Alabama's 'Act of God' rule provides some protection for storm-r - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Alabama's 'Act of God' rule provides some protection for storm-related wrecks

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Cars lined U.S. 280 during the winter storm last week. Source: WBRC video Cars lined U.S. 280 during the winter storm last week. Source: WBRC video
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Watching your car slam into another vehicle is the first sight that stops your heart. Then comes the concerns that your car insurance rates may go up.

The good news: Alabama's "Act of God" rule prohibits insurance companies from cancelling or not renewing your policy due to a weather-related accident.

"The insurance company is also prohibited from raising the policy holder's premiums at the next renewal due to the weather-related cause," says Charles Angell, Deputy Commissioner of Alabama's Department of Insurance.

But there's also news you may not want to hear. Every year insurance companies file for new rates. This year, their claims data will include all of the accidents that happened during that late January snow storm.

"So there's a possibility....the insurance companies may have to increase their basic rates across the board," Angell says.

Keep in mind, companies must use three years' worth of data to determine their rates. So that may help diminish the impact. Angell also says his department will make sure there is no price gouging.

"We don't allow any insurance company to raise rates any more than what their claim stats show," Angell stresses.

Even though the "Act of God" clause keeps companies from raising your rates, they do have the authority to revoke your "claims free" discount if you have one. It will take about six months for companies to submit the data that includes storm claims.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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