Saturday, January 1, 2011

Auto Claim Disputes

If your insurance adjuster agrees that you should be rightly compensated for auto damages but disagrees on the amount of the claim, your policy has an inexpensive protocol built right into it that can be activated. It is known as the appraisal clause.

Practically every personal policy (i.e. home, auto, recreational vehicle, etc.) contains an appraisal clause that is often neglected and unknown to the ordinary insurance purchaser and seldom used. Use the appraisal clause when you and your insurance provider disagree about the value of your claim.

When you or your insurance provider requests an appraisal under these circumstances (if you want to request an appraisal send your insurance company a letter with such a statement) each assembly must pick an appraiser to represent himself. The two appraisers independently choose an umpire to mediate the situation if the two appraisers cannot negotiate to an effective conclusion. This umpire does not have to be an impressive judge, but an expert regarding the insurance subject and an unbiased, balanced party. Each assembly pays for their own appraiser and splits additional appraiser expenses, including umpire costing.

Fortunately you do not have to accept the insurance company’s conclusive claim settlement. The process is additionally cheaper than arbitration or legal judgement.

Remember to use the appraisal clause only after the full extent of negotiations between you and your insurance adjuster to agree on the fair claim amount have failed.

S. A. Reaves

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Insurance Auto Claims

Automobile claims are underpaid or rejected for three reasons: 1) the claim processed is never covered by any policy, 2) the claim processed isn’t covered all or partially by your policy (in comparison to a more watertight policy), and 3) the claim is processed incorrectly by the insurance company (it happens more often than you think).Let’s make sure you get full payment for an automobile claim.

If you have been involved in a collision and you have collision cover on your automobile policy you will be paid to fully repair your car or replace it if it’s completely written off irrespective of whose fault it may be (less the deductible). If you do not have collision coverage the cost of repairs must come out of your own pocket.

When you are involved in a collision that is caused by another driver you have the choice to either claim from your own collision insurance or from the other driver’s liability insurance (provided he has liability insurance). If you are without collision coverage your only option is to collect from his liability policy or from him personally if he doesn’t have insurance.

Bear in mind it is practically always faster to claim from you own collision coverage since your insurance company will be managing the situation, you’re its customer and there is no need for an investigation on behalf of the other driver’s insurance company. Your deductible can even be reimbursed in states where subrogation (your insurance company gets compensation from other company) and comparative negligence (the percentage of fault assessment which often leads to subrogation) exists.

In the event that the auto claim is denied your agent should have the expertise to represent your rights and often succeed in getting your claim processed. If that fails you can write a letter of complaint to your state insurance department or National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

S. A. Reaves

Monday, December 27, 2010

Good Recreational Vehicle Insurance

Recreational vehicles (e.g. go-karts, jet skis, speedboats, sailboats, campers) are wonderful luxuries to have. However they present risks to their owners since the greater majority have little or no insurance coverage under their homeowner or auto policy. Insuring your recreational vehicles can protect yourself and others.

Like cars, recreational vehicles also express the same two risks. First, there is a risk of damage to the vehicle itself (and the correspondent decision of whether to insure the vehicle based on its value). Second, there is the risk of your personal assets resulting from injuries and damage you cause others (this risk must be insured at same limit you buy for car).

Homeowner’s policy tends to exclude boats but some policies do provide coverage in relation to the boat’s length and horsepower. If the outboard motor is 25 horsepower or less, or a sailboat of less than 26 feet in length, insurance coverage is included free in your homeowner policy. This can be unclear and if you are unsure, talk to your agent.

To manage boat liability risk several non-insurance strategies can help reduce risk. Let us recommend training teenagers to know how to properly and responsibly operate a boat, teach all members of the boat a boat safety class approved by the U.S. Coast Guards (often resulting in a 10-15% off insurance premiums) and don’t drink and drive.

Insuring against potential boat damage is tricky business. Given that homeowner policies cover usually a limited $1500 worth of damages (and does not include wind coverage outside, theft away from residence and hazards of boating like collision and rocks), you have several choices. With a boat value of less than $1500 you can forget insurance and cover damages out of your own pocket. Protecting against wind and theft risk must therefore be met by action on your part. Alternatively you can purchase a watercraft policy or homeowner’s ‘open perils coverage’, which will cover every damage on your boat except aging damages, purposeful damage etc. Again assuming a higher deductible saves on premiums.

Other motorised recreational vehicles are not covered by a homeowner’s policy unless you use the vehicles on your property or vacant land (in which case the homeowner policy will cover you). If you use recreational vehicles off of your land you are not covered by your homeowner’s policy. Most insurers provide liability and theft or collision insurance for recreational vehicles separately, and some as an endorsement to your car insurance. Coverage as a stand-alone facet is sometimes difficult to find.

Remember that if the policy in question has a limit less than the value of the recreational vehicle or if it excludes a particular risk you are concerned about, consider the insurance policy carefully or look elsewhere.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Insuring Automobile Risks: Vehicle Damage

Managing vehicle damage risk is no easy feat. Non-insurance and insurance strategies can help reduce risk.

Non-insurance methods can involve using strategies such as maintaining a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you (to reduce risk of collision), parking in a well-lit or locked garage premises , always locking your car and fitting a burglar alarm, and carrying a portable fire extinguisher to reduce serious fire risk.

Insurance for vehicle damage has two parts: 1) Collision, which covers damage from colliding with another vehicle aside of fault, and 2) Comprehensive, which covers everything other than collision insurance (such as theft, vandalism, fire, weather damage, hitting an animal).

Again, when buying one or both of these parts make sure to cover as much risk as you can afford through higher deductibles (upfront payment on your part). This allows you to purchase higher liability insurance limits to protect future liabilities given the savings you will pay for most of the additional liability coverage. The higher liability limit in conjuncture with a small raise in your deductible is astronomically worth it.

S. A. Reaves

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