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Tips on Staying Safe and Protecting Your Vehicles During Upcoming Hurricane Season

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio--May 3, 2005--Meteorologists have predicted an active hurricane season for the Atlantic basin in 2005 and an above-average probability of major hurricane landfall. Last year, 15 tropical or sub-tropical storms caused an estimated $42 billion in damage, making 2004 the nation's costliest hurricane season on record.

In recognition of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 15 to May 21, 2005, the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, the nation's third largest auto insurer, reminds motorists that the best way to prevent harm and reduce property damage is to be aware of the dangers posed by storms and to be prepared.

"When you're in the path of a hurricane, it's easy to forget about safeguarding your vehicle. Yet, in these situations, your car, minivan, sport-utility vehicle or light truck might become an important lifeline to transport you out of harm's way," said Scott Snapp, national catastrophe response manager, Progressive. "Being aware of, and preparing for, the flooding that can result from these situations is essential to keeping you and your family safe during hurricane season."

Progressive offers these tips for staying safe during hurricane season:

   --  Prepare an emergency kit stocked with items that can help you
       get through a breakdown. These include flares, a flashlight, a
       roll of electrical or duct tape to temporarily fix wires or
       hoses, sandpaper to clean battery terminals, a pocketknife,
       tire gauge, a couple of cans of tire inflator/sealant, tire
       jack, spare tire, quart of engine oil, windshield washer fluid
       and water and food supplies. Also, place your auto/home
       insurance documents, vehicle registration and title in a
       waterproof bag and take them with you.

   --  Fill your vehicle with gasoline before a storm arrives. That
       way you can avoid long lines at the pump later.

   --  When you're evacuating or returning after a storm, avoid
       driving through standing water on roads or in parking lots.
       The average automobile can be swept off the road in 12 inches
       of moving water and roads covered by water are prone to
       collapse. If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate

   --  If no alternate route exists and you have no other reasonable
       alternative but to drive through standing water...

       --  Do your best to estimate the depth of the water (if other
           cars are driving through, take note of how deep the water 

       --  Drive slowly and steadily through the water.

       --  If you have driven through water up to the wheel rims or
           higher, test your brakes on a clear patch of road at low
           speed. If they are wet and not stopping the vehicle as they
           should, dry them by pressing gently on the brake pedal with
           your left foot while maintaining speed with your right 

       --  If your vehicle stalls in the deep water, you may need to
           restart the engine to make it to safety (know, however, 
           that restarting may cause irreparable damage to the 

       --  If you can't restart your vehicle and you become trapped in
           rising water, immediately abandon it for higher ground. If 
           you are unable to get out of the vehicle safely, call 911 
           or get the attention of a passerby or someone standing on 
           higher ground so that they may call for help.

   --  If you're evacuating an area and are leaving a vehicle behind,
       be sure it's not left in a low-lying area prone to flooding.
       If you have to park your vehicle outdoors, park it as close as
       possible to a sturdy building and away from trees, poles, or
       other large objects that may topple onto it.

   --  Call your insurance company immediately to report a claim. If
       your vehicle has been damaged by the storm, call your
       insurance company as quickly as possible.

Progressive's Catastrophe Response Team supports the claims needs of all the company's auto, motorcycle, boat and recreational vehicle customers. The Team responds to weather-related emergencies that affect large numbers of customers, such as hurricanes, hailstorms, tornadoes and floods and works with local Progressive claims representatives to help customers settle their claims quickly and accurately.

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7, in-person and online service. The companies that offer insurance directly (by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and online at market their products and services under the Progressive Direct(SM) brand, while the companies that offer insurance through more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies market their products and services under the Drive Insurance from Progressive(SM) brand. The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at . More information can be found at

Scott Snapp, national catastrophe response manager, Progressive, is available for interview