In most regions, you can’t drive on the road without running the risk of hitting someone else’s car or property. This is why auto insurance has come into the picture. It’s interesting, however, that in most places, the government requires that you purchase auto insurance if you want to drive your car on the road. The law makes sense; it protects the driver and occupants as well as those getting hit. On the other hand, this has also given the auto insurance industry a tremendous amount of power in what we must pay each and every month in order to legally drive our cars on the road.
Whenever you’re dealing with car insurance companies, you should never expect that they’re going to be upfront and honest with you about anything. Even when you’re just comparing auto insurance quotes, they can be subtly sneaky. At the end of the day, these companies are businesses, and like any other industry, they have to make money somehow.
In order to lessen the financial hit that you’ll take from insurance companies, we’re willing to clue you in on a few facts that could help in future scenarios. This isn’t legal advice and shouldn’t be treated as such, though. These are just a few tips that can help you receive the benefits that insurance companies don’t want you to know about. If you get involved in an accident, the best way to ensure that you’re receiving all that you deserve is to hire legal representation to evaluate your personal situation.
25 Drivers Who Are At Fault Can Still Have A Case
The second that you’re determined to have been at fault, it’s best to consult with an attorney because there’s a chance that you may still have a case. This may not appeal to those who have a certain distaste for legal battles, but if the other driver happened to make a mistake that played a role in the accident, then they can be declared partially at fault for the accident. That means that instead of the entire settlement going to the driver who was originally deemed not at fault, they will be sharing a portion of that with you. Granted, it may not be an equal cut, but some money is better than no money.
24 You Can Fight A Denied Claim
Since insurance companies are obviously not in the business to be giving out money left and right, they tend to look for any reason under the sun to deny a claim. Therefore, if they have wrongly denied your insurance claim, then you have the right to fight back. They’ve legally agreed to act in “good faith” to pay for your benefits (when you signed up for their service). When you’re denied a legitimate claim then you have the ability to file a lawsuit to seek out the benefits that you deserve. It may seem like the end of the line when you’re denied, but don’t allow your insurance company to take advantage of your situation.
23 They Have Tactics To Make Filing A Claim Obnoxiously Long
If you’re attempting to file a claim with your insurance company, not only will you have a long while before you’ll ever see the money from the settlement, but the adjusters are professionals at slowing up the entire process up until that point. They all seem to follow a similar protocol known as the three D’s. They Delay handling the injury claim as long as they possibly can, then they’ll Deny that you were even hurt in an accident which goes hand-in-hand with them Defending their decisions. These are tactics to keep the court battles long and make the entire claim grueling for the driver.
22 Doctors Chosen By The Insurance Company Aren't Trustworthy
There are quite a few reasons that it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney, but a significant one is because of the doctor’s examination. Insurance adjusters will refer you to a doctor whom they know and generally trust to minimize your injury. They’re more likely to claim that your injury was a pre-existing condition, which means that the accident couldn’t have even caused it. This is just another tactic to discredit the driver and minimize the amount of money that you can receive in the settlement. In some cases, the doctor’s visit could cause your claim to be denied entirely.
21 Women Pay Less Than Men
In spite of all that trash-talk you may hear about women being bad drivers, studies reveal that—whether or not that age-old stereotype is true—men tend to have 12% higher insurance rates than their female counterparts. That’s not exactly a flat-out admission that men are bad drivers, however, the reasoning for the higher rates supposedly stem from the fact that they tend to be more aggressive drivers. Since they’re paying more for their auto insurance, we hope that there’s some truth to this claim. Insurance companies will look for any reason to up-charge drivers, so men have a little disadvantage, even if they are safe.
20 More People On The Policy Will Lower Costs
Some are under the false impression that adding more of your family members—yes, even teenagers—to your auto insurance policy will increase the price of the premium. And while the overall cost of the premium may go up slightly, the price per person will decrease. That’s because many insurance providers offer discounts for married couples, families, and they also have multi-car discounts, as well. Insurance companies offer these incentives because they want as much business as they can get, if it was cheaper for each of your family members to get their own policy from a variety of companies then that wouldn’t be very good business for your own provider.
19 You're At War With Your Insurance, Even If You're Not At Fault
Even if you have been a loyal customer for years and have remained accident-free, that first fender bender will show your insurance company’s true colors. As soon as you call and file a claim, the provider will send an adjuster to check out the damage. Little do most people know, adjusters are paid to minimize or even deny your claim. So, it’s a good idea to have all of your documentation (e.g., photo evidence of the scene and the injuries) prior to giving them a call. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to an adjuster whether you’ve been a customer for three days or for thirty years, you’re at war with them until you’ve reached a settlement. Not to mention, no matter who’s at fault, your premium typically goes up as well.
18 The Adjuster Is Not Your Friend
Adjusters know the business so well that they’re willing and able to pull the wool over your eyes if you allow them to. Many adjusters sound very friendly on the phone; they have a knack for getting customers more comfortable with them to the point that the driver feels put off or even guilty for consulting an attorney. Don’t let them kill you with kindness, though. Adjusters have a vested interest in keeping you from visiting a personal injury attorney, and they will attempt to make the settlement process as fast and painless as possible to keep you ‘on their side’. In truth, you should not discuss anything with your adjuster, including your injuries. Once you’re involved in an accident, that information should be relayed to your attorney.
17 A Policy Isn't A Long-Term Contract
As much as insurance companies may want you to believe that you’re bound to them for a given amount of time, this is not the case. Therefore, you should never feel timid about switching to a new provider who offers a better rate. Then again, this should also be taken into consideration if you’re someone who gets a lot of tickets. Your insurance company isn’t entitled to insure you for any set amount of time, so if you become too much of a liability, they could drop your policy entirely and refuse to offer coverage. Which might be something you’ll want to consider before you decide to go street-racing with your friends.
16 Education Influences Your Premium
This one might catch you off-guard, but according to a variety of sources, education is a big factor for car insurance companies. The higher the level of education that you attain, the less you’ll pay. Supposedly, this is because statistics have revealed that those with higher level degrees tend to live in areas with less crime. They must not take into account the huge anomalies, like Bill Gates, with no college education (or only partial, in Bill's case). Nor does it consider the excess of college grads who end up waiting tables because they can’t find a job involving their major. Just know that a little piece of paper determines the figures in your insurance premium.
15 Document Everything Thoroughly
Documentation is the single most important thing to do when you are involved in a collision. Once you’ve had an auto accident, the greatest thing you can do for yourself is prove that everything you say in your claim is backed by evidence. Photos will be your best friend, and it’s important that you’ve taken photos of everything. From the scene of the accident to the other driver’s car or property, your own car, and you and your occupants’ injuries. If you don’t properly document these things, some of what you record in your claim may not be acknowledged by the insurance company.
14 Don't Wait Around To File A Claim
There are so many unwritten rules in the chess game of auto accident coverage, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that you only have a short amount of time to file a claim. Even if your adjuster wants you to sit back, relax, and take your time with medical treatment, don’t do so. If you wait too long before filing a claim, then you could find yourself exceeding the set time limits. When that occurs, it becomes illegal to file a claim. In other words, that’s the easiest way for you to get duped out of your money.
13 Switching Providers Will (Almost) Always Save You Money
It’s only human nature to get comfortable with something after a while. We tend to value loyalty and expect that when we’re faithful to one company for a number of years that it will benefit us more in the long run. Why change something that’s going well? But when it comes to certain things, like car insurance, sticking around for years and years isn’t always the best course of action. In fact, that’s usually one of the worst things you can do. Shopping around will never cost you a dime and it can actually mean that you will save money. Most insurance companies offer incentives to new customers, meaning that the newer customers actually get lower rates than those who stick around.
12 You Can Always Get A Second Opinion After An Adverse Exam
When you’re involved in an accident, your insurance company will send you to a doctor hand-picked by them to perform an adverse exam. This will determine whether or not the accident caused any of your injuries. Sometimes, the doctor is working in favor of the insurance company over the patient and will either downplay your injuries or claim that they are pre-existing. If this occurs, not all hope is lost. You can still get a second exam. It’s recommended to consult with an attorney; they often know several physicians who regularly diagnose automobile-related injuries and could give you an unbiased opinion. This will (more times than not) help your case.
11 Rates Change Constantly
Nothing is ever a sure thing in life, but this is also true for insurance companies and their rates. The rates are always changing because, as time goes on, so is the world around us. If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you get a ticket, you’ll receive derogatory points on your insurance. However, after just a year some of the points will go away and your rate will actually change. This is also true if you’re a young driver and you’re almost out of that age considered to be more accident prone. It’s important to check rates once a year because you never know if you may be eligible for something cheaper and you could end up saving money.
10 Always Compare Insurance Quotes First
The same way you’d never trust a kid with a bucket full of candy, you should never treat an insurance agent’s word as the holy grail. Of course, on their commercials, they enjoy throwing out different slogans, all of which imply that their company is the best because they offer the lowest rates, but none of these overused phrases should be taken seriously. The cold, hard facts are your only real friend. So, when you’re deciding on an insurance company, don’t settle on the first one that says they offer the lowest prices, you’ll need to do your own research and compare quotes.
9 Minor Claims Are Never Taken Seriously
In some cases, accidents involve only minor damage that can’t be seen and the injuries sustained may not be severe. Let’s say you get into a small accident and come out with a stiff neck. Many insurance companies won’t even consider the claim simply because there’s no visual evidence of damage to your body or the car. Which is why it’s important to take your case to an attorney; they can make sure that your injuries are acknowledged and the damages on your car are covered, even if they’re not visibly obvious at first glance. If you’re paying for an insurance premium, then you shouldn’t have to worry about paying for medical treatment or your car’s damages.
8 There's A Reason Why Your Premium Is Super Low
Some things are too good to be true, and that applies to anything involved with car insurance. If your rates are suspiciously low, then you may want to look over your coverage with a fine-toothed comb. Oftentimes, agents will lower your coverage or raise your deductible in order to get the premium to come down to an ‘unbeatable’ price. This is an important aspect to factor in when you’re comparing quotes, as well. If you’re deductible is raised from $500 to $2,000, that’s obviously going to bring your premium down because it will cost you more in the case of an accident.
7 Smokers Will Always Pay More
Even though it may seem irrelevant, non-smokers have lower premiums for all different types of insurance, including automotive. There are a number of factors that go into why insurance companies are so adamant about charging smokers more for their lifestyle habits. Statistically speaking, they’re more of a liability for auto insurance companies and that’s enough for providers to increase the rates for, yet, another technicality. Non-smokers can expect their premiums to be from 5% to 15% lower than those who smoke. Considering the cost of smoking alone, the increase of insurance premiums across-the-board should be more than enough motivation to quit for good.
6 Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
In order to get more drivers suckered into settling their claim with the adjuster, insurance companies will offer quick settlements. However, you’ll be taking a big loss if you agree to their initial offer. But if you take the high road and hire an attorney, you’ll have to wait for a pretty ridiculous amount of time to receive your settlement. We’re talking months or more. Most will argue that it’s worth waiting for, though; the amount of money is usually exponentially greater and you’ll be able to rest assured that all of your medical treatment and auto repairs will be completely taken care of.
5 Credit Means Everything
Like almost everything else in the developed world, your entire life revolves around credit. Even if you choose not to participate with the rest of the credit-card-crazed populace, your auto insurance provider will judge you for your lack of a score, as well. Those that have had to finance a vehicle with bad credit are hit the hardest; you typically have a higher interest rate on the car and then the insurance company knocks you down with rocket-high insurance premiums. The moral of the story: if you don’t have a lot of cash to spend every month, get your credit all lined up before you get tied up in that brand-new car you’ve been drooling over.
4 Location Can Make A Difference In Premiums
Where you live should seem like an obvious factor in your premium, but you’d be shocked at just how finicky auto insurance companies can be about your residence. Giving the insurance company the same address that is on your license and registration is of utmost importance, it can even mean compromising some (or all) of your coverage if you haven’t properly reported your address to the company. That’s because if you move to a more urbanized area, your insurance premium would increase exponentially. If you haven’t been paying that increased price and you happen to get into an accident, the provider will try to use any incriminating piece of information to get out of paying for the loss.
3 Your Insurance Provider Doesn't Want You To Sue
Believe it or not, your own insurance provider doesn’t really want you to consult with an attorney. Some will even attempt to talk you out of doing so by slandering personal injury attorneys. Don’t get us wrong, there are a fair amount of scummy lawyers out there, but be wary because insurance providers have their own stake in the deal. If you choose to sue the other driver(s), then the insurance company will more than likely have to pay more money to you, especially if you suffered any injuries. If the case is investigated further and you are found at fault, then that puts the insurance company in an even bigger financial loss. They’d rather cut you a meager check and call it a day.
2 Adjusters Are Similar To Attorneys (For The Insurance Company)
No matter how much an adjuster will attempt to coax you into an agreement, don’t allow them to push you into a quick settlement that doesn’t benefit you. If you have a funny feeling in your gut, or if little alarms are going off in the back of your mind, then it’s probably a good idea to end the conversation with an adjuster, immediately. Definitely don’t sign or agree to anything that your insurance company offers without first consulting with an attorney. The adjuster may not have ‘esquire’ before their name, but these professionals have been trained extensively. They know the insurance business (as well as the legal system) like the back of their hand, and they’ll use that knowledge to save their company as much money as they can when you're involved in a collision.
1 You'll Lose Money On Your Settlement Without An Attorney
Studies have shown that insurance companies save money when you don’t consult an attorney, so they’ll do everything they can to prevent you from doing so. If you decide that you want to handle the accident without legal representation, you’re almost guaranteed to a much smaller settlement than if you brought in help. That’s because they’re not going to offer a lot of money up front, and you need an attorney to negotiate with the adjuster in order to get everything that you deserve from your claim. Have you ever tried selling a car and had anyone attempt to buy it for more than the starting price? The sad truth is that you have to be willing to fight for your end of the bargain.
Sources: WiseBread, Auto Insurance, and Wikipedia.