Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reporting Car Insurance Claims

Folks do a lot of things to keep their car insurance premiums low. One of the cheapest car insurance tricks I know is to not file minor claims. The reason some people do this is to avoid their premiums from going higher. Before anyone decides to do this, here are a few things to consider.

  • How extensive was the damage? If the damage to your car or the other persons vehicle was pretty bad, then you may wind up paying thousands of dollars in repair bills. Even more if the accident was your fault. However, if it was just a minor scratch that could be easily fixed or ignored, then you probably shouldn't file a claim.
  • Your recent driving history. If you have had any recent accidents or claims against your automotive insurance, then you may not want to file another one too soon. The more claims you file, the higher your premium will go.
  • The other party. If the other driver wants to file a claim with their car insurance company, then that company will eventually get in touch with yours. That may inevitable raise your premiums anyway.
  • Injuries. If anyone was injured in the accident, then you'd do best to notify first the proper authorities and emergency personnel, then your insurance company.
  • Whose fault it was. If the accident was your fault, then the other party will almost certainly report it to their company. In that case, you might as well let your car insurance company know the deal.
Keep these thoughts in mind when considering filing a claim with your insurance company.

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Comprehensive Auto Insurance

A lot of people are confused about their car insurance. Sometimes they think their car insurance policy covers more than it really does.

Most people who only have liability, or the bare minimum, are not covered for damage to their car. Your liability insurance only covers damage you cause to someone else's property.

If your car is damaged in a storm or hurricane, or if there are winds that knock a tree branch onto your car, your liability policy will not cover that.

What you need is comprehensive auto insurance. Comprehensive auto insurance will cover things such as wind damage, storm damage, flooding, hurricanes, damage caused by animals and theft. Yes it costs more. Is it worth it? That's up to your. It really depends on your finances and the type of car you drive.

So, to simplify it once again:

  • Liability coverage: Mandatory in all states, only covers damage you cause with your car to someone else's property.
  • Comprehensive Auto Insurance: Voluntary coverage that covers damage to YOUR car caused by "Acts of God", theft, animals, etc.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Major Car Insurance Fraud in Pennsylvania

I talked about other car insurance frauds involving fake insurance cards in a previous post.

Penn State police have busted a major car insurance and life insurance scheme involving undocumented aliens.

The scheme went like this:

Since illegal aliens are not allowed by Penn State law to acquire drivers licenses, A-Affordable signed up several undocumented workers with their auto insurance policy. Then, A-Affordable pushed the paperwork through so these aliens could get vehicle registration, tags, and licenses.

But the scam didn't end there. The auto insurance company charged the illegal aliens with all sorts of crazy fees for their insurance quotes. The payees most of the time, didn't even know what they were getting into or what they were paying for.

But since it's illegal in the first place for these guys to even have insurance, the auto insurance policies A-Affordable gave out were worthless as were the car insurance cards and documents they processed.

There's more. In addition to the car insurance fraud, A-Affordable also signed the aliens up with Global Life Insurance policies. The aliens didn't even know they were getting signed up for this stuff. A-Affordable just signed them to it, then paid the monthly premiums (usually around $16) for a few months.

After a few months of receiving premiums, Global Life paid A-Affordable a $200 commission for selling the policies. Global Life never knew the policies were bogus resulting in thousands of dollars of stolen commissions.

The pepetrators face 190 years in prison if convicted and over $300000 in fines.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Seeking Free Insurance Quotes? Maybe you should make Customer Service one of your priorities.

J.D. Power and associates has ranked Amica as highest overall for Customer Satisfaction. This is the sixth year in a row that Amica has won the top spot.

The survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates included over 21000 responses from policyholders between April and May. The highest possible score was 1000. Amica achieved a score of 827. The survey included 26 automobile insurance companies. The average score was 784, up 6 points from last year.

Here are the complete rankings:

State Farm
American Family
The Hartford
Liberty Mutual
21st Century
*USAA - Actually scored higher than all the above, but not included in final results as they only provide insurance for military personnel.

Fake Car Insurance Cards Are On the Rise

With hard economic times settling across America, there are more reported incidents of fake car insurance cards.

Car insurance companies give their policy holders cards proving they have valid insurance. Drivers are required to keep these cards in their car at all times and show them to police officers upon request.

However, with many people facing touch financial times, some are choosing to buy fake insurance cards and not get auto insurance coverage at all.

This practice has many dangers. For one, if a driver is caught with a fake card, they risk losing their registration, drivers license, and several fines. Also, if they are involved in a real accident, a fake card will not do them any good. The one at fault may be destroyed financially if they're responsible and don't have proper insurance.

Even though some drivers deliberately seek out fake cards, many are scammed into purchasing cards. There have been several reports of unknowing victims purchasing fake cards for hundreds of dollars from scam artists posing as insurance agents.

The best way to avoid this scam is to always buy from a registered insurer.

Automobile Insurance Premiums Up Though Driving is Down

A heavy factor in deciding your auto insurance premium is the frequency of travel for all drivers in your state. Basically, the more people drive in any given area, the more chances for accidents and the higher the premium in that area.

With gas prices skyrocketing throughout the year and into the summer, motorists across America drove less. One would expect this to result in fewer accidents and lower premiums.

Unfortunately, that isn't the case. According to the Insurance Institute of America, several insurance companies are requesting increases from state governments. This increase will only reflect the maximum premium insurance companies are allowed to charge, not necessarily the amount drivers will actually pay.

Some states, like New York are being vigilant in making the insurance companies justify their increases. However, most states are taking a "wait and see" approach."

The insurance companies justify the increases because of rising repair and medical costs. As gasoline prices rise, so do rubber, paint, and steel costs, ultimately leading to higher gas prices and even higher medical costs.

Historically, insurance premiums have remained level or declined slightly over the past few years.

Get the Most Out of Your Auto Insurance has an article explaining how many people fail to optimize their insurance coverage. Very often, drivers will choose the cheapest automobile insurance quote they can get without making sure they have enough coverage.

The article offers several options and suggestions on how to get the most of your insurance policy. Some of the suggestions are getting uninsured drivers coverage, paying higher deductibles, and paying for a higher liability limit.

Read the entire article here.