Category Archives: Insurance

Car Accident Have the Same Insurance Company

You’ve just been in a car accident. When you exchange insurance cards you find that you and the other drive have the same insurance company.

Is this a good thing?

Will it speed up the settlement of any claims?

You might think so. But the truth? Probably not, according to insurance experts and attorneys interviewed by NetQuote.

ALSO: Find the Cheapest Car Insurance in Your City

“Things go the way they usually do,” says David Meltzer, an insurance agent with Baltimore’s East Insurance Group.

Meltzer did say there is one important exception, and it has to do with your deductible if you are the person who was hit and the other driver will probably be found at fault in the accident.

 

What same insurance means for deductibles

Say you’re the driver who was hit: Your insurance company, because it represents both you and the driver who hit you, might not require you to pay your deductible when you repair your car. This is a significant change. In most accidents when you and the other driver are represented by different insurance companies, even if you are not at fault, you might have to pay upfront for some of the repairs to your car, depending on your deductible.

If an accident caused $3,000 of damage to your car and your deductible is $500, you’d have to pay for the first $500 of repair work before your insurance company picks up the cost of the remaining $2,500. If you are eventually found not to be at fault, your insurance company would most often reimburse you for the amount you paid out of pocket.

ALSO: Is the Car of Driver Insured?

If you and the other driver are represented by the same insurance company, the process works a bit differently, Meltzer says. In such instances, the insurance company usually doesn’t require a driver who was hit and clearly not at fault to pay any money out-of-pocket for car repairs. That money instead would usually come from the policy of the driver who was to blame for the accident.

Of course, this only holds true when it’s clear who was at fault. The deductible benefit might not come into play if the insurance company and its adjustors need to investigate which of the drivers actually caused the accident.

 

Don’t expect faster insurance claims

Besides the deductible situation, there are no other benefits – or disadvantages – when both drivers have the same insurance, says Evan Walker, a personal injury attorney based in La Jolla, California, who routinely handles auto accident cases.

Walker saysthat insurance companies are required to treat claims the same whether the other driver is represented by the same insurer or a different one.

“It doesn’t really make a difference,” Walker says. “Insurance companies have statutory duties to handle claims efficiently.”

Know More About Uninsured Motorist Insurance

An estimated 12.6 drivers in the United States are currently uninsured. What impact does this have to a licensed, law abiding driver? It means costs might not be covered when someone with no insurance hits your car, leaving you to pay out-of-pocket for damage and/or medical bills. Drivers with minimum insurance may not have enough liability coverage to pay your expenses.

Plus, chances are that these people with inadequate or no insurance do not have the money to pay for the damages on their own, which is where uninsured motorist property damage insurance comes into play.

Today, many insurance companies offer uninsured motorist property damage in their coverage to protect insured drivers from uninsured drivers. Uninsured motorist property damage insurance coverage can help pay for damage — up to your coverage limits — when accidents with uninsured motorists occur.

To help you better understand the situation, autoinsurancecenter.com has compiled a list of important questions, topics and items to know when it comes to uninsured motorist property damage insurance and how you can be best protected against uninsured motorists when they are the at-fault party.

 

What is an uninsured motorist?

An uninsured motorist is defined as “one who has no insurance, does not have insurance that meets state-required minimum liability amounts, or whose insurance company is unwilling or unable to pay the claim.”

Furthermore, a hit-and-run driver would be considered an uninsured motorist, as the cost of fixing the damage is left up to you.

 

What is uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage insurance?

First, uninsured motorist property damage coverage comes into play when the other driver involved is determined to be at-fault (or at least partially at-fault) for the accident. This at-fault driver must have either no insurance or inadequate insurance coverage. An underinsured motorist is a driver whose liability limits are too low to cover vehicle and medical costs in an accident where they are at-fault.

ALSO: Switching Car Insurance Companies: When Can You Cancel?

The function of uninsured motorist property damage insurance is to pay for the vehicle damage when the at-fault party does not have auto liability insurance. Most uninsured motorist property damage insurance will pay only up to the value of your vehicle, but it depends on your coverage and what state you currently reside.

If under your insurance policy, you do not have collision coverage, uninsured motorist property damage will pay up to a certain amount for car repairs. Depending on your state of residence, the limit might be up to $3,500. Some states will have the limit that matches the actual cash value of the vehicle. Again, check to see what your limit is within your current state. This goes the same for deductibles, as some states have uninsured motorist property damage insurance with a deductible, normally ranging from $200 to $500.

 

What does uninsured motorist insurance cover?

While uninsured motorist property damage insurance covers car damage, uninsured motorist insurance primarily covers two areas, bodily injury and property damage. Many states require uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance, while uninsured motorist property damage coverage is not required in every state.

With bodily injury, the insurance may help with injury costs caused by the accident. Moreover, in some states, this coverage may include family members and passengers also in the car. The property damage definition includes covering the cost to repair the car after an accident. In certain cases, property damage may include valuable items damaged from the accident, such as computers, cell phones or other devices as well as property, such as fences or a mailbox. Again, this varies from situation to situation and the state you currently reside in.

Repair a Cracked Windshield

Just one tiny rock hitting your windshield can trigger a chain of events that can ultimately lead to costly repairs and potentially compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle. Even a small chip can crack and spread across your windshield over time.

And in most states, you can get a ticket for driving with a damaged windshield if the crack is large enough to impair the driver’s vision.

Needless to say, there are financial and safety reasons for fixing a damaged windshield in a timely manner. The good news is that as long as the damage is caused by something other than a collision, most insurance companies will not count auto glass damage as a claim on your policy, as long as you’ve comprehensive coverage.

Many companies pay for windshield repairs at 100 percent coverage.

Here are a few things you need to know about windshield repair and what’s covered by insurance. Be sure and ask about windshield repair coverage when shopping for auto insurance.

 

Why you should fix a chipped windshield

The windshield provides a significant portion of structural support to the cabin of a vehicle and helps keep the roof in place in the event of a rollover. According to the Auto Glass Safety Council, the windshield provides up to 45 percent of the cabin’s structural integrity in a front-end collision, and up to 60 percent in a rollover.

It also allows the airbags to properly deploy to cushion passengers, and it prevents people from being ejected in a serious collision.

ALSO: How Much Is Traffic Congestion Costing You?

When the damage is minor, taking early action almost always prevents the damage from spreading.

“Even if it’s a small chip, don’t wait. Because the glass layers in windshields are now thinner, most chips will eventually crack,” says Melina Metzger, spokeswoman for Safelite Group, a third-party administrator of auto glass claims for more than 175 insurance companies.

Cold and hot weather can make small chips spread quickly, so repairing chips as soon as they occur helps to eliminate the need for replacements in the future.

 

What your auto insurance covers

There is usually no deductible for windshield repairs as long as you have comprehensive coverage and that your policy covers windshield damage.

“Typically, the comprehensive portion of your insurance policy covers windshield cracks or vehicle glass damage. However, many car insurance companies have a separate section of the policy that defines coverage for glass breakage,” Metzger says.

This special coverage may allow for a lesser deductible owed on windshield replacement.

If you have a high deductible without specific glass coverage, it’s a good idea to think twice about filing a claim if the cost of your repair is only a small amount greater than the cost of your deductible, Metzger says.

Cars Come to Your State

The day when self-driving cars will be sharing the road with human drivers is closer than you might think.

And in some ways, it’s already here.

But vehicles that take the driver out of the equation aren’t as futuristic as they sound. In fact, according to Business Insider, it is estimated that nearly 10 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2020.

There were 22 companies testing autonomous vehicles in California as of February 2017, and Uber began offering autonomous vehicle rides, with a backup driver, in Pittsburgh last October.

Ford has announced plans to have a “high-volume, fully automated” autonomous vehicle commercially available by 2021 through a ride-sharing service. The vehicle will not have a steering wheel or pedals.

“Full autonomy is really just around the corner. It’s all the more amazing when you think about all the various hurdles that still have to be overcome between now and that point in time,” says Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis for the automotive research firm AutoPacific.

A new report suggests that states will need to take the lead in dealing with the traffic and safety issues that will arise when autonomous and driver-operated vehicles start sharing the roads. The Governors Highway Safety Association issued the report in February. As of today, no state has enacted a law prohibiting autonomous vehicle testing or operations, and  self-driving cars can operate legally in most, if not all states without any explicit authorizing legislation, according to the report.

One of the key challenges is how drivers of more traditional cars will react when they’re sharing the roads with autonomous vehicles, says Kara Macek, spokeswoman for the GHSA.

For example if autonomous vehicles are following the speed limit, will human drivers become aggressive around those vehicles? Research shows that they could, Macek says.

“Should they be programmed to break the law? We don’t have the answers, just the questions,” she says.

Another key takeaway from the report is the recommendation that states don’t rush to into passing laws or establishing regulations regarding issues related to autonomous vehicles.

“We’re really looking for model state laws to be developed and help states navigate so we don’t end up with a patchwork of inconsistency in this country,” Macek says. “So we’re looking to the federal government on some of those issues, in terms of establishing coordinated policies and practices.”

The Society of Automotive Engineers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationdefines autonomous vehicles on a 0 to 5 scale, with Level 0 being no automation and Level 5 being full self-driving under all conditions, in which a vehicle can operate without a human driver or occupants.

More Technology and a Family Focus

Looking for a new car in 2018? There’s never been a better year for the American buyer.

Many models rolling onto showroom floors this year were designed specifically for the American market — even those from foreign automakers.

Take the all-new Volkswagen Atlas. It’s made in the United States for the American market. It’s large size and moderate price is expected to be a hit among minivan buyers.

“This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we’re known for, now with room for seven,” says Hinrich Woebcken, the head of Volkswagen’s North America Region. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market.”

Honda also took a cue from American consumers with its newly redesigned Honda Odyssey. The minivan has reconfigured seating for greater accessibilty for growing families, plus better tech features to appeal to Millennial buyers.

Technology was the buzzword for many auto manufacturers as they rolled out their 2018 models.

Cameras and sensors are now all working to help the driver stay aware of the surroundings and help the vehicle avoid collisions. Connectivity is also a priority, both between the vehicle and your smart devices, but also helping the passengers connect with the world.

“There is new technology being deployed across a wider range of cars,” says  IHS Automotive Senior Analyst Stephanie Brinley. “There are cars that can communicate with the home, and the car is increasingly a part of the Internet of Things. The pace of that integration is likely to increase.”