Over the decades, there’s something rather magnificent about the continuing enthusiasm with which men proclaim they are better than women. No matter what the activity, there’s a kind of aggressive pride in operation. As if, just by claiming superiority, it must always be true. This may work in all the cases where there are no direct comparisons or competitions, and/or the outcome depends on physical strength, but once the statisticians get to work, they often find women outperform men. Ask anyone who works in the insurance industry, and you will consistently hear the answer that women drive more safely than men, make fewer claims, and their claims involve smaller amounts of money. This explains why a recent survey shows insurers quoting men auto insurance premium rates on average 23% higher than women.
The survey was carried out in seven states and collected some 5,000 quotes from the regulatory authorities. This makes the survey interesting. The more usual method is for the researchers to send out requests for auto insurance quotes through the online search engines. The analysis of records held by the Insurance Commissioners offers a different view of the same process. Obviously, the regulators monitor the way the market works in their states. This means a variety of different methods are adopted to collect quotes. However, the methods all depend on standardized profiles. The proposers are all aged [insert age], have no serious accidents on their records, have middle-income jobs, and so on. When all the data was identical except for the gender, insurers quoted higher premium rates for men 63% of the time, the quotes were the same 27% of the time, and women were quoted higher rates 10% of the time. If the survey was narrowed to drivers under 25 years, men were asked to pay an average of $675 a year more.
At this point, we should point to Europe. As from December 21, 2012 insurers must exclude all gender-elements to the pricing of risk. This is producing a dramatic equalization of the premium rates. It’s rather curious there’s no sign of men complaining about being the victims of sex discrimination in America. The laws are not dissimilar. A federal court could potentially find the US insurance industry had been unlawfully assessing premium rates and order them to change, perhaps even pay compensation. But there’s no enthusiasm for such a case. It seems American men do not object to being treated as second class drivers when it comes to the amount they pay. From this you will understand it makes no difference whether you get one or one-hundred auto insurance quotes. The pattern of discrimination has deep roots. So the only point to shopping around as a man, is to find the least bad auto insurance quote (as compared to women). It’s actually quite ironic that even if a man proves himself the equal of a woman in terms of safety record, he will still have to pay more to insure the same make and model.
You may read in the newspapers or online that our economy is turning round. There are apparently more jobs. The housing market is recovering. Everything that was wrong during the recession is now set right and it’s all plain sailing from now on. Well there’s just one problem with all this. The economists who produce all this encouraging news don’t live on Main Street. It’s all theory for them. The practical reality is large numbers of people have given up looking for work and are only in their homes because the mortgage lenders have held back on the foreclosures. In such a climate, you need to stay cautious and ensure you always get the best value for money going. For insurance, this means shopping around to find the lowest rates for the cover that works best for you. Here are some tips.
If you take a sample of one or two insurers, you will either be the luckiest person on the planet or find poor value. Only when you get a full cross section of the premium rates on offer can you see the range of choice and pick the policy that’s going to give you the best value. This means getting quotes from the maximum number of insurers selling policies in your state and covering a broad range of different options, e.g. on different makes and models, the amount of the deductible, and so on.
Choosing the right make and model
Although you don’t change your vehicle that often, it’s always important to buy the right vehicle. This means looking carefully at the safety ratings produced by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration. The general rule is the safer the vehicle, the lower the premium. Remember this applies equally whether you are buying new or secondhand. Every year, your local state’s Insurance Commissioner will issue premium rate guidelines for each make and model. Combine this information with that from the NHSTA and ensure you get the lowest rates.
Buy only the cover you need
If you have an auto loan, the lender will dictate which policy to buy and the minimum insurance values. Once you have paid off the loan, you can make the decisions. Think carefully about the value of your vehicle and how much it would cost to replace if it was totaled. For vehicles with low replacement values, it may make sense only to carry liability cover. If you have assets to protect, go for generous safeguards. With today’s medical expenses being so high, it makes sense to have large sums available if you are unlucky and cause serious injury to someone. Get Auto insurance quotes for big numbers. But if you live in rented accommodation and have no assets, there’s no need for you to carry anything more than the mandatory minimum.
There are good discounts on your Auto insurance quotes if you insure multiple vehicles with the same company or buy both home and auto insurance cover.
In the states relying on the traditional law of tort as the basis of assessing your liability in a traffic accident case, there’s no upper limit. Damages are the court’s assessment of the losses you have caused and the value in cash to make things right for the claimants. So let’s say you were really unlucky and you crashed into an expensive limo supplied by a specialist company, driven by a cool guy wearing shades with a rich company executive in back. Just talking about the repairs, you may be looking at customized parts and high labor charges to bring the vehicle back up to specification. Then there’s the cost of storage while waiting for repair, the hire of an alternate vehicle as and when required, and any loss of profit while the vehicle is off the road.
As to medical expenses, the driver is an employee of the limo company so he will need to be replaced while he goes through treatment, he will need new shades, and all costs of treatment and rehabilitation will be claimed. And the expensive guy in back? Well he’s going to ask for several million for the treatment and because he failed to make a meeting to sign off on a big deal. It’s at times like this you realise having a million dollars in cover is not going to get you to first base on the full amount of damages. And then, of course, come the attorneys’ costs.
So are you going to end up in court? The answer depends on who you are. If you fit the middle or higher class model with a job paying better than average, plus a 401(k) account with reasonable mounts in it, a home with a little equity, and so on, you are going to be a target. It’s worth suing you because your pay can be garnished, you have assets that can be sold off and, no doubt, other assets lurking around which can all be taken in satisfaction of the judgment. You may not think this is very fair and, indeed, you would be right. But you are presumably in this situation because you were not carrying enough car insurance cover to pay off the claims. If you live in an at-fault state where injured people can sue to recover their losses, it’s just plain foolish not to have a sensible amount of cover. But no one is going to sue you if you have no assets and a job that only pays enough to cover the usual household bills. Attorneys will always look for enough to pay their own costs. If you do not have this, you are safe and can live with the minimum amount of liability cover. So when you are deciding what Car insurance quotes to ask for, think very carefully about whether you will be at risk if there’s a big claim. If not, get minimum mandatory. If you could be a target, compare online quotes to help you find a car insurance policy with high liability cover.
If you are ever involved in a car accident or cause any other damage to your vehicle the financial protection you will have from car insurance will make the whole purpose of buying it clear. And with nearly 250 million vehicles on the road, there is a good chance you will eventually need to submit a claim to your insurer. There are specific steps you can take to make sure your claim is approved.
Notify Insurer of Accident
As soon as you are able, you must contact your insurance company to let them know you have been involved in an accident or otherwise damaged your vehicle. Insurers typically require notification within a specific period of time, often between 24 and 72 hours after the accident. If you do not meet the notification requirement, the insurance provider may not honor your claim.
Choose Claim Type
Vehicle damage, personal injury or both are the types of claims you can make. The exact nature of your claim is determined by state r equirements as well as the accident itself. Each insurance company has its own claim process you must use when filing. You should have this information on hand before you need it so you are prepared.
Collect Supporting Documentation
Your insurance company will not honor claims that do not include proof of injury or damage. Common documents that must accompany claims include a police report and medical bills. In addition to these documents, the insurance company will consider what the other party and any witnesses to the accident have to say.
Many insurance companies allow drivers to submit claims online. While this is certainly convenient, it is best to speak to an insurance company representative prior to submission. If the claim has incorrect or missing information, approval will be delayed. Ask any questions you may have before submitting a claim.
Meet with Claim Adjuster
If your claim is for vehicle damage, the insurance company will send an adjuster to inspect your car. During the inspection, the adjuster estimates the amount of money it will take to make repairs. In most cases, the insurance company then sends you a check to cover repair costs.
Understand your car insurance company’s claim process before you need to use it. This will save you time and money by helping you get your claim approved faster. Your insurer will be able to provide assistance throughout the car insurance claim process.
The Presidential campaign is entering the final stages but there are still no proposals from either Democrat or Republican candidate on how to control health-care costs. This is fundamental to producing a fair and accessible health service but the issue is not being addressed. What we do have is a proposal from Romney and Ryan to redesign Medicare as a voucher service. It’s faintly possible this might cover all costs for the first six months, but it’s certain a gap would rapidly open between the actual prices for treatment and the value of the vouchers.
The only way of bridging this gap would be for seniors to pay out of their own savings or buy private insurance. As it stands, Medicare does a good job of holding down costs. As a monopoly buyer for services, the prices have only been rising at half the pace in the private sector. Private insurers have no incentive to control costs. If they are not making enough profit, they simply increase the premium rates.
There is, similarly, very little enthusiasm from the Democrats to take on the medical lobby or the pharmaceutical industry, although there is, however, a move to more preventative medicine. Drug prices are shooting up and doctors refuse to accept an evidence-based approach to determine what treatments offer the best value-for-money to their patients. In a capitalist system, doctors and hospitals are for profit and not altruistic. So although the Affordable Care Act will have insurance exchanges in place for 2014, the competition will not of itself control medical costs. Premiums will be pitched at rates to pay the current costs and make a profit for the health insurance companies. In other words, the policies of both parties are fundamentally flawed.
For middle-class policyholder this will mean, sadly, that it is likely that there will be no cheap health insurance for them. There will, of course be subsidies for those on or below the poverty line, but the health insurance quotes for everyone else will continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation. In due course, this will make insurance increasingly unaffordable.