
  4. Raymond Mason

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    You know, this brings back memories of a guy called "Whirlpool Hit man"

    He posted videos of him swimming in ocean whirlpools while recording the whole thing. I thought what he was doing was insanely dangerous, and it was. Then five videos later, he stopped posting and later found out a whirlpool that he was swimming in ended up sucking him down.

    You could have one or even two weak tornadoes where you can "get away" with this. However, I learned from whirlpool hit man that mother nature does not mess around and she doesn't care who gets in the way. Even with a tornado intercept vehicle, whirl pool hit man scared me from attempting to do anything like that and i hope it teaches others about dangerously close encounters. (like in the video)
     
    #29 Raymond Mason, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  5. Justin Hassie

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    No disrespect, but that is not correct. Your own insurance is always always always primary. I've handled the claims myself many many times and had to explain this many many times. The reason it's so expensive is IF you don't have any insurance, it will cover the rental vehicle. They don't explain this when you rent, and more often than not the rental company employees at the rental counter don't have a clue on how the claims are handled or how insurance works. They will tell you that your insurance isn't affected but when it gets to the claims office, it's a different story. It's fine if you don't believe me, but again, I'm speaking from over 10 years of claims handling experience.

    Edit: I will say that most of the rental claims I have seen are from Enterprise and Hertz. Other rental companies may have different rules associated with their waivers. Also, technically the damage waiver isn't insurance, and it doesn't cover everything your own auto insurance covers. For example, most damage waivers don't cover animal impacts. The waiver is just them agreeing not to pursue the renter directly should the vehicle be damaged. Again, there are many exclusions. Read the contract carefully if you decide to get it. I never buy them.
     
    #30 Justin Hassie, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  6. Warren Faidley

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    Chasers will not police each other. Too many enjoy the entertainment value of reckless chasing. I've have ex-friends who worship, defend, participate and rejoice in it. Some still think the fake chase stuff was real, just like masked wrestling - although I'm not aware of any peer-reviewed, accepted, published scientific paper of said chase "research." This conversation has come up several times to no avail. I've interviewed LEO, chasers, spotters, etc., and written several editorials about this. This could have been nipped in the bud 7-8 years ago, while "the cancer within" was still contained. Many veteran chasers did not want to rock the boat, with the exception of smart and courageous guys like Doswell. Because nothing was done, the offender(s) lunacy was accepted as legitimate. I hate to say I told you so, especially after such a tragedy, but mark my word, this is only the tip of the ice burg. Reckless chasing and circus antics are now a form of chasing -- to stay.
     
  7. rdale

    rdale EF5

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    No, disrespect or not, you're wrong :) When you get full loss damage, their insurance is primary - secondary - and whatever-else-ery you want to add in :)

    https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/productservice/index.jsp?targetPage=USHowProtectedAreYou.jsp#ldw

    What Protection Does LDW Offer?
    By accepting LDW, you will be relieved of all financial responsibility for loss or damage to the rental car, whether or not you have insurance to cover such damage. In order for LDW to be applied to any damage claims, you must properly report the related incident in accordance with the Rental Agreement.
     
  8. Justin Hassie

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    Read the contract if you get it. :)
     
  9. Warren Faidley

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    The full LDW does not cover intentional damage. Driving a rental into a hail core by a chaser is intentional, negligent damage. Every contract I've seen forbids negligent use of the vehicle. I've never seen a contract that says "Storm Chasing is Exempted." Insurance companies do not just say: "Oh.... sorry the car was totaled by hail, have a nice day." You may walk away with a smile but I know of chasers and media outlets who received a monster bill from the rental company -- or their own insurance company become involved. (Not good). Severely damaged or totaled vehicles are investigated by the underwriters. Most modern rental vehicles have GPS tracking and computers that read out the driver's history and track while using the vehicle.

    I also consulted a family attorney who handles motor vehicle claims. Many rental company contracts will require you to pay the first $3,000 of a LDW claim. I know of a chaser who recently had this issue. Most LWD contracts note the following: LWD is void if the vehicle is used: A: "IN A WANTON OR RECKLESS MANNER OR IF VEHICLE IS DELIBERATELY DAMAGED." B: "IF RENTER MISREPRESENTS FACTS TO OWNER PERTAINING TO RENTAL, USE, OR OPERATION OF VEHICLE." C: "IF RENTER FAILS OR REFUSES TO PROVIDE OWNER, POLICE, OR OTHER AUTHORITIES WITH A FULL REPORT OF ANY ACCIDENT OR VANDALISM INVOLVING VEHICLE." (This does include storm damage, so you HAVE to file a report).

    In addition, if you are stupid enough to distribute live footage while using the vehicle -- you are asking for trouble. There are a few chasers and non chasers who now watch for and report such abuse. I don't do it, but trust me, it's being done. I know of people who watch every live clip now seeking out negligent behavior. You could also be charged with criminal damage, e.g, vandalism if you try to falsify the damage report.

    Years ago, this was not an issue. I know of chasers who turned in totaled vehicles and that was it. Now days, rental car companies are not willing to let it go.

    So when people ask you what damage idiotic chasing has done to the chasing community, here you go.
     
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  10. rdale

    rdale EF5

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    I didn't realize intentional damage was being discussed, I thought it was just the LDW itself. Of course intentional damage is not covered by anything... I have unintentionally damaged a car with the LDW and can absolutely guarantee my insurance company was not involved.
     
  11. Matt Hunt

    Matt Hunt EF3

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    I agree, and I don't think any sort of policing is going to change anything. Certainly not when people are calling them idiots, morons, etc. Policing that does occur needs to be conducted in a respectful, tactful manner with the expression of the concerns of the potential backlash to the behavior.

    I'm far more upset about the running of stop signs. To me, if someone wants to risk their own life by driving into, or very close to tornadoes, that is their decision. There are all sorts of extreme sports where people die regularly, and the participants are aware of the risks they're taking. But when your behavior puts others' lives at risk, who are doing nothing wrong, or risky, then that's an issue, for sure.
     
  12. Brian Brachel

    Brian Brachel Lurker

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    I'm not a conspiracy kinda guy. Insurers are in it for the money. It's a business. Why do you think we have some of the Laws we do? When chasers start becoming insurance money holes, trust me, regulations will follow.


    Sent from my iPhone using Stormtrack
     
  13. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Regulations: probably never. Insurance companies excluding chasing from coverage and/or jacking up premiums: more likely.

    This is the reason I don't claim any storm damage on my insurance. Not one claim in 25 years of chasing, and all of my vehicles have been copiously dented. If you're making hail claims all the time, I would imagine that would affect your insurability/premiums in the eyes of an underwriter - but then again, I'm no insurance expert.

    Consider the implications if other activities were viewed in the same way as everyone's getting all up in arms regarding chasing. Off roading, skiing, etc. There is more of a case to be made for questionable insurability for choosing to drive during a snowstorm. I know people who have wrecked their cars 3 times in snow. My chasing has never cost my insurance company a dime, and I am sure the same could be said for 90% of chasers. A few who abuse the system with hail/window claims every year could more than adequately be dealt with on an individual level instead of sweeping consequences for everyone.
     
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  14. JamesCaruso

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    I had some hail damage once, got charged by the rental company (no LDW), and my then-insurance company (Allstate) wouldn't cover it. I didn't fight it because my credit card had insurance that covered it.



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  15. JamesCaruso

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    Yeah Hertz was the one that came after me. It was just windshield damage, which pissed me off because that could have happened in their own parking lot, even I have an insurance policy for free windshield replacement, I've got to believe they have similar policies so why did they have to come after me for $635? I stopped using them after that for anything, business or personal. Now I use Avis and have never had an issue with them (not that I make it a habit to get hail damage, but it did happen once, plus the car was filled inside with mud after we got caught in a ditch - they didn't even hit me with so much as an excess cleaning charge). I never take the LDW, mainly because my credit card provides the necessary coverage as one of its benefits - everybody on here should figure out whether their credit card provides this.




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  16. Randy Jennings

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  17. joel ewing

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    Report it to insurance companies, report it to rental car companies, sponsors, employers, law enforcement????? Gee....how about just minding your own business. Hey, how 'bout reporting it to the newly elected Chaser Safety Czar while we're at it? Where are we again......America or Nazi Germany?
     
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  18. Bruce Torrens

    Bruce Torrens Lurker

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    Storm (tornado) chasing in itself in incredibly inherently risky with road hazards/mud/hydroplaning alone, without introducing the risk of tornadic winds highly into the equation. If this behavior keeps up, the law is gonna chomp down on storm chasing, like they did cruising back in one of my towns. We're already minus 6 or minus 7 in the storm chasing world since 2013. I'm tired of seeing that number change due to personal foolishness.
     
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  19. Bob Schafer

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    I have driven through tornadoes 4 times. Every time was accidental. 030405, 100616, 110521, and 150604. Every one was weak. The strongest of the 4 probably had winds of around 80-90 mph, and caused me no grief. You should rightly be saying "So what?" I have no good answer for that question. I only post this because this whole thread makes me think that maybe there are some of you who need to chill a bit.
     
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  20. ELY M.

    ELY M. EF0

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    I know bart for years and loved his videos. I feel that it was his choice to drive into a weak tornado. I would might do same lol. I have done that in Iowa years ago.
    My father live in Lena, LA. He just told me that he saw the black car and tornado. he drives on i49 all of the time.
    I gave him all of the Lena tornado video links. .
     
  21. John Bowles

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    Intentionally driving into a tornado can certainly put others at risk - if you guess wrong on "Oh we knew the tornado was weak", EMS now needs to respond - potentially putting themselves in the way of more storms, and drawing resources away from impacted areas.
     
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  22. joel ewing

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    I could not agree more with you, Bob (and btw, how's it going, bud!). Some people just need to chill. Sighhhh. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in now....everybody wants to be the activist who...."makes the world a better place". If one is so strongly compelled to make the chasing world "a better place" by turning in your fellow chasers to law enforcement, by reporting them to rental car agencies, by reporting them to their employers (are you kidding me??), then I honestly believe you're a chaser that needs some serious couch time with a trained psychiatrist to help ease the emotional turbulence within you.
    As Matt Hunt stated earlier in this discussion, this is a tired horse that has been beaten to death...year in and year out. We should call this the "Groundhog Day" discussion.
     
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  23. Matthew Welk

    Matthew Welk Lurker

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    My farts are more powerful than that tornado......

    Sent from my SM-G900T using Stormtrack mobile app
     

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