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Winter driving hazards and insurance coverage

Dangers abound in winter driving conditions, particularly during heavy rainstorms. When traffic risks are high, Florida drivers want to know that their insurance companies will act in good faith to cover car repairs, medical expenses and other costs that may be accrued after an accident.

According to USA Today, federal data have shown that although ice and snow make for unsafe driving conditions, rain is a primary culprit in winter traffic accidents. Rainfall tends to impair visibility and make roads slick, particularly when there is a residue of oil on the pavement. In the majority of states, including those in the South, rain is a much more common weather event than snow and contributes significantly to the approximately 7,000 traffic fatalities that occur annually nationwide.

People who have been involved in a winter crash should be able to rely on their insurance companies to mitigate the costs, particularly if they were in no way at fault for the accident. Having an insurance claim delayed or denied in bad faith can be a costly, traumatizing experience. Fortunately, Florida’s legal statues offer protection from bad faith actors. The Florida Legislature specifies three damaging insurance company actions that may justify a civil suit.

First, an insurer may be considered to have damaged the insured or any beneficiaries if it does indeed provide claims payments but fails to identify to which insurance policy the payments apply. A second scenario occurs when a settlement is clearly due but the insurance provider wishes to affect settlements specified in one section of an insurance policy. To accomplish this, the insurer may fail to settle claims under another section of the insurance policy within a reasonable period of time. Third, parties have reasonable cause to bring civil action if their insurance company has not tried to settle claims honestly, fairly and in good faith.

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