Storm chasers and car insurance...

I don't mean to open a can of worms here, but I have some questions regarding auto insurance and storm chaser's vehicles. My personal philosophy is to use only an older vehicle that is already hail-beaten (since I happen to have as a result of the baseballs we got here in Kearney a few years ago).

However, I have observed that chasers in general run some pretty nice vehicles, which are presumably insured for hail. I would think that it is only a matter of time (or a number of claims) before a red flag is raised with insurance companies. When that day comes (if it hasn't already) is it going to be a good idea to be identified on a storm chasing forum using our real names? We make it pretty easy to identify ourselves with the Stormtrack Memberlist.

Even someone like me who uses an old vehicle with no comprehensive coverage for chasing is probably going to be looked at suspiciously if I come in with hail that I got on a trip (as happened last year with my "good" car).

Am I being paranoid? Has anyone had to deal with increasing rates for being a storm chaser or had to sign a particular rider?

(I won't even go into the whole subject of rental vehicles for storm chasing.)

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
 
Depends on the insurance company. I worked at a private sector company for several years doing hail verification for people that needed it (insurance companies and roofers/contractors typically).

Hail fraud is very rampant in the insurance community.. especially with people getting a new home owners policy, then trying to write off hail from a previous period when a new thunderstorm passes over their house.

We also had several customers that solely dealt with auto insurance... so I know they are at least doing background checks on suspicious claims. It is really hit and miss with the company... even within the companies... there is a large diversity of knowledge about storms with agents .

My suggestion is don't lie about the location... and just give as much info as needed. You might be looking for a new policy if they find out you storm chase and you start racking up the claims... (I've heard most let it slide the first claim... anyone want to share their own experience?)

Aaron
 
Darren,

As a former claim rep, I never questioned how the hail damage occurred as long as the story was consistant with a known weather event. I do know that boat insurance tends to be higher for those that participate in tournaments, but I've not heard of higher rates for storm chasers most likely because insurance companies and their underwriters don't tend to consider that type of activity. The only thing that might cause a problem with rates would be a high number of comp claims for hail damage. Even then, they would only require you to either raise your deductible or drop the comp coverage altogether. I don't think insurance companies have the resources or time to really be concerned about whether a policyholder is a storm chaser or not.
 
It probably is not as big a problem as you think. In the grand scheme of things there really aren't that many storm chasers. If a big hail storm sweeps across the Dallas Metro it could wreck tens of thousands of cars. A few storm chasers every now and then is well within their calculated risk.

Its certainly something to talk about, but I don't think the entire insurance industry is hot on the tail of storm chasers. People have other hobbies which involve doing a lot worse things to their cars. For every 1,000 storm chasers there are probably 100,000 people who have devoted themselves to drag racing in the streets.

Also, once you make a big insurance claim on your car for hail damage your rates are going to go up. That's not something I'd want to be doing every year.
 
Originally posted by B Ozanne
It probably is not as big a problem as you think. In the grand scheme of things there really aren't that many storm chasers. If a big hail storm sweeps across the Dallas Metro it could wreck tens of thousands of cars. A few storm chasers every now and then is well within their calculated risk.

Its certainly something to talk about, but I don't think the entire insurance industry is hot on the tail of storm chasers. People have other hobbies which involve doing a lot worse things to their cars. For every 1,000 storm chasers there are probably 100,000 people who have devoted themselves to drag racing in the streets.

Also, once you make a big insurance claim on your car for hail damage your rates are going to go up. That's not something I'd want to be doing every year.

Actually Bill, most insurance companies don't adjust rates for comp coverage on a per policy basis. They're adjusted on a regional basis as a result of a given event. Collision coverage, however, is based upon the driving record and accident history of the individual. An at-fault accident would likely cause an individual policy premium to increase depending on their history with the company.
 
Auto insurance and hail damage

I drive a 94 Chevy Lumina with 220,000 mostly highway miles. It has plenty of dings on it but still looks "nice". I have never filed an insurance claim for hail damage to my chase vehicle and dont carry full covereage, the insurance would cost more than the car is worth! I recommend to anyone who likes hail cores etc. to by a cheap car, slap on a couple of hail shields for the windows, some liability insurance (must have liability in most states) and go get some footage! The hail dings on our car I consider to be "battle scars".lol
 
You put your vehicle at far greater risk of being totalled just taking it out on the road every day than you do chasing storms. Especially if you live in a major metro area.

Anyway, in Texas, the law won't let them cancel you or raise your premiums for weather related damage.
 
I am glad someone started this thead. I have been wondering about this very topic.

Where does one get info on hail shields for windshields?

Thanks
 
:D
The hail dings on our car I consider to be \"battle scars\"

Thats my attitued exactly. My chase truck has many small dents and one swimming pool sized dent right in the middle of the hood from the Hallam storm. I have never filed a claim for anything storm related, although I will if I loose the windshield. I dont really care about the loss of value of the truck as I usually drive my autos untill they dont run anymore anyway. I feel it gives it character.

Dennis
 
Originally posted by beaudodson
I am glad someone started this thead. I have been wondering about this very topic.

Where does one get info on hail shields for windshields?

Thanks

You basically imagineer them out of something to fit your vehicle unless you got a lot of money to give to a welder. :wink:
 
I filed my first ever insurance claim this week from the damage I got on the 12th. I've been driving for 20+ years and chased in this vehicle since April of 1999 and have managed to avoid both accidents and damaging hail until the 12th. I don't feel like I took any greater risk on that day than any other chase day, what happened just happened.
The insurance appraiser came today to look at my vehicle. He never asked why I was in Texas. He was originally from Amarillo so he knew the area around South Plains. He told me he would try to keep the vehicle from being totaled, but it was borderline. His only comment on the damage was that he could tell I had tried to shield the vehicle by the pattern of the damage.
My plan, if it is totaled, is to buy it back from them, fix the windows, and use it only as a chase vehicle, carrying only liability insurance and living with the dents. I'll use the leftover money to buy a fuel efficient car for school and work. At least that’s my plan for today.

I'd be curious how many people have made insurance claims, not just from storm damage but from theft, accidents they caused, etc
My claim count as of today: 1
Therefore, I will not feel guilty about using an insured vehicle for storm chasing. That being said, I think anyone who purposefully drives into hail for the thrill of it relying on insurance to take care of the damage SHOULD feel guilty. This includes rental vehicles.
 
My suggestion is don't lie about the location...

Couldn't agree more with Aaron on this point. Honesty is without question the best policy in this case. If you carry comp coverage, you are entitled to file a claim. Only if you intentionally cause damage to your vehicle (which no sensible storm chaser would do) should you be concerned about a fraudulent situation.

Therefore, I will not feel guilty about using an insured vehicle for storm chasing.

J.R., no reason at all for you to feel guilty given the circumstances. Given the situation, I think you and everyone else that got hammered certainly chose the lesser of two evils....
 
Back
Top