8/11/2011 11:50 AM ET|
5 claims insurers want you to make
In some cases, insurance companies won’t mind if you file a claim, particularly if someone else is paying.
Insurance companies are great judges of character. They've spent decades honing their skills at predicting whether you'll crash your car, burn your house down, fall ill or live a shorter-than-average life. That depth of knowledge is based on claims information -- who's made them, how often and how much the insurers got stuck for.
So you'd assume that insurance companies frown upon any type of claim. But there are cases in which an insurer is probably happy about your claim. How can this be? Here are five examples.
1. A claim they don't owe you money for
People submit claims all the time that insurers don't owe money on -- because the claim is lower than the customer's deductible. For example, if I crash into a stone wall and incur $900 worth of car damage and the deductible on my collision insurance is $1,000, my insurer doesn't owe me anything.
If you take away only one thing, take this: Don't report damage you won't be making a claim on. It will still likely make its way to your CLUE report, which is a seven-year history of property-damage claims that could affect your ability to buy cheap insurance in the future.
2. A claim the government will have to pay
Flood damage claim? Come on down! Flood insurance is generally provided through the federal government, so the National Flood Insurance Program will pay -- a program that, by the way, is on the verge of financial collapse.
3. A claim that someone else has to pay
If you've crashed a rental car, you may be making a claim against insurance that's not your personal auto policy. For example, if you charged the rental to a credit card, your credit card company may have automatic coverage. Or if you purchased the rental car agency's insurance, that coverage will kick in first, and your own collision coverage, if you have it, will be "excess" coverage.
And it's probably better that way. Making a claim on alternative insurance keeps your own insurance record clean and saves you from paying your collision deductible.
4. A claim on someone else's policy
Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to carry liability insurance for the damage they do to others. If someone crashes into you, you should make a property-damage claim on that driver's auto policy, not your own collision coverage.
By making a claim on someone else's policy, you can avoid paying your collision deductible, and your own insurer will be perfectly happy with your decision.
5. A claim that will eventually save them money
Occasionally, an insurance claim can head off future, bigger claims, so who wouldn't be happy about that? Take, for instance, a visit to the doctor for preventive care that leads to the early diagnosis and treatment of what could have turned into a severe medical condition.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, health insurers must cover preventive care 100%, so a checkup may not cost you anything. This health care reform timeline shows other current and upcoming provisions.
I'm sure your goal in life isn't to make a big insurance company happy. But remember that keeping your own insurance record as uncluttered as possible will likely help keep your future rates down.
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I don't know about claims the insurance companies 'want' you to make, but I know about claims that some insurance companies just don't care if you make. My wife was hit by a drunk driver on April 2, 2007. Naturally he had no insurance. Problem was, we found out my wife didn't either. Yes, she had 'full coverage' on her car with Alfa insurance. And she had a United Healthcare policy through her job. And the combined total these two criminal organizations paid was less than 35 thousand. The surgeons bill was more than that. Weeks in the hospital, months of physical therapy, none paid by the CRIMINAL organizations named Alfa Insurance and United Healthcare Insurance. (Sue me. I dare you)
So if you think you have insurance, and the carrier is either of the criminal organizations named above, you are wrong. You are paying money for nothing.
I work in claims for an insurance company and while there are some great insurance carriers out there, there are definitely a lot of bad ones too.
SHB-I feel your pain, buddy. I got rear-ended at a stoplight in April by someone who had their insurance through ALFA. The guy who hit me admitted that he was entering an address into his GPS and that it was totally his fault, but ALFA still tried to fight me on liability. Once I started rattling off my insurance titles and designations, they finally shut up and fixed my damn car. I know the system and I had to fight with them; I can only imagine how they are with people who don't know insurance.
Old Man 76-You might need a lawyer if you run into a bad insurance company, but generally involving attorneys winds up costing you a lot of uncessary money and wasted time. Attorneys get 1/3 of your settlement amount, and we don't pay more than we owe just because you have attorney's fees. If you have a company that is willing to talk and negotiate with you, you will get the most fair settlement by going it alone, despite what the lawyers say.
For the most part, they (insurance companies) are parasites! You are required to have it but when it comes time to collect both companies claim no fault. Getting any help from the state insurance commission is a joke as well. What a bunch of thieves!
All Insurance is a waste of time & a legal scam! And STATE FARM is the worst of the bunch! After Katrina hit Mississippi : STATE FARM reneged on the majority of all Home insurance clams ! Like they had also done in Florida & Oklahoma ! And rewriting the laws of Weather Physics to confound the US Courts! Water/ Wind all the same! And still made billions in profit!
The Insurance company spend a huge amount of lobby money on changing laws in their favor with CONGRESS , so much so, they have completely forgotten who we the customers are! Legal Criminals !
They are very good at collecting Money , but remiss about paying clams ! Unsafe at any speed DON'T BUY INSURANCE! If your bank make you buy insurance : Only buy the minimum amount, because you will never get anything back! SCAM !
I am very sorry for the difficult situation that you and your wife went through. The problem with insurance is that when most people call in to get their policy set up they ask for full coverage and normally only want state minimums for liability. This keeps the rate low. So in the case of you wife's accident she likely had state minimums for liability which in most states her uninsured motorist coverage equals that same amount, hence ALFA insurance only being able to pay out $20K. Now as for her medical insurance, they must have had a clause somewhere making any available car insurance primary coverage.
I assure you I am just as guilty as most people. We get our policy info in the mail and stick it in a filing cabinet. Then you find out what it says the hard way. I now work for an auto insurer and handle these claims daily. Within a week of starting several years ago I changed everything on my policy. Yes we get called the devil amongst other things. But the fact of the matter is that an insurance company will not pay out more than it is obligated to do so by your policy contract. If they did that they would have to apply to a charitable organization.
Good thing you had better coverages than she did with USAA.
I suggest everyone read your contracts. Yes they are long, but honestly they are not difficult to understand. If you don't understand something, call and ask. Understand that your insurance policy is largely controlled by the state.
It will never be the insurance companies fault that you do not have enough coverage, as you are the one that selects it.
A deductible applies if you file under your policy regardless of fault. If you were not at fault there might be recovery. Your insurance company will likely do it for you.
Look in to Medical Payment Coverage or Personal Injury Protection to add to your policy. It is not expensive. You will normally have quicker access to this money than you will settling a bodily injury claim with the at fault parties carrier.
Look at your liability limits for property damage. Some states have very low limits, some as low as 5-15k. Yes, if you raise them your monthly premiums will go up but you will have more protection. Labor rates for car repair can range from $40-60 an hour. It adds up quickly. A simple bumper replacement on a new vehicle can cost around $1k.
Liability coverage for bodily injury. An injured person with moderate whiplash injuries can treat for approx 3-4 months to include hospital visit, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, neurosurgeon, orthopedic specialist, and maybe throw in a MRI. $10-20k. This person is likely milking it, but it happens. So just imagine if you seriously injury a person.
Last thing. Umbrella policies are very reasonable to protect you assets. A 1 million dollar policy can run $100-200 a year. Not everyone needs this.
The problem is not insurance or health coverage , the worst problem is lawyers .
If their is a cap on the law suits , almost everything around us will cost less.
I like the guy who said he stuck it to the insurance company by hiring the most expensive roofer in town and getting more roof than he originally had. Yeah. Stick it to the man! Of course what he doesn't realize is that we are all the man when it comes to insurance as the risk is spread out amongst all of the policy holders (you know, to keep the costs down) and we all pay when someone abuses the system. I also hope he understands that his next insurance policy premium will be even higher as his premium is based on his claims experience or history and regardless which carrier writes his next policy, they will know about his past claims and charge him accordingly.
You're right! Insurance companies are really great organizations. They are the nicest people in the world while you are paying your premiums and until you have to file a claim. Next to scumbag lawyers, insurance companies are next in line. And yes! We could do quite well without the institution of insurance.
what a crock of crap, insurance company's are the biggest bunch of rip offs, awe the poor things don't make any money, if they don't make any money then how come there are thousands and thousands of insurance company's, insurance company's doctors hospitals lawyers and Politian's are all a bunch of greedy a$$ crooks
You hit the nail on the head. "You insurance company knows the fine print, so should you."
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