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Found this article and thought it warranted being posted. Either way it should start a good discussion. I am not recommending any of the insurance companies listed below.......they were in the article! This is just an FYI.


Hidden Auto Insurance Traps

J.D. Howard
Insurance Consumer Advocate Network, LLC

Seemingly minor caveats and clauses buried deep in the small print of auto insurance policies often spell the difference between good policies and bad ones. Ask your insurance agent or phone representative the following questions before signing an insurance contract, and confirm that the same answers are found in the policy itself.

Is this a “family policy” or a “named-insured-only” policy? Family policies cover all the drivers in the home and anyone they lend their cars to, while “named-insured-only” policies cover only drivers explicitly named on the policy. Family policies cost perhaps 10% to 15% more (or higher, depending on many factors, including the driving records of any of the other drivers), but they are the proper choice if anyone other than the policyholder ever drives the vehicle. Many car owners do not even realize that they have named-insured-only policies, and they lend their vehicles to friends and family members unaware that they might not be covered in the event of an accident.

Do I have the right to select my own repair facilities and choose original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts with this policy? Several insurance companies, including Geico, Nationwide and Progressive, have reworded some auto insurance contracts to limit car owners’ repair options following accidents. Using aftermarket parts -- parts not made by the vehicle’s manufacturer -- in a vehicle could void its warranty.

Example: Your radiator must be replaced following an accident. A year later, your engine seizes up. The dealership likely will refuse to honor your warranty because of the aftermarket radiator.

Does this insurance policy have an appraisal clause? This clause allows the policyholder to seek an appraisal if the insurance company offers less for a totaled vehicle than the policyholder believes it is worth.

Also ask: Does this appraisal clause allow for the appointment of a third participant by a “court of jurisdiction”? This way, if the policyholder’s and insurance company’s appraisers cannot agree on who to select as an umpire, either appraiser may request the appointment of an umpire by a court of jurisdiction to break the deadlock. If the answer to either of these questions is no -- beware. You might be powerless if your insurance company insists that your car is worth less than its Kelley Blue Book or NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Guide value.

Does the “Limits of Liability” section of the contract contain the phrase “as defined by us”? This section of your auto insurance policy sets limits on how much the insurer will pay. It might say that the insurer will pay “no more than the prevailing per hour labor rate of repair shops in the region,” or “no more than a competitive estimate of repair costs.”

Unfortunately, some insurers -- including Geico, Nationwide and Progressive -- have begun tacking the phrase “as defined by us” onto the end of these limitation clauses in some contracts, effectively giving the insurance company the right to insist on below-market repair rates. Their policyholders must either take their vehicle to the insurer’s “approved” repair shop, which is willing to do repairs for the lowball rate, or take the vehicle to a better repair shop and pay the difference out of pocket.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST INSURER

Some insurance companies make an honest effort to look out for their customers’ interests, while others mostly look out for their own bottom lines. Shrewd ways to tell which are which...

Check the level of customer complaints. Call your state’s department of insurance, and ask which insurers have the lowest rates of customer complaints.

In many states, Amica (800-242-6422, Amica Insurance - Auto Insurance Quotes, Home Insurance Quotes, Life Insurance, Marine, and Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance Quotes 800-24-AMICA) has the most satisfied customers. Other auto insurance companies with generally low rates of customer complaints are Erie (800-458-0811, option 1, ext. 3040, Auto, Home, Life and Business Insurance from Erie Insurance) and State Farm (contact a local agent for a quote, State Farm Insurance - Auto, Life, Homeowners, & More).

Check customer satisfaction ratings. Business research firm JD Power and Associates produces its own annual survey of auto insurance customer satisfaction. Its most recent ratings are available at Ratings | J.D. Power. Amica, State Farm, Erie, Auto-Owners and American National Property and Casualty ranked high in the most recent survey.

Get recommendations from body shop managers or owners. Ask which insurers treat their customers well and which try to cut corners on repairs.


Interviewed: J.D. Howard, executive director of the Insurance Consumer Advocate Network, an insurance consumer advocacy organization (Insurance Consumer Advocate Network . . . Empowering Consumers Nationwide !). Howard has worked in the insurance industry since 1965, mainly as an insurance adjuster.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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Note down at the bottom of the J. D. Power chart that USAA has 5 gold blobs all the way across! Not many of the others even get four.

It's listed separately and not included in the discussion because it deals only with a restricted set of clients—those who have served honorably in the US military. See this recent thread for further details and endorsements by our members.
 

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One thing I found recently, thankfully not the hard way, is that coverage for your car during a test drive falls under your policy. So if you "loan" your car to a prospective buyer so he or she can test drive it, and that driver subsequently crashes your car, it's on your policy.
 

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2007 Forester XT Sport
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One thing they don't mention is if you do not have medical payments and uninsured motorist coverage on your policy, you are under-insured. If you or someone else is injured in an auto accident, regular medical insurance has no liability to pay or if they do, they will go through subro to reclaim their money. You could be stuck paying out of pocket for medical bills if you do not have this coverage.

also (slightly off topic) but if you get a settlement from an accident, read the fine print. It could say 'to cover all current and future medical claims" which means your medical will never cover any claim related to the accident now or in the future (and if they have paid already you will have to pay them back out of this settlement).
 

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HI,

This auto insurance traps its used in the vehicle owners, Some auto insurance policies are family style, meaning that they cover anyone who drives the car with the owner’s permission. Others are “named-insured only,” meaning that they cover only drivers specifically named on the policy.

If a car owner with a named-insured-only policy lends the vehicle to a friend or relative who then causes an accident, the car owner could be personally liable for all damages. If serious injuries are involved, the car owner might lose everything he owns in a lawsuit.


Thank you....
 
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