Secrets Your Auto Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know

Many drivers rely on good faith and may not expect to be forced to sue their auto insurance company in order to receive payment for expenses resulting from a car accident. Typically, most just want to have their car repaired and their medical bills paid.

Unfortunately, the auto insurance attorneys of Michigan Auto Law deal with many car insurance companies on a daily basis that take advantage of their customers by cutting off their benefits without reason or notice. Some insurance companies also put people “under investigation”- the excuse for stopping payment of all medical bills and wage loss. People are being ignored, threatened, intimidated and even lied to by their insurance claims adjusters.

The following are common tactics used by many auto insurance companies to either avoid or minimize their payouts to customers. Suggestions are included on how you can protect yourself to avoid or minimize problems with your automobile insurer.

1. Many restrictions and limitations are buried in your policy’s fine print

Knowing how to read and understand the fine print of auto insurance policies is not an easy task. Auto accident lawyers have seen far too many people lose out on important benefits because they were unaware of important filing requirements buried in their policies. For example, many auto insurance policies pose strict notification requirements, such as 30 days notice for hit-and-run accidents. Many contracts have separate conditions for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage requiring very prompt notice, and insurance carriers can change their policy filing requirements at any time. When car accident victims do not respond to notification requirements on time, they can lose their coverage.

How to protect yourself:

Notify your insurance company immediately after any type of accident. Be sure you have your complete auto insurance policy, including any notification of coverage changes from year to year. This can also include pamphlets or notes that are mailed with renewal statements, reflecting any policy terms and changes. Most policies include declarations, conditions, insuring agreements and exclusions with conditions.

It’s also important to check insurance policies for any benefits that overlap with your own health and disability insurance; and to review any additional coverage (such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage). When receiving ongoing medical care for car accident injuries, having a solid understanding of insurance policies can help ensure that health care providers bill appropriately.
If you are confused with your auto insurance policy and have questions, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer who specializes in auto accidents – most are happy to offer advice and guidance for your protection.

2. Insurance agents don’t always recommend the best coverage

Following a car accident, there can be numerous issues and challenges navigating health insurance plans, managed care plans, retirement plans such as ERISA, and coordinated/uncoordinated policies. In addition, insurance agents may avoid mentioning important coverage options and applicable discounts due to payout losses or lower premiums that reduce their commissions.

Many people choose to carry more insurance coverage so they will not be personally liable if they cause a serious car accident. However, some people only pay the minimum insurance premium to renew their license plate each year, and then let the auto insurance lapse. Without an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, a driver or family members severely injured by an uninsured motorist will have no source of legal recovery for their injuries other than filing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver for his or her personal assets. Most people do not have sufficient personal net worth to compensate a person that they have seriously injured.

How to protect yourself:

If you are injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer who is best qualified to provide guidance on issues of which insurance is primary, and who will pay medical expenses that are incurred after a crash.

If you carry ERISA health insurance, uncoordinated or primary coverage is the safe move. An insured person with both ERISA and coordinated insurance may end up recovering nothing for their pain and suffering in the event of an auto accident.

Check your insurance policy for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. If this type of coverage is missing, contact your insurance carrier to add it – the cost is minimal and highly recommended to protect you and your family.

Raising your deductibles to at least $500 or more can also lower your auto insurance premiums by 15 percent to 40 percent. Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars. If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, eliminating those coverages can save you money, unless you still owe money for the car. Finally, if there is any reduction in the amount of miles you drive annually, contact your insurance carrier for quotes on low mileage discounts.

3. Accident Settlement Offers Are Always Too Low

Imagine you just suffered devastating injuries from a car accident and are now recuperating at home, in pain, and worrying about how you are going to pay your bills. An insurance agent knocks on your door with a check for $100,000 for your accident. With the emotional and physical trauma following a car or truck crash, a large amount of money sounds great, and some victims rush into accepting the first settlement offer. Yet determining the value of an auto accident case goes far beyond a simple calculation of injury type, future expenses not covered by no-fault insurance and the wrongdoer’s policy limit. Offering to settle is essentially a backdoor approach by insurance companies to saving litigation costs at the expense of an accident victim’s right to a full recovery.

How to protect yourself:

It never hurts to call an auto accident lawyer and ask for advice. Many lawyers can explain accident law, what you are entitled to and make sure your own insurance company is paying everything they are supposed to – with no fee or obligation.

4. Releases and Recorded Statements Are Pushed Early On to Overwhelm Accident Victims

Many victims rush into signing adjusters’ documents without having the language reviewed by an auto accident lawyer, believing these are just basic verifications of the accident. Therefore, they may lose their right to sue a negligent driver for accident-related injuries. Claims adjusters often try to get recorded statements early, aiming to minimize the victim’s pain and injuries for later use in court. Even vehicle damage releases can contain unrelated language that can jeopardize your other claims.

How to protect yourself:

Never give statements to an accident claims adjuster and never sign a release or allow the adjuster to look at the auto damage. Simply tell the adjuster that you need to review the paperwork with your attorney and will get back to them with your response. No matter how desperate you may feel after suffering the financial burden of medical bills, lost wages and disabling pain, involving an auto accident attorney will ensure your rights are protected. Keep in mind that the claims adjuster works for the insurance company, and has its best interest in mind – not the injured victim.

5. Standard practice is to deny or delay claim payouts

Most people suffering injuries from a car accident call their auto insurance company to find out what to do next. They assume that when they follow the process, they will receive fair, timely compensation for injuries resulting from the auto accident. After all, they paid for the auto insurance for that reason – to be covered in the event of a car accident.

Yet many insurance companies engage in common delay tactics including denying claims, not returning calls, placing people on hold for extensive periods, requiring a victim to repeatedly gather records, and passing you from one adjuster to the next. Soon the financial burden of time off work and mounting medical bills drives innocent car accident victims to contact an attorney. Or worse, it makes them desperate enough to accept an extremely low settlement offer, limiting any future recovery of damages.

How to protect yourself:

If you are experiencing these typical delay tactics, contact an auto accident attorney who can assist you with getting your claim processed and the benefits you are entitled to under your state’s law.

Bottom Line:

If your auto accident involves injuries to you and/or your family (even seemingly minor injuries), consult an auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Not only will you better understand what benefits you are entitled to, but you will have the peace of mind knowing that you received the full value of benefits and compensation available to injured drivers.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2824671

Want to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Costs? Let Me Count the Ways!

We all complain about the mounting cost of automobile insurance. So what are our options to lower our auto insurance expense? Take a look at the following list of opportunities to reduce your auto insurance.

1. Plan For And Include Auto Insurance Costs Into The Cost Of your Auto Purchase
To begin with, buying a car is a significant initial expense and auto insurance is a sizable subsequent expense in your ongoing cost of ownership. You should always look into what your insurance costs are going to be on any vehicle you consider buying.

2. Research Auto Insurance Rates On Different Makes And Models Before Buying Your Car.
Insurers rate vehicles on a risk scale based on statistics that cover a range of factors such as exposure to risk of injury or theft, vandalism, flashy or sporty vehicles, cost, cost to fix, past claims history, overall safety record, etc. The higher the risk, the higher the insurance premium. Many insurers offer discounts for low-risk vehicles such as sedans and station wagons. Check out this information with your state or provincial insurance agencies before you to decide what car to buy.

3. Research And Get Quotes From Several Insurance Agencies
Once you have decided on a make and model of car, the best way to make sure you are getting the most affordable price for your auto insurance policy is to do your research and compare, quotes. You should obtain a number of quotes from different insurers as coverage costs from one insurer to the next can vary by hundreds of dollars, and possibly thousands of dollars. Get at least three price quotes. Call insurers directly or get online quotes. Provide the same coverage, deductibles and limitations so you can compare apples with apples. Nowadays, comparison sites do all the legwork for you and provide competing rates side-by-side. Visit some of the sites advertised on my website listed below.

4. Save Money By Raising Your Deductibles
You can reduce your insurance premium considerably by increasing the deductible on the comprehensive and collision portion of your insurance policy. However, keep in mind that in the event you have an accident and file a claim, you will have to pay the deductible out of your own pocket. So make sure you can afford to do that. You can save 10 percent or more by increasing your deductible from say $500 to $1,000. If your claim is $2500 and your deductible is $1,000, you will pay $1,000 and your insurance company will pay $1500.

5. Save Money By Purchasing Home And Auto Insurance From the Same Insurer
Purchasing your home and automobile insurance policies with the same insurer may qualify you for a further discount, which may shave up to another 10% on both policies. Most insurers offer this saving as an incentive to get your home insurance business too.

.6 Save Money By Including All Vehicles Under The Same Policy
Similarly, many insurers offer a multi-auto discounts for those who insure more than one car on the same policy. You can save up to 10% by placing more than one vehicle under the same policy.

7. Save Money By Maintaining A Good Driving Record
Your driving record is a significant factor in determining your insurance rate. If you have a clean driving record (without accidents, traffic tickets, drunk driving convictions, etc.,) you may be eligible for further discounts on your auto insurance policy. A bad driving record can become very costly in terms of insurance premiums, as you may take three years or more to wipe out past misdemeanors off your record.

8. Save Money By Maintaining A Good Credit Record
Insurers are increasingly using credit information to price auto insurance policies. Developing and maintaining a solid credit history can reduce your insurance costs. To protect your credit status, pay your debts on time, don’t get more credit than you need and keep your debt balances as low as possible. Review your credit record often and ensure your record remains accurate by getting errors corrected promptly.

9. Save By Asking For Low Mileage Discounts
If you are retired, semi-retired, car-pool or use public transportation to go to work, and generally keep your annual car mileage as low as possible you may be eligible for a low-mileage discount. The low mileage limit is generally around 10k-12k miles per year depending on the state or province you live in.

10. Research Other Discounts
Other discounts may be available if you meet certain conditions. Examples may include age group, low mileage, occupation, if you install an alarm or other safety devices in your car, taken a defensive driving or drivers education course, are a member of an auto club, or loyal to the same auto insurance company for a number of years. These discounts vary by insurer.

11. Inquire about Group Insurance
Some insurers may offer discounts to drivers who obtain insurance through an employer provided group plan, through professional, business and alumni groups, or trade associations. Ask your employer and check with groups or clubs you are a member of to see if you are entitled to such discounts.

12. Drop Collision Coverage On An Older Car
If your car is 10 years or older, you may want to consider removing the collision coverage on your policy. Before you do this, you need to weigh the cost of the collision coverage with the value of your car and your chosen deductibles. For example, if you had a 12-year-old car that was worth about $1,000, and your deductible was $1,000, that collision coverage is worth zero. However, remember that you will have to bear the cost of repairs directly out of your pocket should you get into an accident.

13. Take Defensive Driver Training Courses
Safer drivers pay lower insurance rates. Taking state and/or insurer approved defensive driving courses in the past 3 years will get you reduced auto insurance premiums.

14. Install Safety And Anti-Theft Devices In Your Car
Insurers may give you discounts on your auto insurance if your car is equipped with one or more of the following options: Anti-lock brakes, automatic seat belts, and airbags. Similarly, anti-theft devices such as car alarms and tracking systems may also get you a discount because they reduce the chances of your car being stolen or vandalized.

15 Reduce Auto Insurance By Moving
If you move from urban big city traffic location to a rural area with little crime and traffic congestion, your premium will generally be lower. Of course, you would do this only if it is in keeping with other life-style decision factors.

16. Where Do You Park Your Car?
If you park your car in a garage, you may be entitled to a slight premium reduction. Cars parked in garages are less likely to be stolen, vandalized, or struck by other vehicles.

17. Develop A Relationship With Your Insurer
If you have been with one insurer for a long time, most will charge an existing client who has more than one recent claim less than they would a new client in the same situation.

18. Keep Your Insurer Up To Date
Make sure your insurance company always has correct and up-to-date information on file. For instance, if you relocate from an urban to a suburban or rural area, your rates may go down.

The key to auto insurance savings is not the discounts, but the final price. An insurer that offers few discounts may still have a lower overall price. The discounts listed may not be available in all states or provinces or from all insurance companies, so once again, it pays to do your research as the savings are just too significant to lose!

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to learn more about saving on auto insurance, then I invite you to visit our web site Save On Auto Insurance [http://askartabout.com/saveonautoinsurance], for more articles, free quote information, and tools to reduce your auto insurance.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2936867

Auto Insurance Does Not Mean The Same Things To People In The Financial Profession

It is amazing how much literature has been written about the car insurance business online. The main approach in use by the bulk of the writings is in the direction of selling car insurance, rather than offer it in the proper context of insurance product or ‘a product to protect your assets and wealth.’ That is why when searching for the phrase ‘auto insurance’ a large number of websites emerge with the ‘selling’ phrases like affordable auto insurance, or cheap auto insurance or low cost auto insurance.

In the early part of 2011 and according to Google AdWords there were 8,100; 74,000; 9,900 monthly searches for the above key phrases, respectively. On the other hand, there were only 110 searches for the phrase ‘reliable auto insurance’, 170 searches for ‘quality auto insurance’, and 8,100 for ‘top auto insurance companies.’ It is rather easy to conclude that most of the searches on line are about price, not quality of insurance.

A basic principle in marketing is to understand what people ‘want’ and design and package your product or service to meet what the folks want. Looking at those numbers we can tell that most people want cheap auto insurance. As a marketer, if you design any campaign without considering that analysis you may eventually flunk the marketing tests, close your website and go do something else.

So what’s the difference between auto insurance polices? From a ‘financial planning viewpoint’ car insurance comparison should never be based on price only, and perhaps most people agree that cheap insurance is not necessarily the best car insurance. But what most people do not know is that an insurance policy with the best rated company may also be one of the most problematic contract. An auto insurance policy should be compared in reference with three factors:

1. Price: of course the cheaper the better.

2. Company Rating: Non standard companies are more flexible than their standard or preferred counterparts with regard to past violations found on the MVR activities of the drivers and the credit score of the car insurance applicants. However, non standard companies are harsher than others in customer service and paying claims. Most of complains come from non standard insurance companies. While preferred companies do not hesitate to quickly pay for smaller claims suck as seven or eight thousand dollars claim, or even little more; all companies from top to bottom will try to examine the application to see if they have to or do not have to pay a $100,000 claim.

3. Liability Limits. This is the most ignored, least understood, but is the most important aspect of the policy which affect customers during time they need the insurance. It measures how much protection you have in the event you get sued. A professional financial advisor will never ever sell you an auto insurance policy at low limits if he/she has enough information that you and your spouse have enough wealth to be sued for in the event that you or a family household member cause a major auto accident and your car insurance pays the maximum on the policy which turns out not to be enough.

There are many insurance policies sold with superior insurance companies at the lowest liability limits mandated by the state. In the State of Illinois these limits are 20/40/15, which means that in the event you cause an accident that is your fault and you get sued by others, then your company will pay to others on your behalf no more than $20,000 for bodily injury for one person, no more than $40,000 for bodily injury for all other people in the accident, and a maximum of $15,000 for any and all property damage you case in that accident. If you are a business owner and you cause a major accident resulting in a unbeaten lawsuit of $300,000 and your insurance company maxed the payment on the policy and paid $20,000, the difference of $280,000 will have to come from your own money!

Financial Planners and Auto Insurance Marketers Are Not in Harmony

Financial planners are not in harmony with insurance marketers about the weight that needs to be placed on limits of liability in auto insurance. Marketers like to stress the aspects of price and company rating, while financial planners like to stress the importance of liability limits first, then company rating second, and perhaps price at a later stage.

Although financial planners and auto insurance marketers have the common goals of maximizing their earnings while providing their services, the scope of their operations is different. Auto insurance marketers make their money by selling as many polices as they can have. The marketer does his best to make as many sales as possible, hence making small amount of money on too many policies sold. Financial planners work differently as they try to make big money from each of the few number of customers they have. Selling an auto policy is not the primary concern of a financial planner, but for him or her auto insurance is one of the fundamental subjects of the financial planning process.

Car insurance agents look at auto insurance as a way to protect the car itself in the event of theft, fire or another loss, besides the fact that it’s the law. Financial planners look at auto insurance as an integral part of their clients risk management process. To the financial planner an auto policy is not to repair the car in the event of loss, but is mainly about protecting the assets and wealth of the insured, especially against potential lawsuits.

Some auto insurance marketers would even suggest to cut down on liability insurance as a way to save money. No sound financial planner will ever make such a suggestion. No way!

When does height matter?

How high your liability limits should be is the main issue that should prevail when you buy car insurance. You probably need only the minimum liability limits mandated by the states if /when(1) you shopped for higher limits and could not afford it, (2) your current assets or wealth is not big enough to expose you to further lawsuits in the event of at fault auto accident. (3) you are a high risk driver where no one else wants to insure you except at the minimum limits. But, if you have certain amounts of assets and wealth, or is expected to have sizable assets or wealth, then you need to worry about the height of your liability limits.

What about if you are not wealthy with plenty of assets? Even for people with little or no wealth, the height of liability limits should be much of a concern to them. This is due to the fact that liability insurance contains certain coverages to pay for your bodily injuries in the event that you get hit by a vehicle that is legally uninsured, or is insured but the insurance on that vehicle was not enough to cover your bodily injuries. According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately 15% to 17% all drivers in the United States are uninsured. Coverages for Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) vary from states to states with regard to their mandatory status and limit amounts. In Illinois UM is mandatory at the limits of $20,000 for bodily injury per person and $40,000 for bodily injury per accident. Underinsured motorists coverage is not mandatory in Illinois but insurance companies must offer it to clients for policies issued with liability over the state limits. Clients can still reject to have higher uninsured/ underinsured motorists but it must be in writing. As you can see, your liability only policy provides coverage for your bodily injuries, and making sure that you have high limits on both liability, UM and UIM can have tremendous effect on your life.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5878293

Auto Insurance Terms You Should Know

In order to be successful and proficient in all business it is very important that one familiarize himself with the terms of that particular field of interest or business he intend establishing. That is why knowing such terms will undoubtedly build you basic knowledge of your field of interest and eventually lead to you success in it.

Take a moment to review some of the terms associated with auto insurance and quotes before going into it as this will be very much helpful to you in your auto insurance policy success.

Adjuster

Also known as claim adjuster, this is an insurance company worker who is primarily responsible for investigating and settling all claims brought by claimants or insurance carriers resulting from a specific casualty. His responsibilities also include the evaluation and payment of the available or each claim to the policyholder.

Payment of claims is usually carried out only after all proceedings are verified. The claim may as well depend on the active insurance or coverage policy available of the item.

Accident

This is an unplanned, unforeseen or unintended event beyond the control of an insured, resulting in the loss of property e.g. car. The incurred loss can be compensated as a claim to the claimant by the carrier. The claim is based on what is observed and the actual cash value of the car or items involved.

Auto insurance companies try in the best of their abilities to supply sustainable, efficient, quality, and affordable policy coverage to their policyholders. They also aim at increasing the savings of their insured to meet specific needs e.g. building a big collection of policyholders.

Actuary

This is a specialist who computes premiums and risks of insurance. They are duly involved in the calculation of loss reserving, life expectancy and determining accident frequency. They serve as one of the key ingredients in an insurance company.

They also primarily help in making profit and financial stability of carriers (insurance companies) which they serve and involved in trends assessment as well as determining insurance prices.

These specialists also have a share in managing the carrier’s expenditure and the giving of claims to claimant on any needed basis. They help in ensuring that neither the carrier nor the insured suffer unnecessary loss.

Accident Frequency

This refers to the number of times there occur an accident. The frequency is calculated during the time of the insurance policy. The actuary normally computes the frequency of accidents to help determine possible losses.

It should be noted that the phrase may not actually mean the number of times or frequency an accident really does occur but the number of times an accident may occur due to the prediction of the actuary. Premiums can also be accurately and appropriately paid using this principle.

Appraisal

It is a formally written document of the estimation of the value of property of the insured. This is done as against any future casualty resulting in the loss of property.

When an appraisal is eventually damaged, it can be completed or replaced by the adjuster of the insurance company or sometimes a vehicle repair expert.

Additional Insured

It is an individual or organization who also has an auto insurance protection under the primary name insured auto policy. The protection may be extended form an auto leasing company to an individual who lends a car (s) to the primary insured.

In the event of an accident, damage or collision, the leasing person or company has protection against the specific casualty caused by the name insured.

Agent

He is a licensed insurance representative who sells insurance for an insurance company, negotiating and/or effecting insurance contracts. He serves as the middle man in providing quality insurance service to the policyholder.

Insurance agents usually carry out their work on a commission basis and in most cases they are non-exclusive or perhaps exclusive agents.

Agreed Price

This is the cost of repairs of damage to property as agreed upon by the adjuster and the corresponding representative of the body shop. Whenever an incurred loss occurs resulting in an accident to a car, the cost of repair agreed on will be used as a claim to the claimant.

The cost neither increase nor decrease as the price for any resulting damage for the car has already been agreed upon.

Agreed Value

This is the value of the vehicle agreed on by the insured and the insurer which will be paid out on the event of an accident or any other form of unforeseen damage.

It is a policy available mainly for custom vehicles or collectible which actual value remains the same over time without depreciating.

Assigned Risk Plan

Auto insurance plan managed by the state and mostly for individuals and car owners who cannot afford to obtain or qualify for auto insurance or conventional liability coverage due to financial insufficiency or poor insurance record.

They may be placed in residual market in order to get an insurance policy with carriers or insurer but for a higher price. Their coverage is through the state.

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