MONEY Insurance

The Best and Worst States to Have a Fender Bender

fender bender
Getty Images

Even just one car accident can send your insurance premium soaring, a new survey finds. Especially if you live in Massachusetts, California, or New Jersey.

Filing just a single claim for more than $2,000 after a car accident can raise your auto insurance premium by more than 40% on average, according to a new study by insuranceQuotes.com, and you can expect your premium to nearly double if you file two.

The study looked at insurance premiums for a college-educated, 45-year-old woman who has never filed a claim. For that driver, a bodily injury claim will raise premiums by 45% on average, while a property damage claim will hike them by 41%. However, a comprehensive claim, such as theft or damage from falling objects, will cause only a 2% price increase.

Typically, sharp premium hikes kick in only if the accident is the driver’s fault, the study notes. If the other driver’s policy covers the claim, a policyholder will likely avoid such higher costs.

Because of different regulatory environments, the penalty varies widely depending where you live. In Maryland insurance premiums increase an average of 22% after one accident claim, the lowest hike in the nation. That’s an enviable number for drivers in Massachusetts, where premiums are closely tied to driving records. Bay State residents face a 76% increase, the highest in the nation.

For consumers, the lesson is simple: After a minor accident, you might be better off covering repair costs out of pocket rather than tapping your insurance policy.

“If there are injuries involved, you almost certainly want to file a claim,” says Michael Barry, vice president of media relations for the Insurance Information Institute, adding that bodily injury costs are often five times the payout of a property damage claim. “If it’s a fender bender, you might not want to.”

By dishing out the cash to repair a bumper, you could avoid the long-term financial hit of years worth of higher premiums. (One possible exception: Look at your policy to see if you have accident forgiveness, advises Barry.) You can run the numbers with insuranceQuotes’s “Should I Make a Claim?” calculator.

In these 10 states in particular, you might be better off taking the hit.

States With the Highest Premium Hikes After a Single $2,000 Claim
State Average annual auto premium Average increase
Massachusetts $977 76.3%
California $750 75.4%
New Jersey $1,220 62.4%
North Carolina $611 51.7%
Minnesota $719 47.9%
South Dakota $557 44.8%
Iowa $561 41.6%
New Hampshire $717 39.5%
Washington $810 39.5%
Virginia $692 37.5%

Whereas in these 10 states, a single accident won’t be as costly.​

States With the Lowest Premium Hikes After a Single $2,000 Claim
State Average annual premium Average increase
Maryland $996 21.6%
Michigan $1,049 23.4%
Montana $658 24.6%
Oklahoma $737 24.6%
Mississippi $748 25.9%
Nebraska $617 27.6%
New York $1,152 27.8%
Missouri $684 27.9%
Alabama $659 28.6%
Maine $582 29.1%

Sources: Average premiums via National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC); insuranceQuotes.com.

Though many factors go into determining your premiums, the number and severity of insurance claims is a starting point for insurers, which then factor in variables like your age, driving record, and type of vehicle.

If you live in Detroit, any increase to your premium will add to an already substantial financial burden. According to carInsurance.com, drivers in the 48227 zip code in the Motor City already pay $5,109 annually, the highest average premium in the country. You can check out the website’s car insurance calculator to see how your zip code compares to that of Normal, Ill. (61761), whose residents only pay $827, the lowest in the country.

UPDATE: This post was updated to add more details about the study and to clarify the averages.

TIME Accident

Report: 1 Dead, 1 Injured in Overpass Collapse in Cincinnati

Overpass Collapse
This photo provided by the Cincinnati Fire and EMS, shows the scene following a highway overpass collapse in Cincinnati on Jan. 19, 2015 AP

Witness heard a "real big boom"

(CINCINNATI) — Officials say one person died and another person was injured when a highway overpass collapsed in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Fire Department says the bridge was undergoing demolition at the time of the collapse.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that according to a police dispatch the southbound interstate 75 was closed indefinitely after the collapse of an overpass north of the old Hopple Street bridge.

It happened at about 10:30 p.m. Monday. The newspaper reports at least one tractor trailer was damaged by the collapse.

Fire and EMS officials say one construction worker was killed and a tractor trailer driver was injured.

A witness told WLWT5 that he heard “a real big boom” and then a couple of seconds later he saw police cars rushing to the scene.

TIME Environment

The Nuclear Disaster You Never Heard of

Palomares
The Jan. 17, 1966 catastrophe at Palomares was caused by an accident during the in-flight supplying of a US Air Force B-52 nuclear bomber by a KC-135 of the US Air Force above southern Spain Gamma-Keystone / Getty Images

How the United States whitewashed (literally) a nuclear accident in Spain that still hasn’t been cleaned up

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

This month, with little fanfare, Palomares begins its 50th year as “the most radioactive town in Europe.” If you’ve heard of Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island but are unfamiliar with Palomares, you might wonder why. All appear in Time’s top-ten list of the world’s “worst nuclear disasters.” Palomares moreover has been called the worst nuclear weapons accident in history. So why do so few people outside Spain know about it?

The cover-up and whitewash were figurative, also literal. Though four nuclear bombs were rained on Spain, many vaguely recall a lone “lost” bomb, fished out of the Mediterranean intact.

So what exactly happened? On 17 January 1966, a US Air Force B-52 collided with its refueling plane, killing seven airmen and dropping four hydrogen bombs. Conventional explosives in two detonated on impact with the earth, blowing them to bits and scattering radioactive plutonium—a mutagen and carcinogen—over the farming town of Palomares, population 2000.

English-language journalists, though late on the scene, rushed their books into print, replicating oversights of the rushed cleanup operation and circulating the myth of a single lost bomb. Pioneering female foreign correspondent Flora Lewis screamed One of Our H-Bombs is Missing, borrowing a title from 50s Red Scare pulp fiction. Likewise demonstrating their national allegiances, British reporter Christopher Morris lamented The Day They Lost the H-Bomb and American science writer Barbara Moran, four decades later, decried The Day We Lost the H-Bomb.

Only New York Times correspondent Tad Szulc pluralized the threat with The Bombs of Palomares. He further measured the relative importance of events. “Although the long spectacular search” for the harmless fourth bomb—at the bottom of the Med for eighty days—“was to overshadow the village’s radioactivity problem in [U.S.] public opinion, the contamination was in reality the most significant” calamity. Even so, Szulc’s book, like all the others, gave inordinate attention to the “heroic” sea search and its mesmerizing high-tech submersibles. From Pinewood to Hollywood, Finders Keepers to Men of Honor, moviemakers followed suit, literalizing a single lost bomb, duly found by singer Cliff Richard or actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. (A notable exception: Michael Cacoyannis’s landmark The Day the Fish Came Out.)

So what was of greatest significance in early 1966? In addition to the seven airmen, plus eight more killed in a Palomares supply plane crash, people in Palomares suffered—and still suffer—potentially fatal radioactive exposures. At the time, no was evacuated; no one was officially informed for six weeks. Even then, U.S. Ambassador Angier Duke told the international press corps an unconscionable lie: “This area has gone through no public health hazard of any kind, and no trace whatsoever of radioactivity has ever been found.” Why then were nearly 5000 barrels of hot soil and crops shipped away for burial in South Carolina? Why today is plutonium found throughout the food chain in Palomares? Why is radioactivity evident downwind, in neighboring Villaricos?

Spanish authors and activists have provided answers, along with Israeli feminist Dina Hecht. However, Hecht’s extraordinary documentary film Broken Arrow 29, broadcast by Britain’s Channel 4 on the disaster’s 20th anniversary, has never been aired in the U.S. In the lead-up to the 50th anniversary, January 17, 2016, will Americans continue to cover their ears and avert their eyes?

What do Americans need to know? Of crucial concern, many Spanish injuries, fatalities, and miscarriages have been attributed to the disaster. But the United States government assumed limited liability, paying only property damages averaging $250 per person, accepting no responsibility for loss of life or loss of livelihood. To this day, U.S. authorities provide technical assistance, as they argue over “acceptable levels” of contamination. On her last official visit to Spain as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton repeated the usual platitudes and prevarications, even when informed of a secret U.S. dump discovered in Palomares in 2008.

Like this cover-up, the whitewash was not only figurative but also literal. The military’s 200-page Palomares Summary Report contains one solitary tossed-off sentence about radioactive contamination of local homes, not even referenced as such. Unspecified “buildings,” the report hedges, “were washed but in [some] cases this was not sufficient to lower the contamination level to the acceptable limit, and whitewashing had to be done.” In spineless bureaucratese, these passive verb constructions cloud procedures, obscure U.S. military agency, and naturalize what “had to be done.”

So who did what? Along with townspeople’s testimonies, Department of Defense footage first screened by Hecht helps piece it together, as it inadvertently exposes staggering environmental racism. Just as white officers ordered African American servicemen to shovel contaminants into barrels and launder contaminated uniforms, they likewise instructed a black enlistee with gloves but no mask to take radiation readings of buildings. When homes registered as radioactive, servicemen sprayed them with high-pressure water hoses over and over, damaging walls, roofs, and interiors, and exhausting local water supplies. When the homes still read as radioactive, troops whitewashed them, simply painting the plutonium into the surface of the house.

With a half-life of 24,000 years, the plutonium will long outlast the paint, insuring that children’s and animals’ inevitable scraping, licking, and eating of paint chips—so well-documented around lead-poisoning—will have alarming long-term carcinogenic and mutagenic effects. In years to come, periodic sanding for fresh painting will no doubt re-suspend plutonium particles and increase the probabilities of inhalation and lung cancer. Thus, as I summarized for colleagues at the American Historical Association’s 129th annual meeting, U.S. whitewashing has embedded contamination into the very structures of local communities, the very air of local environments.

What now? As the U.S. dickers over decontamination—not to mention reparations or reconciliation—organizers in Palomares promise openness and honesty, despite all the commercial advantages of keeping quiet. As former mayor Antonia Flores puts it, “Since no one cares a damn about us, we won’t forget.” Strategies of memorialization include street-naming, as with Bombards Street, 17 January 1966 Street, and 17 January 1966 Crossing, where I lived over the winter of 2011-12. I continue to conduct research there.

What do I see? Foremost: Resilience. After U.S. forces stole and depleted local water stocks, citrus groves dried up and died. After the flawed cleanup, six successive tomato harvests failed. After the agricultural economy collapsed, an exodus ensued, the population cut in half. But people bounce back.

As my forthcoming documentary photobook shows, whitewashing is resisted not only in annual protests and commemorations but in everyday practices of working, playing, talking and remembering. Farmers still till the land, children go to school, while on the outskirts of town, a rural sex industry has emerged, complicating liberationist calls to occupy liminal spaces. Low-budget tourists now frequent the Palomares environs, and where black servicemen once shifted toxic barrels, there are now naturist hostels and residential communities, a nudist beach with gay cruising ground, and a small strip of eateries, drag venues, gay bars, and heterosexual swingers clubs.

In the nuclear age, as the Palomares disaster semicentennial approaches, marginalized peoples adopt the most marginal lands.

John Howard, a professor of American studies at King’s College London, is the author of “Men Like That and Concentration Camps on the Home Front.”

TIME Accident

Disney to the Rescue After a Man Falls Overboard from Another Cruise Ship

A Disney drama on the high seas

A 22-year-old man had a dramatic rescue at sea when he fell overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and was picked up by a Disney Magic cruise around five hours later.

A passenger onboard the Disney cruise raised the alarm when he heard cries for help in the ocean at about 6.30 a.m. on Jan. 8, and a lifeboat was deployed to save the flailing man, CNN reports.

Video of the dramatic rescue was taken by passenger David Hearn and shows the man barely visible in the swell and an orange lifeboat coming to his rescue.

The man fell into the waters off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico, but it is not clear how he came to be in the water. He was taken to hospital and was said to be in good condition before being flown back to his home in the U.S.

[CNN]

TIME Accident

Former NFL Player Says He Swam 9 Miles to Shore After Falling Off Boat

Rob Konrad, Tammy Konrad
Former Miami Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad, left, listens while his wife Tammy, right, responds to a question during a news conference on Jan. 12, 2015, in Plantation, Fla. Lynne Sladky—AP

Konrad was fishing when a wave knocked him overboard into the ocean

A former Miami Dolphins player said Monday that he spent 16 hours swimming to shore after falling off a boat last week.

Rob Konrad held back tears during a news conference in Plantation, Fla., as he explained his unusual nine-mile swim to safety, during which he says he encountered stinging jellyfish and a shark, CNN reports.

Konrad, 38, said he was fishing when a wave hit his boat, which was set on autopilot, and knocked him overboard. He was not wearing a flotation device and decided to swim to shore, alternating between the breast stroke and backstroke, knowing he was hours away from the onset of hypothermia.

“I quickly realized I was in a real bad situation,” he said. “I made a decision that I was going to start swimming toward shore, west.”

He was almost found a twice. Konrad said approached a fishing vessel but no one saw or heard him, and he recalled that a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, which was searching for him, flew right over him. After hitting shore early Thursday, a security guard alerted police and he was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia, dehydration and rhabdomyolysis.

“If you’re a good swimmer and you’re faced with an emergency, you could be capable of doing what he did,” said Sid Cassidy, an accomplished distance swimmer who has trained in the area where Konrad swam.

[CNN]

TIME Accident

1 Killed and 10 Injured in Massive Michigan Pileup

More than 150 vehicles involved

At least one person was killed and 10 were injured Friday in a pileup affecting both the westbound and eastbound lanes of a Michigan interstate, involving more than 150 vehicles—including a semi-truck carrying fireworks that erupted into flames, according to police.

Interstate 94 was completely closed down due to the chain-reaction crash in Battle Creek that started around 10 a.m., Michigan State Police Lt. Rick Pazder told NBC News. Vehicular traffic in a 3-mile radius of the crash was also being evacuated because the semi-truck carrying fireworks had caught fire and a nearby truck carrying Formic acid ignited, Pazder said. Anyone who…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Ski-jumping

Olympic Ski Champion Hospitalized After Ending 135-Meter Jump Face-Down

Simon Amman crashed during his second jump during the fourth stage of the tournament

Swiss ski jumper and double Olympic champion Simon Ammann was hospitalized Tuesday after a brutal fall that left him bloodied and unconscious at the Four Hills Tour in Bischofshofen, Austria.

Ammann was in eighth place after the first round when he lost balance after landing a 136-meter jump, Associated Press reports.

The 33-year-old face-planted the snow and skidded along the ground before coming to a stop.

Amman suffered facial injuries but regained consciousness after the accident and was able to move his arms and legs.

On Monday, two prospects for the U.S. Olympic Ski Team were killed in an avalanche while training in the Austrian Alps.

[AP]

TIME Accident

School Bus and Train Collision in North Dakota Kills 2

The 62-year-old bus driver and a 17-year-old student were ejected and killed

(FARGO, N.D.) — A school bus failed to yield to railroad crossing and stop signs and collided with an empty freight train Monday in North Dakota, killing the bus driver and a 17-year-old student and injuring 12 other people, the Highway Patrol said.

The accident happened at 3:39 p.m. Monday on a gravel road about 5 miles east of Larimore in the northeastern part of the state, about 100 miles north of Fargo. The bus was from the Larimore Public School District, authorities said.

Roger Abbe, superintendent of schools for the district, declined to comment when he was contacted at the high school Monday evening.

“All media comments are coming from the Highway Patrol and that is as much as I can say,” Abbe said.

Highway Patrol Lt. Troy Hischer said the bus was heading north on a county road when it was struck by a westbound BNSF freight train. He said the train struck the bus on the passenger side, near the doors. The 62-year-old bus driver and a 17-year-old student were ejected from the vehicle and killed.

The ages of the students on the bus varied from 6 to 17, Hischer said. Some of the injured suffered broken bones; three were in “very serious condition,” he said.

Hischer described the scene as chaotic.

“It’s high stress on many people from the school and on all of the first responders,” Hischer said in a telephone interview. “We’ll work on that as the night goes.”

Hischer said it was a typical rural railroad crossing, with no crossing arms.

“The train has the right of way,” he said.

Hischer said the weather was clear at the time.

Officials with Altru Health System in Grand Forks said they had received 10 patients, five of whom were admitted and three of whom were transferred.

Larimore has an enrollment of 201 students in grades 7-12, according to the North Dakota High School Activities Association.

BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said the train involved was not carrying any cargo at the time. She said there were two BNSF crew members on the train, and neither was injured.

McBeth said BNSF has sent investigators to the scene.

TIME europe

8 Presumed Dead After Cargo Ship Sinks Off Scotland

The vessel's management company says bad weather was likely a factor in its sinking

(LONDON) — Eight crew members are presumed dead after a cargo ship capsized and sank north of Scotland.

Rescuers have called off the search for the crew of the Cyprus-registered cement carrier Cemfjord, whose upturned hull was spotted by a passing ferry Saturday in the Pentland Firth.

The vessel’s management company says bad weather was likely a factor in its sinking. The ship, which carried seven Polish crew members and one Filipino, did not send a distress signal.

Tony Redding of the German shipping company Brise said investigators would “look for abnormalities. And at the moment we don’t have any, apart from the fact that there was severe weather at the time.”

A ship was to scan the seabed Monday using sonar to assess how the Cemfjord is lying.

TIME Accident

Massive Pileup Shuts Down New Hampshire Highway

State police said there have been reports of multiple injuries, but the total number and severity are unknown, with no reported fatalities

Police are responding to a pileup involving 50 to 100 cars on Interstate 93 in New Hampshire.

The crash was reported around 10 a.m. on I-93 north in Ashland, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. New Hampshire State Police Lt. Jerome Maslan said between 50 and 100 cars were involved.

I-93 is closed north of Exit 24, with traffic being detoured off Exit 22. The accidents reportedly happened between exits 24 and 25.

State police are urging motorists to avoid the area.

Snow squalls and icy roads were reported in that area of New Hampshire on Friday morning, and authorities said they contributed to the pileup.

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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