Wading through a myriad of auto insurance policies can be confusing. Each insurance company touts their advantages and it can be hard to compare between the different policies.
Being informed about what to look for and what to avoid can help when you purchase an auto policy or if you have a claim against the policy.
Before you purchase a policy, you should shop around for the best price relative to the best coverage. Perhaps the coverage you should look to spend the most amount of money on is underinsured/uninsured motorist protection which protects you if you are injured by a driver with either no insurance or insufficient limits of liability to compensate you for your injuries.
Your driving record can have either a positive or a negative effect on the premiums. If you have a good record, you can expect that you will pay less for the policy. A poor driving record can increase your premiums by at least 40 percent if you have one at-fault accident. Rather than automatically renew your policy with the same insurer every year, you should investigate annually whether you can get a better rate. Some insurance companies might rely on the odds of automatic renewal and their premiums rates may not be the most advantageous for you.
Another factor in the premium price is your credit rating. A poor credit rating is deemed a risk by auto insurers and is used as a gauge to determine if you are likely to file a claim. The attitude of insurers is that if you are irresponsible with your money, you are likely to be irresponsible driving a car. If you have missed a few payments on financial obligations and this is noted on your credit report, you can expect your premiums will be much higher than if you had a clean credit report.
If you have the misfortune to make a claim against your auto insurance, you need to be aware of the following:
· In the case of a total loss, insurers value your vehicle through any of computerized vendor quotes, value books and the market within your local area. This can lead to undervaluation if replacement vehicles are not available in your area
· If your car is not a total loss, you can file a diminished loss claim. This takes into account that your vehicle will never be the same, even once it is repaired, and will have a value less than an equivalent model of vehicle which has never been damaged
· If you are hit by another driver and the accident is his fault, his insurance policy is supposed to cover damages to your vehicle. In cases where it takes an exorbitant amount of time for the other driver's insurer to pay, you can claim under your own auto policy and your insurer should take actions to extract payment from the other driver's policy. Once your insurer has obtained payment, you are entitled to repayment of your deductible on your own policy
· Some insurers will delay making payment on your auto policy just so they can earn money on the investments they have made with premiums. The longer they can hold onto your money, the more money they make
The above is just a sampling of scenarios. There are other tactics employed by auto insurance companies that may ultimately be unfair to you.
If you feel you are being treated improperly by your auto insurer, you should contact an attorney experienced in auto damage claims to ensure that you receive payment you are entitled to.