By Denise Koslowsky
Advocate Brokerage has been specializing in the needs of affluent individuals for as long as I can remember. A preponderance of our clients live in beautiful homes and drive luxury cars. To be clear, the staff at Advocate Brokerage is not snobbish, and our clients span the socio-economic spectrum from post graduates to senior citizens. When it comes to auto insurance there has been a recent trend, and seemingly every family we insure now owns a Tesla, a Maserati Ghibli, or a Porsche Panamera. OK, maybe not every family, but many, many families that we insure seem to own cars like these.
We continually recommend our elite carriers such as Chubb, Pure, AIG Private Client Group, as well as others* as the insurer of choice for such cars. We can point out the important distinctions between these policies verses a conventional insurance policy (such as the ones that seem to hourly advertise their hype on TV). The truth is that many policyholders assume all auto carriers are equal. Consequently, they are unwilling to pay for a more expensive auto policy, and we respect that. However, my family recently suffered an eye opening claim of our own that put into practice what I have preached about being insured by insurers specializing in the high value arena.
Here is what I learned firsthand that will never be written in any insurance contract…
My husband was cut off and struck a curb in his Maserati Ghibli. He was fortunate enough not to pop a tire nor dent the car, nor to get hurt. But the jostle of the impact caused his passenger side airbags to implode. Thank goodness, there was not a passenger in his car at the time! The car is programmed to automatically shut down when this occurs; so it had to be towed. We anticipated the damage to replace the airbags in a Maserati would be expensive, but what followed next was truly astonishing.
You get what you pay for. There are no insurance “bargains.” To explain: The direct writers are insurers that advertise on TV with cute advertisement that make them sound good. They are what the industry calls “price peddlers”. They pitch cheap insurance with minimal personal interaction.
There is no substitute for the elite carriers we partner with
I should mention here that we were (and still are) insured with Chubb. I received a call from Rob Masi, the Senior Claims Officer who is an expert in Chubb’s specialty car segment. He told me that Chubb was totaling the car, and would pay us the agreed value ($89,166!). Not for a minute did we think that “little” jostle, could damage the car to the point that it would be totaled. Chubb’s reason was simple, but it overwhelmed and surprised us. The damage from the airbags destroyed the seats. And unbeknownst to us there was a bent brake line. In order to fix this in a Maserati, the entire engine block needed to be removed. In a Maserati, this means flying in a technician from Italy. Fixing the seats, the airbags, and the transmission would cost around $45,000.
Rob Masi told us that once the damage on the car exceeds 50% of the value, Chubb will total the car. Secondly, because we owned the car, once this type of claim is on CarFax, the value of the car would be forever diminished. We did not realize any of this, had Rob Masi not enlightened us, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to sell this particular car.
Most conventional insurance companies cap the hourly wage they will pay, use after-market parts, and do not offer an agreed value. They encourage you to use their own network shops instead of the dealership or a foreign car specialist. If you go out of network, you will be expected to pick up any extra costs. As I went through this process with Chubb, I kept thinking about these particular cars, and why it makes no sense to take such a chance with them. The savings cannot possibly be worth the lack of coverage.
We’ve been saying that we want you to relax with the knowledge that we obsess about providing the best coverage for your specific needs. My hope is that the details of our family’s personal experience helps to show you that we really do have your best interest in mind when we recommend certain coverage and carriers. If you have any questions about the experience detailed above or your specific automobile coverage, please don’t hesitate to give Advocate Brokerage a call.
* New to the high-end car market is Cincinnati and NatGen Premier