Auto Insurance online - How it protects you and your vehicle

by Guest » Mon Dec 21, 2009 09:12 am

Every state requires you to purchase a minimum auto insurance or vehicle insurance coverage to protect you and others from damages caused by an accident. However, what kind of protection you will get depends on your state's auto insurance laws.

What is auto insurance?

Auto/vehicle insurance is where you pay a regular premium and the insurer compensates you for any financial loss that occurs if you get involved in an accident.

Because every state requires you to have the state minimum coverage, you should look for affordable auto insurance that will protect you if you have an accident. If you are a good driver and haven't had any parking tickets or accidents recently, then most insurance companies will offer you discount auto insurance policies.

What does auto insurance cover?

Your basic policy should cover the following:
  • Bodily Injury Liability: This provides protection if the driver, policyholder, or the policyholder's family member causes bodily injury to someone else.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): If the passengers and driver of the policy holder's vehicle are injured, PIP covers the cost of treatment and may also cover lost wages, cost of replacing services, and funeral costs. Search the internet for best auto insurance rates.
  • Property Damage Liability: If you or someone else permitted to drive your car damages others' property, this coverage will protect you. When you look for free auto insurance quotes, make sure you will be covered under the Property Damage Liability coverage.
  • Collision coverage: This compensates for damage to the policy holder's car as a result of collision with another car. Even if you are at fault, this term will cover the cost of repair to your car minus the deductible. If you are not at fault, then your insurer will try to recover the cost from the other driver's insurer.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Many of you may be asking yourselves "What is comprehensive auto insurance protection?". If you suffer a loss due to theft or a damage caused by something other than a collision, like a fire, explosion, earthquake, or windstorm, then this protects you.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM): Individuals who buy cheap car insurance are often underinsured and do not have enough money to pay for losses if they are involved in an accident. If an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver hits you or your family member, this term will reimburse the cost of your damages. You will also be protected if you are hit as a pedestrian. When you buy car insurance compare quotes for UM/UIM coverage from different companies.

What are the benefits of buying auto insurance online?

With many companies offering online auto insurance quotes, it is easier for you to research the policies, terms, and conditions and compare them. You can also check the company's auto insurance reviews to make the best choice.

Here are 4 benefits you can get if you buy auto insurance coverage online:
  • Easier research: The internet allows you to do extensive research on various companies without having to visit each company. You can easily find the cheapest legal auto insurance online to suit your budget.
  • 24/7 service: This is the best part about looking for information online; you can find information when you need it.
  • Manage a policy: You can manage your policy, print out proof of coverage, and view/ manage your bill online.
  • Claim: You can even file a claim online and follow it up online.

Which factors influence your auto insurance rates?

When you apply for an auto insurance coverage, the company sends over your application to the underwriters. The underwriters evaluate the level of risk associated with an applicant, and accordingly approve and fix his/her rate or reject the application. The factors which are usually considered for the auto insurance underwriting process are:

  1. Age and gender of the driver
  2. Driving records/ history of the one to be insured
  3. Prior claims history
  4. Efficiency of the driver (driving education)
  5. Model, make and type of the vehicle
  6. Age of the vehicle
  7. Mileage of the vehicle
  8. Location (where it'll be used)
  9. Purpose for which the vehicle is used (work, personal, pleasure or commercial etc.)
  10. How the vehicle is garaged
  11. Your choice of deductible, limits of coverage and benefits
  12. Auto insurance score
To know how these factors affect your auto insurance rates, click here.

Converting to a low cost policy

Discount auto insurance schemes can help you convert your basic policy into a low cost auto insurance policy. You can find many cheap auto insurance quotes that will allow you to save money and provide adequate coverage. Take a look at few of the ways to save money.
  1. Safety measures: A few insurers offer discounts for safety measures like anti-lock brakes on used cars.
  2. Multiple policy rates: Some of the bigger insurance companies that provide different types of insurance offer "bundle" rates if you buy several kinds of insurance, like life insurance and homeowner's insurance in addition to your car insurance.
  3. Safe driver's discount: In many cases, insurers offer a safe driver's discount if you go for a certain period without a ticket or accident, usually 3 years.
  4. Renewal discount: If you have been with an insurer for a long time, they might offer a renewal discount to get you to continue your current coverage.
  5. Discounts for students: If you are a student, unmarried, under the age of 25 years, and you meet the grade requirements, you may get cheap auto insurance.
  6. Choosing a higher deductible: If you choose a higher deductable, your premium payment will be less, but you will have to pay more if you have an accident.
  7. Type of car: The type of vehicle you buy is a factor your insurance agent uses to determine your auto insurance premium rate. The quotes you get for an expensive car will be higher than for a more standard car. The age and size of your car also determines how high your premium is.
  8. Good credit history: Maintaining good credit history may also entitle you to certain discounts.
  9. Low mileage discounts: Some companies may also offer certain percentage of discounts to individuals who drive less than the average number of miles each year. If you are one of them, then you may also get this privilege.
Apart from the above, there are other ways to maximize your auto insurance benefits while minimizing costs. Learn more...

Will your premium go up after you file a claim?

Every insurer will increase the amount of your premium if you are involved in an accident. The increase is decided by the auto insurance company you purchased your policy from.

If you have a bad driving record, your motor insurance company may refuse to renew your policy and varies from one company to another. Accidents caused by drunk driving are more likely to result in a non-renewal of your policy.

If you decide not to inform your insurer about a minor accident, it may cause problems later. If you get sued by the other driver, your auto policy provider might not cover you because of the time lapse. Even if the claim is not refused, it will be harder to find evidence to support your case.

No one can predict when they will get into an accident. Investing in automobile insurance, protects you and your family during accidents and from losing your license for driving without insurance.

Related readings

Useful auto insurance letter

I've heard of so many automobile insurance claims that affected the insured's premiums. Is it possible for anyone to guide me regarding the major auto claim factors that affect our premiums?

Total Comments: 154

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:07 am Post Subject:

Irrespective of whether it's a staged accident or not, the con artist will move to a different location with his car.

You would think that an Insurance Co would eventually 'catch on' to what is being done. (Just thinking outloud here..) If a person is caught doig this, would they have to pay the claim (money) back somehow?

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 08:42 am Post Subject:

If a person is caught doig this, would they have to pay the claim (money) back somehow?

I'm sure it wouldn't be easy for such con artists to get away with such claims. Insurers have the support of modern technology today and I'm sure they can identify between old and new scratches. So, a con artist would find it difficult to get his claim processed right at the very beginning.

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 06:35 am Post Subject:

Beware of the fake helpers. They'd wave at you conveying the wrong message. Once you're into traffic they'd crash on you and then file a claim. When the adjuster appears, the fake helper would surely deny waving at you.
Sometimes you will come across people who'd pretend as if they can really help you identify a good body shop. They might also refer a good lawyer or a doctor if the need be. You must not give in to such people and pay high amounts in terms of your lawyer charges or doctor's fees. Stay away from such unknown helpers.

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 08:50 am Post Subject:

Insurers would often resort to the ISO services to know the repair costs of different vehicles. All the vehicles manufactured in the US would be rated upon their ISO symbol. This symbol is associated with the worth of the vehicle.

If the symbol number associated with a particular vehicle is high then the premium for that particular vehicle would also be higher. This indicates more repair charges as the parts cost more.

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 07:31 am Post Subject:

Yes, the carriers would look at it as an important factor towards determining your insurance cost. The ISO symbol forms an important part of the carrier's rating system. A higher ISO symbol depicts your carrier's higher exposure following a claim.

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 06:14 am Post Subject:

A higher ISO symbol depicts your carrier's higher exposure following a claim.

There are certain carriers whose rating systems may seem more complex. Actually, these carriers would consult their claims history to arrive at the right symbol or factor on the basis of which they'd charge you.

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 03:24 am Post Subject:

Also....I've heard some say that, to determine what your premiums would be, they check your Credit,

Several states permit underwriting to base its "yes/no" decision on a person's credit report. California prohibits the use of a person's credit report as the "sole" reason for denying coverage, but it can be taken into consideration as an "adverse selection" factor.

Several years ago, the CDI Fraud Bureau published a report on Auto Insurance Fraud in California -- the #1 type of fraud committed year in and year out. According to the report, at the time (2004 or 2005), auto insurance fraud factored into as many as 48 out of every 100 claims in Orange County.

Joey Buttafuoco -- yes, that Joey B -- was arrested about 5 or 6 years ago here in California for "showing how to 'enhance' the damage to a vehicle" in order to inflate the claim to what turned out to be Auto Fraud Task Force investigators.

Another pair of fraudsters in 2001 or 2002 used the same two vehicles to defraud insurers out of several hundred thousand dollars in bogus auto collision claims. The would purchase policies from companies known to be lax in their underwriting, then submit photographs of the "damage" along with the claim form. Problem was, they did this so many times, they forgot which insurers they told what story to.

They were alternating their representation of "ownership" of the vehicles to the different companies, and they chose the same company twice, by mistake. Fortunately, the claim landed on the desk of a claims examiner who thought he remembered the vehicle and the damage. Sure enough, not only was it the same car as the earlier claim, but the damage was "identical". They were caught as a result.

California's Insurance Commissioners are quick to point out, appropriately, that insurance fraud creates the equivalent of a $500 annual tax on California residents, in the form of higher premiums and lower benefits.

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 06:39 am Post Subject:

They were caught as a result.

Well, it's really interesting how these fraudsters got caught. Now, I'd be curious to know if such con artists are still serving their jail term or is it that they're back to business. Are the Cali authorities really trying hard to curb such incidents?

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:09 pm Post Subject:

Funny you should ask if CA authorities are doing anything to curb auto insurance fraud. Here's the latest press release from the CDI on the subject:

For Release: January 13, 2010

Insurance Commissioner Poizner Announces Arrest of San Jose Man for Allegedly Ditching Car in Mexico, Reporting it Stolen, Filing False Insurance Claim

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Severiano Becerra, 48, of San Jose was arrested Jan. 12 in San Jose on suspicion of felony auto insurance fraud. If convicted, Becerra could face five years in prison. He is being held on $20,000 bail.

"Auto insurance fraud continues to cost residents of this state millions of dollars and rates continue to go up for drivers as we battle this crime," Commissioner Poizner said. "But it's a battle we will never back down from and those who commit these crimes will face justice."

A California Department of Insurance (CDI) Urban Auto Fraud Task Force investigation alleges that on Nov. 27, 2008, Becerra drove his Dodge Dakota pickup truck into Mexico and purposefully left the vehicle in that country and returned to San Jose. On Dec. 17, 2008, Becerra reported the vehicle as stolen to the San Jose Police Department. Becerra claimed the truck was stolen the same day from a shopping center parking lot in San Jose. Becerra then filed a claim with Infinity Insurance Co. after filing the police report.

Becerra signed and dated a stolen vehicle report taken by San Jose Police. Becerra also signed and dated an affidavit of vehicle theft that was notarized by Infinity Insurance. Both forms were signed under penalty of perjury. In both reports, Becerra allegedly lied about the circumstances of how his vehicle disappeared.

Infinity Insurance Co. became suspicious of the claim and asked CDI to start its own investigation. Becerra confessed when confronted with evidence that refuted his version of events and admitted he intentionally drove his Dodge Dakota into Mexico and left it there. Becerra also provided a written confession.

The Urban Organized Automobile Fraud Insurance Task Force is made up of investigators from CDI, the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Commissioner Poizner oversees 16 CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Approximately 2,000 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance's enforcement division since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other two year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:12 pm Post Subject:

The other pair I mentioned in the prior post are most likely out of prison by now. They were sentenced to 5 years, but that was back in 2002 or 2003. I'm sure they'll get caught if they try it again.

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