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6 Car Insurance Claim Mistakes You Can Avoid

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 07/05/2017

These 6 car insurance claim mistakes trip most people up.

When a car accident happens, making a mistake on what you need to do with your car insurance claim is the last thing that you want to do. Usually, your car insurance ID card has an accident checklist for you to follow at the time of the accident, but here are some other mistake to avoid making during the course of the car insurance claim itself.

Mistake #1: Failing to Get the Other Person’s Information

On your car insurance ID card, it should state to collect the other person’s information. If you fail to do this at the scene of the accident you are going to have to wait until you get the police report to be able to provide your insurance company with the other person’s information or to be able to file a claim with the other person’s insurance company. This can seriously delay a claim and even cost you money you wouldn’t have had to pay out if you had collected the information at the scene of the accident.

Mistake #2: Not Gathering Fault Information at the Scene of the Accident

Don’t just tell your insurance company that you weren’t at fault for the accident, show them. Take pictures of where the cars ended up, the damage, where the damage is, and the area around where the accident happened. Your claims adjuster or the other person’s claims adjuster will not be at the scene of the accident, so you have to show them the accident. Also, if at all possible call the police and have them file a report at the scene.

Mistake #3: Not Acting Timely on your Car Insurance Claim

Call your insurance company from the scene of the accident or call them when you get home, it doesn’t matter where just call them as soon as possible. You want to file that claim while the information is still fresh in your mind. Don’t let time go by and not get your claim in.

Mistake #4: Not Buying Enough Car Insurance Coverage

This is something that you need to take care of BEFORE your accident. Make sure you have enough coverage on your insurance policy to be able to adequately cover the damage you may accidentally do to another person or their property. Keep in mind that state minimum insurance is nowhere near enough to pay for a new vehicle that ends up being totaled or for serious medical bills. Anything not covered by your policy is paid for by you.

Also, make sure you can actually afford the deductible on your comprehensive or collision coverage.

Mistake #5: Being Pushed to a Body Shop

Yes, there are insurance approved body shops you could use, but you don’t have to and don’t let your car insurance company bully you into going to one of them. If you are interested in using one of their shops, get a list of the approved ones and do your own outside research to choose the one with the best reviews. If nothing else go with the body shop you usually use and trust with your vehicle.

Mistake #6: Low Ball Offers

If your vehicle is totaled by your insurance company or the other person’s car insurance company, don’t accept the first offer they make. Take the numbers and tell them you will think about it. Then do your own research into how much your vehicle is selling for at dealerships and with private sellers. Take that information, along with the Kelley Blue Book value and give a counter offer with the information you have gathered.

Always remember that you have hired your car insurance company and the other person has hired their car insurance company for protection in times like these, you have the control to get what you need from them within the limits of the car insurance policy you or the other person purchased.

Not Happy With Car Insurance Claim

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 07/02/2017

Q: I am not happy with the way my car insurance claim is going, I don’t think that I am being treated fairly and it’s my own company. Is there anything I can do?

A: It all depends on what you mean by “being treated fairly”. If you feel that the claims adjuster is rude, condescending or discriminating, demand to speak to their supervisor to complain or ask to be assigned to a new claims adjuster. You paid for this insurance coverage and you do not have to put up with being treated badly by your own company.

If the claims adjuster refuses to let you speak to their supervisor, contact your car insurance agent for help. They have more resources available to them to get you to who you need to speak with and they are not going to want to lose your business.

If you feel the numbers the claims adjuster is coming up with for a totaled vehicle is not fair, it is up to you to prove why. Gather current selling price for the same exact year, make and model of vehicle you have from 3 different dealers and/or private sellers. Also look up the Kelley Blue Book value of the vehicle. Arm yourself with information to give to the adjuster to get your fair settlement.

If you feel you are not being treated fairly in regards to medical bills from your car insurance claim being paid and you get no help from a supervisor, it’s time to contact your state insurance commissioner and file a complaint.

The Lowdown on your Car Insurance Declarations Page

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 07/01/2017

Q: Why doesn’t the declarations page of my car insurance policy tell me what is covered under my car insurance policy?

A: It all comes down to expenses. The declarations page of your car insurance policy gives the policy specific details of what your coverages are and what they cost. The declarations page is also only a few pages, so it is not all that expensive to mail out to you every 6 to 12 months.

The legal contact part of your car insurance policy, however, can be 20 to 70 pages. This is much more expensive to mail out and if you multiple that by how many clients an insurance company has, the expenses can be astounding. So to save money, insurance companies only send out the declarations pages when your policy renews. These are really the only pages that change at renewal, so unless there is a revision in the policy contract there is really no reason to send the same contract packet out to you every 6 to 12 months.

Besides, if they sent out the same packet to you twice a year with the same information you would probably just trash that part of the packet and keep just the declarations pages anyways. Making it a waste of money and a waste of resources.

If you have lost the legal contract part of your car insurance policy that the insurance company did provide you with when you first purchased the policy, your car insurance agent can provide you with a copy of it for your records.

Where Does the Car Insurance Follow?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 06/30/2017

Q: I have just one question, if I have a automobile liability policy does it cover any car or truck that is registered or operated by me?

A: Yes, your car insurance would cover you in any non-owned vehicle. A non-owned vehicle is a vehicle that you are not the owner of at the time.

For example, when you rent a car your car insurance will cover any accident you are in with that vehicle. There are time limits though and most insurance companies will only provide coverage on a non-owned vehicle for up to 30 days. This is an unknown risk to them and they extend that coverage as a courtesy to you, it is not something they are required to do.

Now, there is a clause. It’s car insurance, of course there is a clause. If you are driving someone else’s vehicle (not a rental) and you get into an accident, their car insurance is the primary coverage and yours is the secondary coverage. So your friend is on the hook if you get into an accident with their car.

Car insurance policies are designed to cover the vehicle, not the driver. Insurance companies create most of their rates for physical damage coverage by using the claims and safety history of the vehicle that is on the car insurance policy. If you are driving a different vehicle than what is on the policy then the car insurance company is not charging the correct rate for the coverage.

If you need car insurance for any vehicle you drive contact your car insurance agent about purchasing a non-owners car insurance.


Rent a Car in Canada – Insurance Issues

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 06/27/2017

Q: I rent a car near the border and use it for two weeks in Canada. My Insurance company says they don’t insure that car but the credit card they issue does cover the car I am driving. My liability?

A: I am very surprised that your car insurance company doesn’t provide coverage for a rental car in Canada.  You may want to obtain the legal contract of your policy and take a look yourself. I think you may have been told the wrong information because most insurance companies in the United States do provide coverage in Canada and so many miles into Mexico.

But I do have to ask, are you renting on the Canadian side or the US side? Because that would make a difference. Rental cars from outside of the US are generally not covered by your US insurance policy. Some insurance companies offer higher levels of coverage that would include it, but that is rare.

In regards to your credit card covering it, that is something completely separate.  Credit cards have different rules and regulations. To protect yourself though, I would make sure that you have it in writing that your credit card company will cover the damage to your rental car and any damage you would do driving the rental car. I am not familiar with the terms of coverage with a rental car through a credit card though as I have never had to use it, research it, or work with it.

If nothing else, purchase insurance from the company that you are renting a car through.


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Car Insurance Guidebook Unravels the Car Insurance Mystery

Unless you work in the car insurance industry, the topic is probably a mystery to you. The words deductible, comprehensive, collision, liability, premium, loss of use and bodily injury are all gibberish when they reach your ears.

Unfortunately, insurance is something that you are required to have by law if you want to drive. Because of how confusing it is many people go around in almost an insurance daze while they get car insurance quotes from the auto insurance companies that they have heard of. In reality, they are completely lost as to what they are actually buying.

Instead of looking at what each insurance company offers in the terms of protection for both themselves and their car, they are instead looking for cheap car insurance. Finding the cheapest car insurance coverage makes having to buy the required product all that much less painful, but misses the whole point of having insurance.

Learning about insurance through your insurance agent or websites like Car Insurance Guidebook will give you the upper hand when you looking for car insurance. You can take your knowledge and not only find the best price for insurance, you can use it to find really great insurance to protect you and your assets. Then you aren’t stuck settling for just average car insurance that can hurt you financially if you ever need it because there isn’t enough protection.

For example, when looking for insurance the car insurance rates are just the first of many factors that need to be taken into account when you are shopping around for car insurance. You also need to take into account the type of vehicle that you are driving. Many people don’t know this.

Are you driving around a vehicle that is a new sedan and can be protected under any blanket insurance policy? Or do you have an old car that you fixed up that needs special protection and could be better covered under classic car insurance?

Don’t just assume that when you compare car insurance that it will be a one-size-fits-all policy. This is where the insurance knowledge will come in handy; you will know what you need to protect yourself and your vehicle.

You will understand what your insurance agent is talking about when they use insurance terms and you will actually be able to make an informed decision. This is much better for you instead of the “nod and smile” approach people take in their insurance agent’s office.

Also just like your life changes your insurance needs will change. This year you may just need to learn about the best deductible to have. Next year you may need to educate yourself on car insurance for young drivers. As the years pass, motorcycle insurance may be something you will need to know.

Many wise people say that you never stop learning, so take their advice and educate yourself on the insurance that you spend a lot of money on and can’t get away with not having.