10 Things Your Auto Insurer Won't Tell You

Is a toad hiding in your engine? Here’s 10 little car insurance dirty secrets from SmartMoney:

10. “You’re paying too much.”
9. “Forget your driving record. We want your credit rating.”
8. “We’re pocketing your deductible.”
7. “We can dump you on a whim.”
6. “We’ll stiff you if your car is totaled…”
5. “…and even if it isn’t.”
4. “You need a lawyer.”
3. “Our body shops work for us, not you.”
2. “We make money by sitting on your claims.”
1. “We own your state insurance commission.”

Hit the link for the full explanation, but we thought the last one was notable. According to a WSJ article, which we can’t find, at the time this was written, 9 of the last 11 heads of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners left for private-sector insurance jobs afterwards.

10 Things Your Insurer Won’t Tell You [Steelelaw]
(Photo: the c-side)


The Consumerist insurance claims adjustor disagrees with some items on this list:

Most notably, #1.

Your state insurance department is most definitely not owned or influenced by any insurance company. Quite the contrary, if any consumer makes a legitimate complaint about any company, hellfire begins to rain down. Companies are always trying new things to see what they can pull off. Savvy consumers and insureds contact their state insurance department and file complaints, and the insurance company quickly has a change of heart.

#7- This isn’t true is most states. They can’t dump you on a whim. Rather, most states have specific regulations on when a company can drop you, and specifically why. Also it’s smart to be familiar with your policy. A common reason for being dropped: Material misrepresentation. Another word for that is lying. If the insurance company asks you if there’s anyone else living in your household, and you say no, but there are other people living there, that’s an additional risk the insurance company should know about. So say, if another person in the household drives the car, and hits someone and hurts them, the insurance company didn’t know they lived in the household, therefore weren’t aware of additional risk. Further, the insured lied to the company, which is material misrepresentation. In that case, the insurance company is no longer obligated to honor the policy, and likely WILL deny the claim.

#3- This is the primary reason to get an insurance company that doesn’t have their own body shops. It’s fine if the company has local shops that they work with, or ‘prefer’, but don’t require you to use. This basically means that if the body shop does a shoddy job fixing your car, you make enough complaints to your adjuster, and it puts the body shop in hot water, and could jeopardize their relationship with the insurance company by inadvertently giving them a bad name.

#2- Nope, they don’t make money sitting on your claims. Rather, adjusters who sit on claims usually get reamed by their supervisors for not promptly resolving claims and settling them out. Unfortunately, some things take time. Patience is required for things like this. They understand you are inconvenienced by not having your car….remember your adjuster is human too and has likely experienced the same thing. Be diligent and kind and usually things will move along at a good rate.