Don’t settle for Good Enough – Understanding Auto Insurance

By: Denise Koslowsky

action-asphalt-auto-210019Auto insurance is something that almost everyone needs which makes the insurance marketplace incredibly competitive. With an extensive list of insurance carriers looking to capture your attention, offering safe driving bonuses and savings of 15%, it is understandable that people shop for auto insurance by comparing price.  Understanding the many details within a policy then becomes a lower priority.  Consequently, people unknowingly compare apples with oranges. They may have found a cheap price, but don’t realize there is little substance to the coverage.

We don’t want our customers to settle for insurance that is good enough. Advocate Brokerage wants nothing more than to educate our clients so that they can make the best insurance choice for their vehicles.  To help take steps in that direction we would like to offer a few important points:

Making the claims process easier
How much would it be worth to know that no matter the time of day, you will receive prompt service in the event of an accident?  Many of our preferred partners offer 24/7 emergency service.  What’s more, some follow through with payments within 48 hours of a claim’s settlement.

Valuating your car
After an accident that totals your car, your insurance company will pay the claim based on its value.  How your car’s value is determined will vary based on the carrier and type of coverage.  Most standard auto insurance policies valuate your car based on Actual Cash Value which is determined by the cost to replace your car less depreciation and subject to your deductible.  With our elite carriers, your car is generally valuated based on an Agreed Amount.  This means that in the event of a total loss, you receive the full value agreed upon at the time the policy is written with no reduction for depreciation or deductible. Furthermore, the value of the car does not depreciate during the policy year.

Defining a total loss
A car is commonly totaled at 70 – 75% of its value. What that means is that when the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds 75% of the value of the car then the insurance company will call it a total loss. With elite carriers, losses are often settled differently.  They consider a car totaled when the cost of repairing/replacing the damages exceed 50% of the car’s value and in some cases that number is less.

Loss of value when it comes time to sell
Imagine after an accident that leaves your car 65% damaged and your insurance carrier wants it fixed rather than totaled. Now you own a car that looks fine but is it potentially unsafe. That may seem fine when you decide to sell the car but the CarFax report will reveal the truth. It will show the value of the car has been drastically depreciated and as a result, you will be stuck with the loss.

How repairs are made
Our business partners all offer the use of OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer parts when damage needs to be repaired.  Many standard insurance policies use after-market parts and if you want to OEM parts to be used, you’ll have to pay extra for them.

Where repairs are made
With some insurance carriers, you are required to take your car to in-network repair shops and will charge extra if you choose to go out of network.  So if you have a favorite mechanic or a dealership that you trust when your car needs repair, you may be out of luck.

Ensuring your safety
Our modern vehicles are basically computers on wheels, repairs are more complicated which makes the parts that are used and the mechanics who install them more important than ever before. If the repairs are not done with OEM parts, and are not repaired in accord with the exact specifications of the manufacturer, the safety of the car can be compromised.  When insurance carriers force their clients to go to their authorized repair shops or do not use OEM parts, the car might look the same to the naked eye, but it may never be as safe.  This is especially true when there has been a major accident.

You can’t put a price on excellent customer service
Most people would agree that the care you receive can make a difference when choosing a product or service. Little things matter. With an elite auto insurance carrier, you get special care from your claims adjuster.  They may take the time to educate you on specifics regarding your claim; they may have cultivated partnerships with repair shops to make the repair process happen more smoothly and they most certainly will offer adequate coverage for loss of use so that while repairs are being made you can still drive in comfort and style in a vehicle equal to the one that is being repaired.

A few bonuses to consider
Our elite carriers offer a few bonuses that we thought it might be worth mentioning.  Worldwide liability offers you coverage no matter where you are in the world. Trip interruption would offer coverage if your vehicle breaks down during a road trip. Some carriers even offer coverage for any media that is damaged or stolen from your vehicle which is great if you keep your car stocked with a collection of Disney movies.  The details vary from carrier to carrier and some perks may be optional, but if any appeal to you, we can certainly discuss them.

The Bottom Line
We really do want you to relax with the knowledge that Advocate Brokerage will obsess about providing the best coverage for your specific auto insurance needs.  We don’t want you to settle for insurance that is good enough; we want you to choose coverage that is good for you. There is never any cost or obligation for an automobile insurance review from Advocate Brokerage. If you have specific questions and want to know more about what we would recommend for your family, give us a call at 914-723-7100. The results may surprise you.

*All coverage details that are described in the article above can vary from carrier to carrier. Coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of your individual policy contract.  For details, please contact your account manager.

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