Auto insurance and those unexpected expenses
The worst time to find out about the limitations and exclusions in your policy is when you claim. A claims assessor then explains why all those expenses are not claimable. If you agreed a big deductible to give yourself that extra discount, then discovering you’re not covered for all your losses is adding insult to injury. So, before you buy, always read through the small print to find out exactly what you will be able to claim should there be an accident. If you can see obvious problems, ask for further quotes to add the relevant cover or increase the amount of the cover. Before you sign up or renew, the insurer considers you valuable and will often explain things more carefully than you expect.
Let’s start with some of the costs you tend to overlook. In a recent survey, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York came out top in the list of states shamed by the aggressive practices of the towing companies. In the worst case, you’re injured and the last you see of your vehicle is when the doors of the ambulance close and the siren starts wailing. When you resurface in hospital and ask what happened to your vehicle, you discover it was towed away and is being stored until you can deal with the claim. This sounds alright until someone tell you how much all this is costing. The national survey shows the costs of towing and storage have risen more than 50% in the last two years. What makes this worse is there are rarely any published charges or fees for any of the work associated with the process. The first you know is when an invoice arrives or, worse, when you turn up to collect the vehicle only to find the storage company demanding hundreds of dollars in cash before you can drive it away.
In fact, the law is on your side here but you have to be tough. If you did not enter into a contract with the company to tow and store because you were in hospital, they have no right to claim more than basic costs. Claiming more is getting very close to the criminal offenses of blackmail and extortion. The only problem is the police will not be interested. They will say this is essentially a civil matter and leave you to protect your own interests. Because you want to vehicle back sooner rather than later, you are forced into a settlement, often at unreasonably high amounts. So did you remember to insure the costs of towing and storage before repair? If so, then subject to the amount of the deductible, you can leave it to the insurance company to do the fighting for you. When some of the towing companies are charging more than $1,000 for their services, it can be worth an extra $10 to add these charges to your policy. Getting the appropriate amount of cover is all down to you. Auto insurance companies are not in business to protect you from yourself. So the next time you’re online asking for auto insurance quotes, make sure you ask for the prices for including all the charges that may be associated with the aftermath of an accident.