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Low Rate Car Insurance - The Cost of Insurance Fraud

One of the main reasons car insurance is so expensive is because car insurance fraud continues to be a major issue. It’s reported that over 11 billion dollars are spent on fraudulent cases each year. But how do criminals get away with it and how can you tell if you’ve been a victim?

There are many ways in which car insurance fraud can be perpetrated…

One of the most popular is what’s called “staged accidents”. This is an accident in which a team of two drivers intentionally run into you in a way that catches you by surprise and is done in a way that is almost impossible to stop if you don’t recognize it as it’s happening. Usually, the first driver will move in front of your vehicle and as they slam on their brakes attempting to have you run into them, the second drive will have pulled along side you, pinning you in so you have no option but to ram the car in front of you or hit the second driver’s car. More often than not, the team of drivers will pick on cars that are driving in the right lane and during a time of heavy traffic. The majority of the time, when a car is rear-ended, it is the fault of the car that did the rear-ending.

Another type of staged accident happens when you’re driving and you see a driver wave you into their lane. And just as you move into the lane, they collide purposely with you, making it appear that it was your fault.

A second type of insurance fraud happens at auto shops. Typically, a dubious shop will bill above the actual price, even billing for work that wasn’t even done. Sometimes they will cause further damage to the vehicle or over-quote a job which they of course can bill an insurance company for.

Being able to recognize these types of scams in advance can, in the long run, help you avoid fraud and contribute to keeping your insurance rates down. If you see something that looks suspicious, whether it’s to you or someone else, make sure you write down any details and pass them on to the proper authorities.

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    Low Rate Car Insurance - Do I Need Gap Insurance?

    GAP insurance is designed to provide insurance protection for new cars that are being financed. If a car were to be stolen or totaled in an accident, Gap insurance will pay the difference between the cash value of the car and the current outstanding balance on your auto loan or lease. When a new car is driven off the lot, it depreciates quite a bit. If your car were stolen a week later, your insurance company would pay what the cash value is on the car, not what you paid for it the previous week. Because of depreciation, this cash value would be quite a bit lower than what you paid and you would be stuck paying off the difference. That’s where Gap car insurance comes in.

    Typically, Gap insurance covers accidents and thefts but it’s wise to check with your agent and make sure, because as we know, all policies are not created equally. Find out if it covers fire, tornado, vandalism or any other concerns you may have.

    Gap insurance is not required when you buy a policy for your car. When you purchase your car, the dealership may ask you if you want to purchase Gap insurance from them. Normally you don’t want to do this because the premium price offered by dealerships is typically very high. Ask your agent if they offer it and how much it costs. Some insurance companies build in Gap insurance into your policy automatically so you may already have it.

    Car owners generally assume that if their car is totaled or stolen, their policy will cover the value of the car, which many assume is what they owe on the vehicle were they to finance it. What you owe on the car and what the actual value of the car is almost never the same.

    If you want Gap insurance, find out if there are any exclusions to the policy such as maximum limit or loss. The policy might have a maximum coverage dollar-wise or a ceiling on the loan-to-car-value ratio that they won’t go beyond. There also might be exclusions having to do with how your auto loan or lease is structured, loan amount or term of loan. Check all details with your car insurance agent before you buy. It’s also a good idea to estimate how long you’ll need the policy based on your car’s value moving on into the future. Your car’s greatest rate of depreciation is when you drive it off the lot and slows down considerably after that.

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    Low Rate Car Insurance - A Good Time to Compare Car Insurance Rates

    One way to save money on your car insurance rates is insuring multiple cars on one policy.

    According to Insurance.com in a press release dated 9/18/06, “the best time for drivers to compare auto insurance rates is during major life events such as getting married or purchasing a new home. When couples get married they not only start a new life together, they also merge their assets together. However, one item that many couples neglect to combine is their auto insurance. By taking advantage of this opportunity, newlyweds can potentially save hundreds of dollars off their annual auto insurance premiums by shopping around and comparing prices.”

    This is good advice. There are many insurance companies that will offer discounts for insuring multiple cars. But why wait for a major life event to take place? If you don’t have all your cars on one policy, start looking for a low rate car insurance policy that covers multiple cars. Ask your agent or shop around.

    According to the press release, “…another life event that can impact a driver’s auto insurance policy is moving or purchasing a new home in a different zip code. If a driver lives in rural community with little crime and traffic congestion, their premium will generally be lower than if they lived in an urban area where their car would more likely be involved in an accident.”

    Again, this is wise advice. If you fall into this category, check with your agent and make sure they have your latest and greatest personal information. It can save you money in the short term and the long run.

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    More Car Insurance Terms (Part 2)

    Continued from yesterday, here are more terms that will help you when speaking to a Car Insurance Agent or reading a policy. Yesterday, we reviewed terms beginning with the letters ranging from “A - M”. Today, we’ll tackle terms beginning with the letters “N - P”:

    • Named Insured
      This is any person or company designated by name as the insured person(s) in a policy. There are others may be protected by the policy definition even though their names aren’t on the policy.
    • Named Non-Owner Policy
      This is a policy endorsement for the one who operates any non-owned automobile on a regular basis. For instance, an employee driving his employer’s car.
    • No-Fault Insurance
      Some states have auto accident compensation laws permitting accident victims to collect directly from their own insurance companies for various expenses regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
    • Per Occurrence Limit
      Per occurrence limit refers to the cap amount an insurance company will pay for all claims arising from a single incident.
    • Per Person Limit
      Per person limit refers to the cap amount an insurance company will pay for any one person’s injuries arising from a single incident.
    • Personal Auto Policy
      This type of policy is the most common car insurance policy sold today. The policy is written in a way that’s easy to understand and provides coverage for many things including liability, physical damage, medical payments, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
    • Personal Injury Protection
      No-fault benefits in states that have mandatory/optional no-fault auto insurance laws are normally called “personal injury protection”. Typically it includes benefits for medical expenses, loss of income from work, accidental death, and more.
    • Physical Damage
      This is considered damage to the covered vehicle from actions including collision, fire, vandalism and theft among other things.
    • Policy
      This is the written documents of a contract for insurance between the insurance company and the insured person or group.
    • Policy Period
      The period of time in which a policy is in effect.
    • Policyholder
      The person who is listed as owner of the insurance policy.
    • Preferred Risk
      This is any risk considered to be better than the standard risk on which the premium rate was calculated.
    • Premium
      The price of insurance a person pays for a specified risk for a specified period of time. Also called the “insurance premium”.
    • Property Damage Liability Insurance
      This is protection against liability for damage to another’s property including loss of use. While this coverage is different than liability for bodily injury to another person, these two types of protection, body and property, are generally combined in the same policy.
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