The first and most important rule is never to lose your temper. If you take the behavior of the insurance company or the claims adjuster personally, you will just make difficulties for yourself. Try rational argument first. If this fails, ensure you do not prejudice any appeal you may make against the insurer’s decision. To get into the right mindset, understand the role of the adjuster. This is an employee of the car insurance company. He or she does not represent your interests against the insurer. Indeed, the terms of employment probably give the adjuster a direct financial incentive to force the lowest possible settlement figure. Remember the insurance company is not trying to cheat you. If you look at the insurance industry’s PR mission statement, it aims to keep all the policyholders happy. If too many get upset and begin to complain or move their business to other companies, individual insurers lose out. So they actually want you to be as happy as possible while still accepting low settlement figures. In the larger frame of reference, adjusters are allocated a given number of open claims at the beginning of each quarter. They are expected to have a higher clearance rate and to bring the total settlements in under a target. This allows then some discretion on individual cases but they do not have the time to investigate every case. So you need to get your adjuster on your side by presenting a very professional information pack with everything properly described and explained.
Suppose, for example, you think the adjuster may total your vehicle rather than authorize repairs. Look up the blue book value of your vehicle and check round the local garages for the same make and model on sale. You need clear evidence of the current market value. Now look at the repair quotations. The majority of insurers aim to total a vehicle if the cost of repair is more than 70% of the market value. One of the key factors in the decision will be the value of your vehicle when broken for spares. If you have new tires and everything is in an excellent condition, the insurer will get a good price on salvage. Now look at the projected costs of replacement parts and labor. If you think any of these prices are too high, get evidence – list prices for spares and alternate quotes from reputable garages who will do the work for less. Do not allow yourself to be rushed into a settlement. If you find yourself under pressure, step away and arrange for the negotiations to continue on an another day.
The car insurance claims process is designed to push you into accepting low-ball settlements. Although the theory says this will keep car insurance rates low, the actual motive is to maximize profits. If you think the negotiations will fail and a dispute will follow, get car insurance quotes from the other insurers to see whether you can move at an economical rate.
In the early days when gun-toting bandits were likely to rob the stagecoach or attack a bank, it was every man and woman for him or herself. Although insurance as we know it today had developed in London early in the seventeenth century, the idea was not widely accepted in most of America until much later. Individual companies were established in the mid-eighteenth century, but it’s not until the 1850s that states began to regulate the industry and appointed Insurance Commissioners. From then on, progress has been rapid. The idea is essentially simple. The insurer estimates the total amount of claims it’s likely to have to pay in a given year and divides that sum among all those wanting insurance. Everyone pays into the fund. That money is invested and slowly grows over the year. As claims come in, money is paid out. If there’s more than enough money to pay the actual claims, the insurer makes a profit. Should the insurer make a loss, all the insured pay more the next year. Because the losses are shared between a large number of people, each person pays a small amount to buy peace of mind.
Whatever the car insurance companies agree with the policyholders has to be consistent with the local laws. Until fairly recently, all the laws focused on financial responsibility. All the companies had to have a minimum amount of capital as a buffer against claims. That way, if they were hit by an unexpected run of claims, they would not fall into bankruptcy. For the policyholders, the relevant laws were self-preservation and tort. As a matter of practicality, if you own property and it’s destroyed in a fire or some other natural disaster, you want to replace it. With insurance, this is usually practical. The law of tort make you liable to pay compensation if you damage goods belonging to someone else, or injure them. If we were cynical, we could say you can ignore this liability if you injure someone poor. But injure a rich man who can afford an attorney to sue you and you realize the advantage of having liability insurance.
Because the majority of states thought all drivers should be responsible, they imposed a mandate. Now apart from drivers in New Hampshire, everyone who sits behind the wheel of a vehicle on a public road must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Because of the mandate, this is relatively affordable online car insurance. To check out exactly how much you will have to pay, get free car insurance quotes from as many insurers as possible. In most states, this is the cheapest form of insurance. It would be even lower if the law enforcement effort was greater. As it is, as many as 20% of drivers are uninsured in each state. Because the number of policyholders sharing the loss is smaller than it should be, every car insurance quote is higher. This is an unfortunate situation.
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.