Auto coverage applies in snow emergencies

FOR RELEASE: January 30, 2009

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) provides the following clarification regarding coverage for auto insurance policyholders involved in a crash during snow emergencies, especially during Level 2 and 3 emergencies. Also provided is a link to information on the three levels of snow emergencies and Ohio law.

Emergency classification details and Ohio law pertaining to snow emergencies online at: www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/SnowEmergencyClassifications.aspx

Snow emergency levels and enforcement
LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Drive cautiously.

LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.

LEVEL 3: Roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. Employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. During a Level 3 emergency, drivers may be subject to arrest and/or fines.

When a Level 2 or 3 is issued, motorists are advised to seek public transportation. In a Level 3 emergency, conditions are not safe and driving is limited to emergency personnel and personal emergencies. One purpose for issuing a Level 3 snow emergency is to enable snow removal equipment to adequately clear roadways without the obstacle of motorists. Citations could be issued for reckless or unnecessary driving during a Level 3 emergency.

Auto insurance coverage in snow emergencies
Based on a survey of Ohio auto insurers, insurance coverage applies to an insured involved in a crash during declared snow emergencies. OII is unaware of any insurance company denying or limiting coverage based on weather conditions, including snow emergencies.

About the OII
The OII is a trade association representing insurance companies and agent groups for the property/casualty insurance industry. Its primary objective is to help Ohioans achieve a better understanding of insurance and safety issues.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
OII Storm Guide
Snowy sidewalks & OH law