If error by fallible human drivers causes 90% of car crashes, what will happen in the future when most or all of the cars on the road are autonomous? Insurance companies are already working on the answer to that question, and one of them, State Farm, had a few years’ head start. [More]
Kids grow. This may not come as a surprise to most of us, who were ourselves children one, but health insurance companies are not necessarily prepared for this facet of reality. And where reality and bureaucracy can really come into hard conflict is when kids who need durable medical equipment might — gasp — outgrow the tech, which doesn’t grow at all.
Unfortunately, we don’t all carry little elves on our person who can administer a hefty poke when we need to snap to attention. State Farm is working on a way to solve that issue with a patent for a wearable device system that can alert drivers who might be nodding off, distracted, or intoxicated behind the wheel. [More]
Open enrollment for insurance is the very special time of year when at your job or on a health insurance exchange, you are able to add or drop insurance or change plans for any reason or for no reason. It also exists for other kinds of insurance, like insurance on your mobile phone. AT&T is running an open enrollment period now, if you want phone insurance but failed to sign up within 30 days of buying yours. [More]
We’ve already seen that unconscious patients can end up with huge medical bills when an ambulance takes them to a hospital that doesn’t accept their insurance. But even if you’re conscious enough to point the driver toward the right hospital, you could still be stuck owing hundreds, even thousands, of dollars because that ambulance ride isn’t covered by your insurance. [More]
Renting a home means that you’re not responsible for fixing the leaky roof or replacing the broken furnace, and you aren’t wedded to a mortgage for the rest of your life. But according to a new analysis of auto insurance rates, it also means you could be paying a lot more to insure your car. [More]
We recently wrote about the apparent reluctance of drivers to join auto insurance programs that could save them money in exchange for giving up some of their privacy. While many people want little to do with this sort of tracking, there are still a large number of consumers who don’t take such a hardline stance and are willing to consider ceding their privacy if they receive some benefit in return. [More]
A longstanding complaint against auto insurance is that it sometimes lumps in drivers based on things — like location, type of car, and age — that may have little-to-nothing to do with a particular driver’s behavior or history. In recent years, some insurers have begun offering drivers a way to get more personalized rates by allowing the insurance company to track their vehicular movements, but many American consumers simply aren’t willing to share that information. [More]
3 Things We’ve Learned About How Demographics, Credit Scores & Marital Status Affect Your Car Insurance Rates
When you get a quote for car insurance, you might think that only a few things matter — your driving record, the cost and use of your vehicle, the type of coverage you need, and other factors directly related to operating an automobile. But the fact is that many insurers are basing your insurance quotes on data points that have nothing to do with driving, like your credit score, marital status, and ZIP code. New research shows that determining price using these types of demographic and financial factors (rather than driving record alone) can have a serious impact on the affordability of car insurance. [More]
Sometimes, it’s annoying to watch television and see ads for businesses or products that don’t exist in your area, like the Sonic ads on cable that taunted us here in the Northeast for years. In a series of Allstate ads that air nationwide, the insurer talks about a biannual bonus check that customers who don’t get in accidents receive. “Where’s my check?” asked one Allstate customer who hasn’t had an accident in decades. Where, indeed? [More]
Earlier this week, we told you how a Senate committee was investigating huge price hikes on a handful of niche-market prescription drugs. The companies involved in those probes are generally newer, smaller operations — but it looks like two much bigger names in the pharmaceuticals industry are also being asked about the prices of their drugs. [More]
When you head into the emergency room, you might assume that the doctors you see are hospital employees who accept the same insurance plans as their employer. But nearly two-thirds of hospitals now staff their ERs with freelance physicians who might not accept your insurance plan, meaning you’ll be on the hook for whatever your insurer doesn’t pay. In addition to the potential added financial burden, some patients now have to drive far out of their way to find an ER that won’t hit them with a surprise medical bill. [More]
Part of the fun of owning a Jeep can be taking it off-road, if that’s a thing that interests you. Here’s the problem with driving far from paved roads, though: when someone’s vehicle breaks down or there’s an accident, specialized towing equipment and staff are involved. That’s how one driver ended up with a $48,000 bill that neither he nor his insurance want to pay. [More]
Anthem Blue Cross Will Pay $8.3M To Customers To Settle Class-Action Suit Over Mid-Year Policy Changes
When you sign up for an insurance policy, you’re given a price for that plan for the year. So when California consumers discovered changes to their Anthem Blue Cross policies in the middle of the year that came with extra out-of-pocket costs, two policyholders filed a class-action lawsuit against the insurance provider in 2011. Anthem Blue Cross has now agreed to a settlement that includes reimbursing about 50,000 customers in California almost $8.3 million.
The kiosks at pharmacies where you can take your blood pressure, pulse, and maybe even weigh yourself aren’t just for killing time while you wait for a prescription. Well, they’re mostly for that, but Walmart will be trying out a new rewards card that compensates customers to visit the checkup kiosks to take a few measurements. [More]
USPS Denies It Has Missing Damaged Package, Still Turns Down Customer’s Insurance Claim After Finding It
It’s always a good idea to purchase insurance for your packages, especially if you’re mailing something valuable. But even having that protection didn’t keep one USPS customer from ending up with broken equipment and no insurance payment to cover the cost of replacing or fixing it.