View Full Version : Automobile insurance query
09-21-2007, 01:26 PM
The other day, I'm following a truck (yes, at a safe distance) and their tires toss up a rock and it puts a bullseye in the windshield. I get the guy to stop and exchange insurance info, and a police officer says that it's not the trucker's fault, and that my insurance will go up if I report it. OK.
Not that they're ignorant of these things, but I prefer to leave law enforcement to the police, and insurance matters to insurance people. So, I call my agent, who puts me on hold while she pulls my file (which has zero claims) and then calls the company. Here's where this gets a little sideways.
She tells me that to get a definite answer, I have to call the company and file a claim. That being done, even if they don't fix it under my comprehensive coverage or subrogate against the other party, that the claim will be on my record and my rates can increase.
Someone please explain to me how, if no $ is paid out on an occurrence not resultant from any negligence of mine, that the mere reporting of same can be used to surgically extract money from my wallet.
09-21-2007, 01:38 PM
First it's not the truck's liability, unless you can show negligence: i.e. improperly secured load, no mud flaps, etc.
Ins. companies have different policies concerning individual risk. What if you had half a dozen claims within a few months, none your "fault", couldn't the company fairly conclude that you're a high than average risk and raise your rates?
I don't think most major cos. raise rates for one routine claim, and I'm not defending the practice of raising rates for such, but I think a case can be made for it.
09-21-2007, 01:43 PM
Not exactly an answer, but I was told a similar thing by my insurance company, but with respect to home owner's insurance.
My chimney came down in a bad windstorm. I called the insurance company and they sent an adjuster, who told me to get an estimate from a contractor. The estimate came in about $100 above my deductible, so I called my agent to say that I'd rather pay than have a claim. I was told that whether I accepted the check or not, I would still have a claim against my policy.
09-21-2007, 02:11 PM
I guess it depends on your state. In Massachusetts, comprehensive insurance has to pay 100% to have windshields repaired or replaced. In fact, I made an appointment for a mobile truck to replace mine in the parking lot at work on Monday. The cost is $0 and I have had it done a few times over the years on our vehicles. The rates don't go up either.
09-21-2007, 02:24 PM
In my professional insurance experience, one comp claim won't affect your rates. It will go on record as being a claim, but in general you would have to have multiple comp claims in period of time (like 3 in 6 months) to have a rate increase.
The Great Sun Jester
09-21-2007, 02:39 PM
Whether a comp claim, paid or not, will adversely affect your premium depends on the comapany. All you can really bet on is that if your rates can go up because of an unpaid claim, the criteria have been reviewed and approved by your state's insurance commissioner (a consumer advocate, not a grand high insurance poobah).
What would be bugging me is that your agent doesn't know enough about what affects your rates to give you any kind of useful advise. If my agent were that useless, I'd fire him.
Harriet the Spry
09-21-2007, 06:16 PM
Have you contacted the truck's insurance? Like you said, law enforcement to the cops, insurance stuff to the insurers. Even without the truck driver being negligent, that rock could have caused a lot more damage. It could have gone through the windshield and taken your eye out, for example. Would they not be liable then? If my car damages your car without my negligence (say, slides into it during an earthquake) isn't my insurance still liable? Also, would someone without comprehensive coverage be completely SOL for the damage, even if it were severe? With insurance, the principle is usually the same for large or small damages.
Good luck getting this resolved.
The Great Sun Jester
09-21-2007, 06:41 PM
Would they not be liable then?
Probably not even then, although with a severe injury there would likely be more of an investigation than if the damage is limited to a windshield.
If my car damages your car without my negligence (say, slides into it during an earthquake) isn't my insurance still liable?Absolutely not. Unless it can be proven that it slid because you igored knowledge of an impending earthquake and knowingly parked your car in a clearly irresponsible way (like, balanced on a pole directly above another car)
Also, would someone without comprehensive coverage be completely SOL for the damage, even if it were severe?Yep. No coverage = no benefits of coverage. If you've got a 2007 Porsche with no comp on it and a hurricane blows through and floods it...SOL is in fact the technical term for such situations.
09-21-2007, 06:58 PM
Also, would someone without comprehensive coverage be completely SOL for the damage, even if it were severe?I've never carried comprehensive coverage on a car, so I can confirm: yep.
Of course, in 3.5 years, I've only had to replace one windshield, at a cost of about $100, well below what comp would have cost for that time.
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