The Claims Process: what happens after a car accident.

In my last post I gave you “The Accident” portion of my car accident story. In case you missed it you can click here to go to that post. In this post, I’m going to share with you the claims process for my specific claim. Remember, every loss will be different but you’ll get the idea.

On the way home from the car accident I called my carrier. The first person you speak with will most likely NOT be your adjuster. That person is your first contact and will ask what happened, where it happened, who was driving, who you were with, who was driving the other vehicle, what kind of vehicle was the other party driving, do they have a driver’s license and an active policy etc… Those representatives are supposed to gather as much information as they can to pass along to your specific adjuster. So that’s what I did. I was asked all of those questions, including what I was doing downtown and where I was going or coming from. I told her everything I knew, and all of the information I gathered.

IMG_4819 So now what? My front bumper wasn’t secured and I needed to have it repaired. I was given some options for collision centers that have been approved by my carrier and close to my home. If I use one of my company’s approved body shops my company will stand by the repairs made by that shop for the life of the vehicle. Meaning, if after I get my vehicle back and it still isn’t fixed, or one of the new parts they put in isn’t operating correctly then it will be replaced. If I chose to use a body shop outside of my company’s suggestions that is fine, however if something goes wrong I will not have my company to back the work of that body shop. I ended up choosing an approved body shop that was close to my house.

The claims representative told me she will send that body shop the claim information and they will call me to set up an appointment for the estimate. I was also given the option to call them myself to get the ball rolling. Since it was Saturday the body shop wasn’t open so I had to wait even if I called myself. Then the representative explained I will be getting a phone call from my adjuster to get more details of the loss and instructions on what will happen next.

When Monday came around I did receive a phone call from my assigned adjuster and the adjuster from the other company.  I had the same conversation with both adjusters. Each phone call was recorded and they wanted to know every detail. When I was telling them my side of the story I felt so strange. I felt like I was the bad guy. I felt like I was being investigated, and I was! I had to remember that is their job. They are there to investigate both sides of the story so they can come to a conclusion on fault status, and what actually happened during this accident. I knew the truth, but they didn’t so they needed to hear every bit of information I could remember.

I was found not at fault for the accident so I was not going to have to pay for any damages. But I decided with my adjuster through my company that they would pay for the repairs and then my company will submit their receipts to the other party’s insurance company for reimbursement; which is called subrogation. The only thing I had to pay for out of pocket to submit for reimbursement was for my rental vehicle. Why? Because I had removed my rental coverage from my policy when I moved and the premium increased. I was upset it increased because I now had a different zip code so to bring it back down I removed rental on a whim. Dumb Move AGENT VAL! I will not do that again, and I added the rental after my claim was completed. It is important to note that when I add rental after the date of the loss I cannot use it for that claim, only for losses that happen after I’ve added the coverage to my policy. So I had to pay for my rental vehicle for 10 days which cost me about $300 out of pocket, plus a refundable $200 when I picked up the vehicle. My adjuster explained to me that legally the other party has to pay for my rental car while it is being repaired; but because I went through my company to make the repairs I had to pay for it upfront and submit my receipt to the other carrier. It’s been about a month and I still haven’t seen my reimbursement. These things do take time and I understand there is a process but if you don’t want to spend your hard earned money add rental to your policy. It is a small price to pay in your premium versus paying a large chunk should you have an accident and need a rental car.

I scheduled an appointment at the collision center for an estimate the next day. That’s all that it was, an estimate. I brought my car in the morning and they took some pictures and didn’t even open the car and they told me they’ll have an estimate together for me by the end of the day. What happens now in the claims process?  The body shop puts together an estimate to give my insurance company (or the other insurance company) to approve or disapprove. If the estimate is approved I can then take my vehicle into the shop so the repairs can start to be made. If for some reason your estimate is not approved you will need to work with your adjuster to see what needs to happen in order to get the estimate approved. Now, you do have the option to do all of this yourself and not wait for the insurance company and pay out of pocket, but you’ll need to save the receipts and wait to be reimbursed. Then you’re at the mercy of waiting for your money back.

The body shop gave their estimate of roughly $1700 to my company and my adjuster ok’d the repairs. Now they always tell you it is just an estimate and they could find more damage once they go in and open up the vehicle. I brought my vehicle in and they began to work on the repairs. I ended up getting several phone calls stating that they found something else underneath the hood that needed to be replaced and the estimate had gone up. I didn’t mind because I knew that I wasn’t going to have to pay for it, as long as they fixed my car. IMG_4800 From the outside my car looked like it just had some minor cosmetic stuff, and $1700 seemed like a good amount to buff out the dent and secure the bumper to the rest of the car. My vehicle’s repair total came out to be about $4000 including labor. I was honestly shocked how many things needed to be repaired and how quickly the estimate increased. So many things were damaged on the inside that I couldn’t see.

What is important to note here is that the State of California requires a minimum limit of liability for property damage, which is $5,000. I have no idea what the other party’s limit of liability is for property damage but if such a minor accident created $4,000 worth of property damage on my car I suggest you look at increasing your liability limits. If the other party doesn’t have enough coverage, then my policy will have to be secondary, or I would receive a bill for the difference. Then I would be left with a choice to pay it out of pocket or I could go after the driver who hit me for the difference. Fender benders and car accidents happen all the time and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the coverage.Soobie fixed You cannot plan an accident. You cannot plan who or what type of vehicle you could hit, or could hit you. I know that many vehicles out there are far more expensive to repair than mine and if my repairs are that much who knows how much a more expensive car would cost to repair. Again the insurance is in place to protect you from financial hardship so make sure to do the right thing and keep your insurance up to date and with adequate coverage. After 10 days I turned in my rental and picked up my car.

Every claim is different so if you have a claim it may not happen the way mine did. Your accident may be completely different than mine. Maybe your vehicle is completely totaled and needs to be towed from the scene of the accident. Or maybe you are injured and need emergency medical assistance and you’re taken away from your vehicle. You may be at fault, you may not be at fault; you may have comprehensive and collision or you may have liability only. Again, each claim is different, AND each policy is different. Your claim will be different but the hope with my story is to give you the understanding of how it works. There is a lot of behind the scenes work. Both companies will talk to each other and based off of their findings in talking to each person and witness. They will make a decision based off of the evidence and then figure out who will pay for the claim.

Whatever your case, your claim will be investigated and eventually it’ll be closed. Going through a claim is a process, that’s why they call it a claims process. The simplest way for me to describe the claims process for a car accident like mine aka “Super Common Fender Bender” is in 10 steps:

  1. Accident Happens – gather as much information as you can and take pictures if you can (if immediate medical assistance is needed please call 911)
  2. Once you are safe call the Claims Department
  3. Wait for instructions from your adjuster (unless you chose to do everything on your own and save receipts)
  4. If you need a rental vehicle right away and it is a weekend contact a rental company and keep your receipts if you haven’t heard otherwise from your carrier
  5. Get an estimate
  6. Submit the estimate to your carrier (if not done by your body shop)
  7. Vehicle repairs are made
  8. Turn in rental
  9. Pick up vehicle
  10. Submit all (if any) receipts for reimbursement

The company wants to get you back on the road just as quick as you do, and they’ll do their best to make that happen. It happened for me!

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: info@amerdiv.com W: www.amerdiv.com

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What to do when you’re in a Car Accident

I’d like to say I’m a pretty good driver. I’ve gotten one speeding ticket as an adult and only a minor fender bump in a parking lot when I was in high school. But other than that, smooth sailing. Until last month. Now before I start I will tell you I was not at fault in this accident so my record is still good. My story today is about the start of my claims process and what happened to me. We get so many questions about a company’s claims process and my gift to you is a true story and example of what happens when you have an accident. First, the accident story. Next week I’ll give you the repair process of my claim.

IMG_4746It was a Saturday morning and my husband and I were heading to downtown Sacramento for our good friend’s daughter’s Christening. We live about 30 minutes away from downtown so it was just a short drive on the freeway. Here is my husband and I at the Christening just before we left. The Christening was lovely and after the event we would head to their house, back in our neck of the woods, for a reception. This wasn’t the only event on our schedule that day. We had a pretty packed schedule for a Saturday. After the Christening, we had a vet appointment for one of our fur kids, followed by a birthday party for our twin nephews in Wheatland an hour away.

Why is our schedule important to mention? Because no one plans for an accident. We are all busy and no where on our schedule does it say “squeeze in a car accident”. You cannot plan for these things, but you can be prepared.

Back to Saturday morning. My husband and I had left the church in Sacramento and were headed back to the freeway. There was a ton of construction going on that day so my speed barely reached 15 miles per hour. As I approached an intersection and made my way through it I saw another car coming towards me, and there was nowhere I could turn. I began to slow and was almost stopped when that vehicle hit mine. My husband was on the phone with the vet trying to reschedule our appointment when it happened too. After the crash I was a little baffled. Did this really just happen? Now what? Can I drive the car? Will it move? How bad was the damage?

IMG_4799 So many questions flooded my brain and now I was in the middle of the intersection in the middle of downtown Sacramento. My husband and I started to discuss what to do next, and I had to contemplate those questions and begin to get out of the way. The other vehicle had started to move out of the intersection and over to the side of the road so I followed.

When we pulled over we got out of the car and started to asses the damage to my car and the other car. My front passenger side was damaged, and thankfully my husband wasn’t injured, or anyone actually. I thought ok, I’m an insurance agent I’ve got this part. I know what to do. We’ve discussed many times what to do when you have an accident with our customers; so I got to work. After I made sure no one was hurt I took my phone out and took pictures. I took pictures of my car, the other car, the intersection where it happened and the street signs. IMG_4800

I went over to the other driver and as I approached her people began to come over to make sure we were ok and that no one was hurt. We also had a pretty irate witness who lectured the other driver, who happened to be a young driver, for going too fast. People can get pretty heated over things like this, and with good reason. Vehicles are expensive! Driving is dangerous! The risk of loss is huge! My husband and I already have begun to discuss with our 14 year old the importance of paying attention and the expenses and responsibility of driving. “It’s a big responsibility!” (cue a deep adult voice and shaking a pointed finger)  I was surprisingly calm, but a bit shaken.

After the heated rant towards the other driver I went up to the witness and asked for her name and phone number. Why? Because when you are in an accident the claims department will investigate it. They will take both sides of the story and like any good investigation it’s good to have a witness. If you don’t have one, the claim will be investigated anyways, but it could help determine fault and could help the adjusters finalize the claim more smoothly.

When the witness walked away the other driver was sobbing. At this point I had to console her and then we got down to business. I asked about her insurance and she pulled out an ID card. Instead of writing it all down I took pictures of it. I took pictures of her license plate, and put her name and phone number into my hand-in-face-emojiphone so I had her contact. Now there is one thing I forgot, and I was so mad at myself for forgetting. Her DRIVERS LICENSE! Duh, Val!  When you are in an accident you need to gather photos of the damage, the other party’s insurance information, the license plate number, any witness information, the drivers contact information and their driver’s license number.

While I finished getting information she got on the phone. My husband and I were then remembering all of the things we had to do that day, and our friends were calling wondering where we were. I also remembered my husband was on the phone with the vet who heard the whole thing. As thoughts flooded my head the other driver came up to me and said, so the car is on my mom’s policy and I’m not listed, can you help my mom out and tell the insurance company she was driving and not me? SERIOUSLY? Now I can imagine this happens all the time, because that’s why insurance companies have fraudulent claims investigators. But I was shocked! Plus I had a very solid witness who saw her driving and hitting my vehicle.

IMG_4819 I told her that I was not going to do that and then explained to her the way insurance works. I was also thinking in my head, why don’t people know this. We tell our insureds all the time and I was upset that more people are not educated about the way insurance works. I told her that the insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. So, her mom’s policy, will be responsible for the loss and damages but she will be charged with the accident on her driving record. Basically her mom’s policy will not be rated with an at fault accident unless her daughter is listed on her policy. Her daughter will have a point on her record and her policy, (if she has one) will increase due to the point. Now at this point I don’t know if they have an active policy, I do not know if her license is valid, I do not know the coverage limits or the regulations of that particular company. Some companies in this situation will require the particular driver to be added or excluded from the policy. However, if she was excluded from the policy there would not be coverage at all for this loss.

As I explained this to her, her mother had pulled up and we explained what had happened and again, I was asked to lie and then I explained about the insurance following the vehicle. I told them they will need to contact their insurance company to give them the information, and I would be doing the same. What happens next?  The insurance companies will talk to each other and come to an agreement of who is at fault, and who will be paying for the damages. Since both vehicles were drivable we were able to head home.

IMG_4820 With an accident, the party that is found at fault is responsible for paying the damages to the other party’s vehicle and paying for a rental vehicle if needed while their vehicle is being repaired. If the at fault party has damage to their vehicle with collision coverage, they are responsible for paying their collision deductible and the company will pay the rest of the repairs, up to the policy limits. If the at fault party does not have rental car coverage they will be responsible for paying for a rental out of pocket. If they do have rental car, the insurance company will provide a rental up to the policy limits. If the at fault party has liability only, they would be making the repairs and replacements on their own.

As we left and with my husband driving I got on the phone with my company. While I was giving the claims department the information I realized that the ID Card I had been given was almost a year out of date. I thought, well I hope this is just an old card and that they do have coverage. If they didn’t have coverage then my company would be paying for this out of my uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and waive my deductible. The only downside would be that I would have to pay out of pocket for my rental car because I had removed it from my policy thinking I didn’t need it. Yes, dumb move and I had done that because after I moved in December the zip code increased my policy and I removed it to reduce my premium. This will not happen again.

The whole day I was thrown off. We missed the reception for the sweet little baby girl who had gotten Christened earlier that day, and surprisingly made it to the vet on time. After that on our drive up to Wheatland I couldn’t get the accident out of my head. I replayed the situation over and over in my head and I just thought I can’t believe this happened to me.  I cannot believe that I, a pretty good driver had an accident. Again, you cannot plan for these situations to happen. No one says, “I think I’ll have a car accident today.” I remember consoling the young driver and I told her that life happens and thankfully we weren’t hurt. We can only prepare ourselves by training our brains for what to do when we are in that situation. I even forgot to get the driver’s license. And, we must also prepare for these situations and keep our insurance policies up to date.

Safety-First It’s hard to remember what you are supposed to do after an accident. If anything try to remember, after getting to safety, to get as much information and as many photos as possible. If you aren’t able to move your vehicles or if you are hurt you can call the police. I could have called the police to file a police report but the damages were so minor, no one was hurt and both vehicles were drivable. This was just the beginning of the claims process for me. I then had to wait for my company to assign an adjuster and wait for their call on what to do next. Since my vehicle was drivable the claims rep told me I could take it to get an estimate while I waited for the adjuster to call with further instructions.

Stay tuned for the second part of my story, the repair process. I’ll share with you all the steps that were taken to get my vehicle back on the road! If you aren’t sure what to do in an accident you can always give us a call. We’ll let you know what information you need to gather, and give you the phone number to call for your specific company to report the claim.

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T:(916)389-1820

E: info@amerdiv.com W: www.amerdiv.com

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Why does my homeowners insurance company ask about my dog?

There are dog people, and cat people, and animal lovers, and non-animal lovers. I am a dog person. I do love all animals however dogs are my thing. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always had a dog. My family tried the cat thing but our orange tabby cat Pumpkin had a mind of his own and decided he hated us and went to live with our neighbor. Come to find out our elderly neighbor had been feeding him table scraps, so excuse us, Pumpkin for giving you kibble. (I’m not upset about it still or anything)

T&D Anyways, I’m a dog person. Currently I have five of them, yes five. Before I met my husband, Mike, I had gotten two Bullnese puppies. For those of you who do not know what that is I’ll tell you. It is a mix of a French Bulldog and a Pekinese. Their names are Tank and Drama and they are awesome! Then a few short years later I met my husband who is also a dog person. When we met he had three dogs! Two Pocket Pit Bulls, Bella and Meatball (Meaty for short) and a French Mastiff Cavali, who were all girls. bella and meaty Luckily mine were boys so we didn’t have that territorial alpha dog situation – well kinda. However, the Mastiff was the Mama and all of the doggies didn’t mess with Mama! See she was HUUUGGEE!

four doggies Sadly we lost our beloved Cavali as she was 9 years old, which is really old for the French Mastiff breed. Man, what a heartbreak that is! I only knew her for a little portion of her life but you become attached. And then there were four. Remember I told you I had five dogs?

One chilly November evening Mike and I had an appointment to go check out a new house. This particular house was right by his job and he fought me on going to this appointment because he didn’t want to be THAT close to his work. Me wanting to keep the appointment to at least check it out convinced him to go. As we approached the house we noticed that the tenant is still in the process of moving out, NBD (No Big Deal). However we were told by the owner that they hadn’t been to the house in a few weeks to finish moving out. As we walked in the house was covered in filth and we instantly thought “Let’s get the heck out of here!” Mike was right, I should have cancelled!” I kept thinking to myself as we both exchanged those glances of the I told you so smirks. Now we were in the thick of it and had to go through with this appointment. We walked all through the house pretending we were interested and were so grossed out that all we wanted to do was leave. Ok, I understand they were moving but this was different.

This house was laid out where the garage was towards the back of the house by the backyard. We had peaked out into the yard and saw more filth and piles of garbage, gross. As we were just about to wrap up and leave something inside me made me think about the garage. I thought, “Oh let’s just check out the garage, ya know just to be polite.” So I walked to the back of the house and outside through the filthy yard and up to the garage. My husband followed and I got to the door on the side of the garage and opened it.

Out sprinted this tiny little alien! Mind you it was dark and I got my phone out to turn my light on. What I saw upset me more than the filthy house we had just walked through. A tiny Chihuahua who looked like a furry skeleton was jumping at my feet. My first instinct was to pick it up, Val what are you thinking! This dog could have rabies, or some other sort of illness! I honestly forgot all of those things my mother taught me because the state of this little animal was so disturbing. I took off my jacket and wrapped the little dog into it and began to inspect her. I didn’t see any signs of disease other than extreme malnutrition. Mike checked out the garage and he saw no food or water, just empty bowls and stool everywhere. This poor little thing had been left to die, in the cold of November. She maybe had a few days left, which is sad but the truth. While I held her in my jacket we walked around the house looking for food or anything she could eat but there was nothing. My husband and I could not and would not leave her there. The owner of this house had no idea that the tenants had a dog. He was reluctant for us to take the dog because of the worry of a lawsuit but clearly this dog was unwanted. We were able to get the phone number of the tenant and as expected they didn’t want her. So we again have five dogs. Our first initial thought was to find her a good home because we already had the four, but as dog people we feel in love and couldn’t let her go. Not to mention our son was super attached by day 1. IMG_2442

Here she is on night one, and then exactly one week later. Her name is Little Bee and we’ve had her for about seven months and she is already a healthy and feisty little Chihuahua. Our vet told us she was about 8 months when we found her and extremely malnourished. Oh and she doesn’t have rabies or any other disease, Thank God! We have finally gotten her fat enough for her to be spayed and she gets along great with her brothers Tank and Drama. We haven’t yet introduced her to the bigger girls. She is a bundle of energy and hardly never settles down. littles nappingShe still has major food issues, but her anxieties are starting to fade away. One lazy Sunday I had the three little ones with me watching TV, and it happened. She crawled onto my lap and onto my chest and laid down to nap.  I couldn’t believe it. Seeing the healing process for her has been so rewarding, because getting her acclimated was not easy!

So, what does this story have to do with insurance? Well I’ll tell ya! Just like in our own lives dogs play a huge roll in homeowners insurance. In fact they play a huge roll, so huge as in they may or may not deny coverage. Have you ever called in for a quote and been asked if you have any pets? Why would this matter?

It matters because Insurance Carriers may not insure you if you have a dog on their excluded dog breed list. Yes, there is such a thing. Not all carriers are the same too. Some will insure your home and provide you liability but they will exclude your dog(s) meaning they will not provide coverage for a loss caused by your dog. Other insurance companies will straight up deny coverage. For instance, Pit Bulls are on that list.

Remember I have two! For me, finding a homeowners company is a bit more challenging and ultimately more expensive because I have two dogs that are at the top of the excluded list. The policy will be more expensive for me because I am no longer eligible in their preferred products. You see insurance companies offer homeowners products (or policies) that are either for preferred markets, or non-standard markets. Just like for auto policies, a preferred policy if you are a good driver and non-standard policy if you aren’t such a good driver. Companies can offer just one type or they could offer both. We have a carrier that offers both preferred and non-standard and in the non-standard all animals are automatically excluded. The non-standard policies are more expensive because of the higher exposure to risk.

Let’s take a look at the most common breeds that are on the excluded lists:

  • Pitt Bull Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Presa Canarios
  • Chow Chows
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Akitas

Some carriers may have more breeds or less breeds on that list, so you’ll have to check with your specific company if you aren’t sure. If you have one of these dogs I am not here to debate how good, sweet, lazy or calm your dog is. I get it, I have two and I do love them, they are part of my family. I will just be spending more money on homeowners insurance.

Statistically insurance carriers have spent hundreds, thousands and even millions of dollars on dog related claims. So the stats are unfortunately against them. According to an article in Psychology Today, In 2013, dog bite related claims accounted for more than 1/3 of all homeowners liability claims totaling to about $490 million. They continued to state that the average payout was $30k and that was four years ago! If you’d like to read the whole article click here.

Any kind of attack can happen at any time. You cannot plan it. The attack could also be towards another dog not just a person. If your neighbor is walking by with their dog and your dog gets loose and a fight breaks out you are liable and could be sued for any injuries your dog may have given to the other dog. Or at the dog park, suddenly the fur kids aren’t getting a long and then boom, fight, then boom, lawsuit. This could happen with any breed of dog, even those not on the excluded dog list.

val's pack If you are thinking about getting a puppy in one of those breeds and you already have homeowners insurance, the company may end up non-renewing your policy. Occasionally the company will do an inspection upon your renewals and they will notate if you have a dog on the excluded list. It’s always best to be smart and contact your agent to discuss options if you want to get a dog on that list.

Mike and I continue to work daily on training and taking care of our pack. little bee Again, we are dog people. We will probably always have dogs. They bring such joy to you and become part of your family. They are our fur kids. Even if you aren’t a dog person you cannot deny that animals are helpless and shouldn’t be dumped in an abandoned garage. They don’t deserve that, Little Bee didn’t deserve it. If you have an animal that you cannot take care of please take it to the SPCA, or call the animal shelters or foster homes in your area. I knew there was a reason I fought to keep that home appointment. A life was saved, and I am thankful for that. My wallet isn’t that happy but it’s worth it! Besides, who doesn’t love this face!

 

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American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: info@amerdiv.com W: www.amerdiv.com

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What does “Full Coverage” Really Mean?

Val at Desk Before I began my career in the Insurance Industry I knew nothing about car insurance except you had to have it. Growing up I had heard a few vocabulary terms which basically sounded like gibberish and I just thought, my parents are responsible they have it covered. I’m good, I’m sure I have full coverage. I just assumed I had full coverage, because when you are a young driver why wouldn’t your parents have full coverage on an expensive vehicle? And because I have full coverage I am covered for anything, right?

It wasn’t until I was an adult and working in the industry that I learned that full coverage wasn’t a real term to the insurance companies. Before I was licensed as an agent I would answer the phones and take down information for quotes, questions, changes etc. to pass onto the agents.  The most common change I received was to add on or substitute a vehicle. When I would scroll through the list of questions I would hear 8 or 9 times out of 10 “I want full coverage”. Well on my list of items to ask, there was no full coverage check box.

Full coverage is not a true term in the insurance world. When we add your vehicle onto your policy there isn’t a button to click called “Full Coverage”. What does exist are the different coverage options that could make up that term. You see, each and every one of us will have a different definition of what we each think full coverage means. Many of us may say, “Ok I’ve purchased a vehicle and now I have full coverage on it. If anything happens my insurance company will take care of it.”

When you ask for full coverage, what you are really asking for is Physical Damage coverage aka Comprehensive and Collision Coverage. These two coverage options provide coverage towards the actual physical damage to your vehicle.comprehensive-coverage (1) Each coverage has a separate deductible and they do cover different things.

Comprehensive coverage is what will give your vehicle protection for any loss other than a collision. Some companies will list on your policy “Other than Collision” instead of Comprehensive. So when would I use comprehensive coverage? This coverage is for theft, fire, vandalism, a tree branch falling onto your parked vehicle or a rock hitting your windshield. Like the definition and the info graphic – anything other than an actual collision.

So, what does collision coverage mean?  This cocollision cartoonverage is when you are at fault in an accident and your vehicle is damaged. You would pay your deductible and the company would be responsible for the rest. These two coverage limits can be optional however they are required if you have a financed or a leased vehicle. The finance company may require a specific deductible so be sure to check with them just to be sure.

If you own your vehicle outright you have the option to decline these coverage options. This would mean your vehicle is covered just with liability which only provides bodily injury and property damage to the other party, up to your policy limits, when you are at fault in an accident. Woah! That was a lot of info let me try and break it down a little more. If you were at fault and your vehicle was damaged and you do not have collision coverage, then you would be responsible for making any repairs or replacements to your vehicle. However, if you are not at fault in an accident and your vehicle is damaged the other party would be responsible for paying for the damages and/or repairs.

Some of you ask us what our opinion is on vehicles that are older. “If my vehicle is a 1995 Toyota Camry should I have the physical damage coverage, it’s so old it may not be worth it!”  If this is the case, where you have an older vehicle and it isn’t financed you may not want to have comprehensive and collision coverage. In this situation, you would need to consider a few things. What the value of the vehicle is; would it cost more to have those coverage options added to that vehicle than it would to replace the vehicle entirely; and could you replace this vehicle without the assistance of the insurance company if you have a total loss? cry face emojiRemember, I mentioned in my last post about how Insurance exists to protect you from financial hardship.  Will you be in a state of financial hardship like this emoji if you had to replace a vehicle unexpectedly? These are the questions we will ask our customers because the decision is ultimately up to them.  They also need to factor in the cost and if they can afford it, again “Will it be a financial hardship to replace a vehicle right now”? Luckily companies offer a range in deductible options to help even out the cost. Quick tip: The higher deductible you have, the lower the premium will be!

There are additional endorsements you can add onto the policy in addition to the comprehensive and collision such as rental, towing, glass, GAP etc. Every company offers different additional coverages so be sure to check with your specific company on all the additional endorsements you could add on. IMG_2800So, if you are one of those people who thinks “I have full coverage so everything is covered” you may want to look at your policy, or ASK YOUR AGENT.  Check to make sure you have comprehensive and collision and see if you have any additional endorsements.  Because if there is a loss and you assume you are covered, you’ll be wishing you checked your policy. Assumptions in your insurance are never a good thing. They can lead to you paying out of pocket for a loss that could have been covered. Don’t assume that your definition of full coverage is going to cover you, always look at your policy and call us to be sure. Winky face emoji.

 

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: info@amerdiv.com W: www.amerdiv.com

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How to Insure your New (or old) Boat!

My husband and I just got a boat. “Got”, being the key word here in that sentence. Let me start from the beginning. My husband is a boat person. He has always had a boat since he was old enough to own and operate one. When I met him a few years ago, he did have a boat. The picture below is of us on one of our first boat trips together on that boat! You can’t really see the boat but you get the idea. This boat was a 75′ and it worked, however there were several issues. salty dog He ended up selling it to a buddy because it was becoming more of a hassle than anything else. Months passed and then, we got another boat, a jet boat. This one was given to us from another buddy who had just the hull of the boat, NO engine and it needed massive amounts of interior work. But, my husband the champ mechanic said “I’ll take it and work on it!” Well, it sat in our driveway, untouched for months. Finally, before we moved out of that particular house we got rid of it. I was happy to have my full driveway back because parking on the street in front of your own home stinks.

Fast forward a few months and he again has the itch. He tells me, “Babe, we need to buy another boat! I’ve always been a boat guy and this summer will not be fun without one.” So, the hunt began, and each night for the past two months he was religiously searching on the internet for boats. Some were awesome, but the price wasn’t there for us; or some were just going to be too much work for what we wanted.

One night we had just finished eating dinner. I had moseyed into the family room and left him at the table. Our son had retreated into his room, because that’s what 13-year-old boys do, and I had just sat down on the couch to catch up on my DVR. Then, I hear him going nuts in the kitchen. “Oh, my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh…Hello Sir,” He was so excited he just started talking on the phone and I had no clue what the heck he was doing. He had been looking on Craigslist, a popular website for people to post things for sale. Someone had posted in the for-sale section “Free boat to anyone that wants it”. IMG_4569 The post was only online for 8 minutes before my husband called. Ok, now if you remember our jet boat experience from above I was extremely weary of someone posting “free boat.” However, this one seemed for real.

My husband spoke with this man on the phone for at least a half an hour and scheduled a meeting for the very next day. He met with this man, who simply didn’t want it anymore. He had other plans for his side yard and didn’t want the hassle of trying to sell it. He wanted to give the boat to someone who would simply enjoy it, and someone who also knew a lot about boats so they would know what they are doing. He quizzed my husband and son about boats and said, “Ok now follow me to my house and it’s yours.”

I know what you’re thinking right now, something must be wrong with it. I’m a huge skeptic when it comes to things like this too, and I find it hard to believe that someone just gave away for free a perfectly good boat. Well, we only had to order two parts on Amazon and put a new battery in it, total cost $160.00. You know what, she runs like a dream. Here is our first test drive on Folsom Lake! Mind you when we took her out it was not summer yet so it was stinking cold! IMG_4558It is not a brand-new boat, a 1989, but it had barely been used. There are a few minor tears in the interior but that isn’t anything a little love couldn’t fix. The boat was just taking up space in his yard. Wow! I still cannot believe it! We got a boat! For Free!

So now what? Time to insure it and get some boat insurance. The funny thing is my husband already asked me to add it to our auto insurance. Unfortunately, we cannot add a boat onto our auto policy, but we can purchase a separate boat policy that will cover it. “Make sure you add on the additional coverage if the propeller scrapes against a rock!” he said. I kind of chuckled in my head a bit because I thought, shouldn’t he just know there isn’t an additional coverage just for that. When you have a boat policy and hit anything, meaning if you scrape a rock on your outboard, hull, etc. that goes under your collision coverage (if you have collision coverage). Because it is considered a collision, or most commonly referred to as an at fault accident. “Well, I want collision so make sure it is on there!” he said.

When you are insuring a boat, there are a few things to know when you call in for a quote. First, other than the year make and model you need to know what the value of the boat is. Why do we need the value? Because the company will need to know how much coverage to provide to you should you have a loss. How much should I insure my boat for? Because we didn’t purchase this boat, I now need to do some research on what the value is for this boat I have. I could also go and get an appraisal, which would be the best option so I know exactly how much the boat is worth.

We will also ask you for the Hull ID. What’s this? The Hull ID is like the VIN for vehicles. This is the identification number for that specific vessel. It is usually found on the registration and also on the boat in the rear upper right corner. You’ll have to take a look on your boat for yourself, and boats older than a 1972 may not have the Hull ID physically on the boat.

Next, we need to know where the boat will be stored, what the length, top speed and horse power is, and whether the motor is inboard or outboard. IMG_4868Why do we need these items? Because the rate you get is based off certain factors including the ones above and not just the age and value. You also want to make sure you have the trailer information i.e. the value and the VIN if you want to insure the trailer. This is something that is added onto your boat policy, not your auto policy. If you have an outboard motor on the boat you may want to list the value of the outboard motor for your policy. This way if there is a loss the insurance company will know the specifics and value of your motor. There may be an additional endorsement for more coverage so check with your insurance carrier.

One of the coverage questions we’ll ask you is if you want comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. Do I really need this? Well, no you don’t, these are optional coverage items you do not have to purchase. However, if you choose to purchase only liability and have a physical damage or theft loss you’d be on your own for replacing or repairing your boat. Insurance exists to protect you from financial hardship. So, if you are fully able to pay for another boat on your own without the assistance of insurance, then just purchasing liability is what you can do. When you have comprehensive and collision and have a covered loss, all you would have to pay is your deductible and let the carrier do the rest. Now, if another boater hit you their insurance would be responsible for any repairs/replacements; unless they didn’t have coverage then the loss may go under your uninsured motorist coverage (if you choose to purchase that coverage). Check with your specific carrier about additional coverage options you can purchase such as on water towing, fishing equipment, personal effects etc. You can also ask your agent if the company offers additional add-ons, aka endorsements.

Just like my husband wanted, we’ll have coverage for the boat should it scrape a huge rock.  Unfortunately, it would count as an at fault accident but we won’t have to pay to replace a $5000-ish part out of pocket, just our deductible of $500. Considering we got our boat for free, I’d say that’s a pretty good deal. Also, I hope we don’t run into a hidden rock!

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

 E: info@amerdiv.com W: www.amerdiv.com

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First blog post

Val Welcome to The Lovely Insurance Lady. This is where I will blog about your personal lines insurance. Insurance is something we all are required to have but HATE talking about it or learning about it. Here I will use my personal stories that somehow always lead back to insurance. My hope is that you will be educated about the insurance you are required to have, and maybe even entertained a bit! Feel free to send me your questions, but remember if you have policy specific questions, changes or billing questions please contact your agent.