2022 was a costly year for many motorists due to collisions, weather and distractions. While all automobile insurance claims may not be avoidable, most can be by driving defensively and following simple tips. In addition to reducing the risk of a claim, it’s a good idea for motorists to be aware of the most common claims to avoid paying higher premiums.
“Automobile insurance is important because it provides financial protection in case you or your loved ones are involved in a crash,” said Jonathon King, vice president of insurance sales, AAA East Central. “In addition to collision coverage, auto insurance can also protect you from fire, theft and vandalism.”
AAA East Central reveals the top automobile insurance claims filed by members in 2022:
Rear-end collisions/Fender Benders
A seemingly minor automobile crash in the region can cost almost $7,000 in damage and increase the cost of insurance as well as result in serious injury or death. This type of crash made up 15% of all auto insurance claims AAA East Central processed in 2022. Often these types of crashes are the result of distracted driving.
To avoid being involved in a rear-end collision or fender bender AAA East Central recommends:
Put down the phone. Stay fully focused when driving. Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash. Ask passengers for help or pull over if reading or writing a text message is necessary.
Activate Do Not Disturb. This smart phone feature alerts everyone that the motorist is driving and will respond when they have reached their destination.
Take the pledge. AAA East Central encourages drivers to take the pledge to end distracted driving by visiting aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted.
In 2022, collisions caused by backing up a vehicle, on average, cost more than $1,800 per claim and made up 10% of all auto insurance claims AAA East Central processed. Many of these incidents occur in parking lots or driveways. Drivers should be especially cautious when backing out of a driveway or navigating parking lots during the holidays. Drivers can follow these tips to reduce their risk of being involved in a back-up collision.
Be responsible. Drive slowly and obey all traffic and directional signs.
Don’t rush. Avoid shortcuts such as cutting across parking lanes and rows of parking spots.
Look around. Watch for pedestrians and other vehicles when slowly backing up and do not rely on backup cameras alone.
Pay attention. Be extra alert for small children, pets, and parents pushing baby strollers in parking lots.
Collisions involving animals or fowl made up more than 8% of AAA East Central’s automobile insurance claims in 2022, with an average cost of more than $4,000. Deer collisions can be especially damaging to vehicles and can result in severe injuries to motorists and passengers.
To prevent a crash or to reduce damage from an animal collision, AAA suggests that motorists:
Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
Scan the road and shoulders ahead. Ditching distractions is one of the easiest ways to be ready when a deer suddenly appears.
Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m., prime commuting times for many.
Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. This allows animals to be spotted sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
Resist the urge to swerve. Instead, stay in your lane with both hands firmly on the wheel. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. It can also put motorists in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause them to crash into something.
If a crash is imminent, try not to brake. During hard braking, the front end of the vehicle is pulled downward which can cause the animal to travel up over the hood towards the windshield. Easing off the brake can protect drivers from windshield strikes because the animal is more likely to be pushed to one side of the vehicle or over the top of the vehicle.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 70 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.