Another gift to us from Harvey.
Auto insurance companies have restricted options for Houston-area drivers looking to purchase new policies and replace cars flooded by Hurricane Harvey, and comprehensive rates are expected to rise after the loss of an estimated half-million vehicles.
Some carriers have imposed temporary limits on selling insurance to customers in Harvey’s path, hesitant to assume new risk even as floodwaters recede. Experts expect longer-term changes as carriers reassess their rates after a spate of intense storms across the state.
“Look at our most recent history,” said Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. “This the third flood you’ve had affecting tens of thousands of vehicles, and that’s had a huge impact on comprehensive coverage.”
The Texas Department of Insurance is working to determine the number of carriers that have taken similar approaches after the storm. Spokesman Jerry Hagins said most companies have in the past resumed normal operations within three days after a major storm, but Harvey’s magnitude appears to have changed their approach.
“It’s still a very fluid situation,” he said. “There are some things that aren’t typical about the industry response.”
Hard to argue with the proposition that the risks of car ownership are higher now than they were before. I wonder how much of this will filter down to the neighborhood level, or even the block level – that is, if your house hasn’t flooded, will your car insurance rates rise? Wouldn’t surprise me. This is the world we live in now.