You swerve to miss a deer and end up in the ditch causing damage to your vehicle from the impact; or perhaps you pull off the side of the road and clip a mailbox, or as winter shows us every year; you slide out of control and strike another vehicle or object. Regardless the cause, whenever a client is involved in a single vehicle accident, they will most likely hear that what they have just done to their vehicle will be considered a chargeable accident. Yes, your deductible will apply, and yes you will receive a claims surcharge on your policy for 3 years. Oh; how clients love to hear this!
It is during some of these claim notification phone calls that we remember why we are in business, to take care of people; and that involves listening to sometimes heated conversations when they are advised that turning in a claim is going to cost them for several years by way of increased premiums. We often hear statements such as “Why do I buy insurance then?”. If only I could have a day off for every time I’ve heard that phrase over the past 32 years, well, I’d be retired now and not writing this blog.
We understand that to some clients, paying $1,500 or $2,000 out of pocket to fix their vehicle can cause a financial hardship, but it’s also going to be extremely upsetting to them if we don’t educate them, let them turn in a claim and then have to hear the anger when their premiums increase.
In California, this is compounded by the 2 and you are out rule. If a driver has more than one chargeable accident within a 3-year period, almost all carriers will non-renew them; and we must rewrite them into a high risk ‘pool’ so to speak. When this happens, instead of paying a couple hundred dollars more per year, many times the premiums can double for all vehicles and all drivers in the household; due to the actions of one.
For this reason, we will have open and frank discussions with clients. We are an agency that doesn’t believe in just selling insurance. We believe in taking care of people by educating them about the consequences of claims that they submit to us and consequently, to their insurance company.
We can’t change the way insurance company surcharges work, and if we could, rates for everyone would be higher to pay for all incidents that happen regardless of fault or cost or frequency.
Insurance wasn’t created to pay for the frequent ‘oops’ that we all have happen to us in life. It was created to cover those high costs that could cause us financial hardship. We often educate clients to work with their choice of a body shop and advise they are going to pay out of pocket. The estimates tend to decrease when that happens. Whether it’s confusing auto insurance rules and surcharges, or home maintenance and claims issues, we are here to take care of people, and are happy to help explain these things to you whether you are a client of ours or not. Don’t hesitate to reach out if we can assist with your insurance decisions, coverages or needs.