Shhh! We’d like to keep our fraud secret!

So, Über and Lyft want to keep their insurance policies secret, which raises a lot of questions in my mind.  Like, what are they hiding?  And specifically, what is covered by the policy?  Is it only the driver, or are the passengers covered too?  Seems like we should be allowed to know the answers.

secret

 

Interestingly, the companies are required to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – insurance that protects you when you are not at fault.  But, there is no requirement that the rest of us buy uninsured motorists coverage, and there is no requirement that your agent offer or even explain it to you.   Its important enough to require it for those services, but not for everyone else.  Hmmm.

What does this mean to you:

Go now and find out how much uninsured motorists coverage you carry on your insurance policy.  We will wait for you here.  Yes, its that important.  Go on.

Do you have uninsured motorists coverage in your auto policy?  Do you also have it in your umbrella policy?  What are the limits?  Considering that almost 15% of drivers carry no insurance and many more do not carry enough insurance, do you have high enough limits?

 

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Leap of faith

Commercials for insurance companies make you feel all warm and fuzzy, don’t they?  If you believe these ads, some insurance companies are like your neighbor (but only the good ones), some are on your side, and others help old ladies cross the street.  What’s your policy?

We got another one. Get the stamp out!

Despite what these ads would have us believe, insurance companies sometimes actually act in downright un-neighborly ways.  Whether it be car insurance claim, a home owners claim, or any other kind of claim, insurance companies exist for one reason and one reason only – to make money.  (If they do anything other than try to maximize profit, they will be sued.)  To expect them to “do the right thing” is, unfortunately, not reality.

Your own insurance company has an obligation to treat you fairly, even if it means, believe it or not, they have to pay.  If your own insurance company wrongly denies your claim, or drags out the claims process, they may be practicing bad faith insurance, sometimes called “first party” bad faith.  One insurance company defense law firm was even nice enough to post some examples of what can be considered bad faith insurance.

What does this mean to you:

Insurance companies spend a lot of money on ad campaigns, mottos, and spokespeople to convince people they treat you fairly.  We all know, that doesn’t always happen.  Keep in mind that if your own insurance company gives you the run around, they may be liable.

Focus on the family

I spent the afternoon today at the Ohio General Assembly listening to testimony on some good legislation working its way through the legislature.

Don’t worry – I am covering you. With my arms.

As it stands, most Ohioans are not covered by their car insurance if a family member is driving.  Let me say that again to emphasize the absurdity – you are probably not covered by your own car insurance if you are riding in a car driving by your own family member.  This little known policy provision, called the “intrafamily exclusion,” can have draconian consequences in peoples’ lives.  The reason given for such a harsh legal rule, believe it or not, is that insurance companies are afraid families will collude with each other to injure themselves just to make an insurance claim.  One incredulous Justice has termed this absurd assumption “Munchausen’s Syndrome by Auto.”

Currently, Senate Bill 293 seeks to end this practice as it relates to wrongful death claims only, but not injuries, such as amputations or quadriplegia.  Certainly a step in the right direction.  A baby step, but a step nonetheless.

What does this mean to you:

Ask your insurance agent or your attorney whether your auto policy covers your family members when you are driving, or if it contains an intrafamily exclusion.  You need to know that your own family is protected in case of an accident, not just other people in the wreck.