Auto Insurance Claims

The truth about filing auto insurance claims is they are usually simple, easy, and straightforward. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is the oldest association of state officials in existence in the United States. Since 1871, the insurance industry has been regulated and supervised by the NAIC so that the consumer would be assured of protection against fraud, misappropriation of funds, and intimidation. With these assurances, the industry has blossomed into a very user friendly milieu. Because of the NAIC, people who carry coverage can rest easy when the time to file auto insurance claims becomes a reality. The amount of each claim is very different, just as coverage for every person and combination of person-vehicle is unique.

A typical policy has either one or two parts. The first part of any auto policy is liability insurance. "Liability only" coverage is essential in many places. Liability covers the other guy. Auto insurance claims filed against liability policies do not pay out to the individuals who pay for the policies. These policies pay out to the injured party. And even if not a legal requirement, a wise practice would be to carry coverage just in case a person is involved in an accident. An accident is just that. It is not an "intentional." People generally don't wake up one morning and say to themselves, "I think I will have an accident, today." For the most part, a car accident happens when two people are not paying attention. There is a train of thought that contends that it takes only only person to cause an accident. Although true in some circumstances, the reality is most accidents happen when both parties are distracted. Even if only for a moment, a distraction while driving can have a horrendous outcome.

It's a good thing that car insurance also has other, more substantial coverage than liability only. Comprehensive and collision coverage are usually paired. When comp and collision are added to liability; the plan becomes a full coverage plan. If a person has ever financed a vehicle, they know about this type of plan. Comprehensive coverage pays when a collision is not involved. Things like vandalism, storms and or other natural disasters that cause damage to a vehicle, and passive objects; like a lamp post, electrical wires, or a tree that falls onto a vehicle are covered under comprehensive. Collision helps to protect a person's auto when there is an accident involving a collision into both moving and stationary objects. Included in collision are other vehicles, trees, posts, and even water hydrants that a person may accidentally collide into. In the case of auto insurance claims, comp and collision (as it's called) pays out to the owner of the policy as well as any injured party. For example; if a person is involved in an accident in which they have been found to be at fault, the policy would pay to repair damages to the other car and perhaps medical bills for the other party. In addition, the policy would cover the costs to repair the insureds vehicle and their medical bills as needed.

Auto insurance claims that have comp and collision included will help pay repair bills up to a certain percentage of the value. Once that percentage is reached, the car is considered a total loss. Then, the policy will pay the insured the actual cash value or replacement value of the vehicle. Surety companies use a standard calculation to determine the value. They take into account the vehicle's age, wear and tear, and the cost to get a similar replacement vehicle. There are also add-ons that are available for full coverage plans. Some surety companies offer towing services, car rental reimbursements, or media system replacement. "Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber : for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter." (Ecclesiastes 10:20).

Thanks to advances in technology, filing auto insurance claims are astonishingly easy. The policy number is the most essential piece of information needed. The policy number identifies the person or persons who are insured, the details of the insured's plan, and the dates of coverage. When a claim is filed, the individual is assigned to an insurance claims adjuster. The adjuster's job is to collect and assemble all the relevant data for the claim from the insured, witnesses, the highway authorities, and medical providers; if necessary. A decision is made by the surety company as to the amount of money that will be paid out for a claim. It would be helpful for the claimant to have prepared a detailed and concise statement about the incident or accident. If photos can be taken; all the better. Witness statements are added to reinforce the insured's loss claim. A report from the highway patrol or police will serve to document the event in case there is more than a mere insurance claim. Medical records are only needed when personal injuries are involved in auto insurance claims. When a person is not sure whether a physical trauma exists, seek medical attention. Unless attention is sought at the outset, there may be a problem in isolating a non-reported accident as the cause of an injury; later on down the road.

Naturally, accidents sometimes happen to people who consider themselves especially careful. Then, there is all of the rest of humanity. At some time or another in most people's lives (who drive cars), there will be an incident of some type. It could be something as innocent as a hail storm that dents your car. Or, there might be a Mack truck plunging toward a person head on (and they live to tell about it). Whatever the circumstance, dealing with auto insurance claims need not be the most traumatic part of the experience.

Auto Insurance Providers

Finding a long list of auto insurance providers is as simple as doing an internet search or opening the business directory section of the phone book. There are all kinds of companies, of various sizes, competing for the automobile owner's insurance business. So many companies and agents want to insure drivers that it might be tempting to just close one's eyes, point a finger, and say "that one." This method might work, but it might also create problems in the future. Choosing any insurer is fast and easy; choosing the most appropriate insurer for an individual's particular needs will need more time than it takes click a mouse or flip through some phone book pages. The best starting point is education. Consumers need to educate themselves on the different elements of a policy so that they can discuss these elements with an agent in an intelligent manner. For example, consumers should know the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage before purchasing a policy. Potential purchasers should know what specific benefits are offered by adding a roadside assistance feature to the policy and whether or not this feature is worth the added cost. Individuals should also be aware that larger deductibles can mean a reduction in premium. A lot of this information is available online so there is little excuse for not having at least a basic understanding of automobile insurance coverage. The websites hosted by auto insurance providers often provide at least some information on the basic types of coverage that can be very helpful to consumers.

Another great resource is the consumer's state department of insurance website. Some of these government websites provide educational information for consumers. Additionally, the site may include records on most, if not all, of the auto insurance providers licensed to operate in the state. For example, the state website might list the number of complaints the agency has received and compare that total to the number of policies written by a particular company. It's practically impossible for any company to have a one hundred percent approval rating, but a high ratio of complaints to policies is probably a good indication that this particular company should be avoided in favor of a company with a low ratio of complaints to policies. Another great resource for consumers is the grading system used by nationally-known and recognized rating firms. These firms grade insurance companies based on financial stability and other criteria. The better companies receive a grade of A while the best receive a grade of AAA. By choosing one of the auto insurance providers that have received a grade of A or better by one of these reputable firms, the consumer should be confident that he or she is making an intelligent choice.

Perhaps one of the most common ways of finding an insurance company is that reliable standby known as word-of-mouth. When consumers have positive experiences, they share those with family and friends. Of course, the opposite is also true. When consumers have negative experiences, they share those with family, friends, and anyone else who is willing to listen. A short list of possible auto insurance providers can be compiled just by asking family members, friends, and coworkers about their own automobile insurance carriers. To get even more opinions, the potential purchaser can visit opinion websites where consumers share experiences with a large variety of companies. Wisdom may be needed on these to filter out the legitimate complaints from the unreasonable demands of impossible-to-please customers. Some people just need to vent and use these opinion forums as a way to do just that. Even so, some relevant information can be gained from seeking the opinions of others, whether people that one knows or strangers on a website. As King Solomon once said: "Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction" (Proverbs 10:14). The more knowledge that the consumer can find about the companies on his short list of auto insurance providers, the more likely he will make an informed decision on which one to choose for his automobile coverage.

Oftentimes, a person chooses a company or perhaps an independent agent and then stays with that company or agent for several years without reviewing the policy or coverage. Time passes so quickly that the individual may not even realize how long it's been since she had done any comparison-shopping between auto insurance providers. Anyone who is looking for ways to cut spending in the household budget might want to take a look at the premiums being paid for automobile coverage. State laws vary when it comes to automobile coverage and responsible consumers, obviously, obey these laws. But there are still many variables involving features, deductibles, and coverage limits that a consumer needs to make. And each of these can raise or lower the premium. For example, an individual may find that she is paying for roadside assistance on her policy even though she also pays for roadside assistance through an automobile club. Depending on the various benefits offered by each, the individual may decide to delete that feature from her coverage or cancel the automobile club membership. Higher deductibles often result in lower premiums and the penny-pinching consumer should ask the agent about the premium costs for various deductibles so that an intelligent decision can be made on how high a deductible to have. Older vehicles with little value usually don't require collision coverage. By educating oneself on at least the basics of automobile coverage, compiling a short list of reputable auto insurance providers, and remembering to review one's own policy on a periodic basis, the wise consumer can be assured that the appropriate company is providing needed coverage at a fair premium.

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