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Car Insurance

A Blog About Driving and Car Insurance in the USA

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Car Insurance: Technicalities Can Catch You!

If you have a car, you have to have insurance-it's the law. But what you don't know about insurance can hurt you. I'll tell you what happened to me. A little over a year ago, I was driving my husband's car (for only the second or third time, ever), and I was involved in an accident. I was making a left turn in front of oncoming traffic, and a Ford Expedition hit the car on the right side near the front tire. My vehicle was picked up, pushed another fifty feet, and came to rest against a cement telephone pole. I was judged to be at fault, and my husband's insurance company dropped his coverage because I was not registered as a second driver on his policy. It turns out that insurance companies frown on that sort of thing.

After the accident, I got a letter from the DMV requesting proof of insurance coverage in force at the time of the crash. I figured, "Hey, no problem- I can fill this paper out, with his policy number, name, and all the other necessary information, and that will be the end of it!" It was far from over. A week later, I got another letter (not quite so nice this time) stating that my driver's license had been suspended because I'd failed to provide proof of coverage.

I was confused. I thought that I had fulfilled all their requirements. However, the DMV had a different take on the situation. They thought that I was trying to get out of my responsibility for the accident, by supplying the insurance information that was in my husband's name. The insurance company was no help, as technically I shouldn't have been driving the car to begin with.

The car was totaled. The other person's vehicle had over $12,000 in damage, which probably contributed to the insurance company dropping my husband's coverage like a hot potato. Since the insurance company only paid the other driver $10,000, that person sued me for the balance. I'm just now paying that off.

I eventually got the situation straightened out, though. I provided an affidavit to the DMV that I had only been driving the car for an emergency reason (I was on my way to the hospital because my sister was having a baby). They then accepted the proof of insurance that I had supplied to them before, and I was able to get my license back three weeks and $350 later.

That little oversight on my husband's part ended up costing both of us. He didn't feel the need to have me on the policy because I didn't drive the car that often, and he thought it would save money to exclude me from it. Turns out, it would have been cheaper to just add me as a driver.

All's well that ends well, however. I am more careful in the way that I drive now, and I am in the process of restoring my "daily driver" - a 1969 Pontiac LeMans. The insurance (which is higher due to the company considering my vehicle a "muscle car", but that's a story for another post) is in my name, so there's no mistaking who's covered in case of an accident.

To sum it up, what you don't know CAN come back to bite you later. If you are married, make sure that you are on the car insurance policy. If I had known the importance of that issue a year ago, I wouldn't have lost my driver's license, or been sued. It may only be a technicality, but it's an important one.

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9 Comments:

Blogger ShadowWind said...

Insurance companies are notorious, whether for car, or for health, for dropping people when they actually have to pay out because of a "technicality". They really do need to have a law in place and oversight that keeps an eye on these sort of "fine line" catches.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 3:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Jake Auto said...

If you are concerned about unfair practice by your insurer, The National Association of Insurance Commisioners maintains a database of insurance company information, including a tally of complaints that reach state level.

Insurance Complaints by Company Report

Friday, October 09, 2009 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is happening to me right now..except i didnt get into an accident i was pulled over for speeding

Friday, November 13, 2009 6:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Car Insurance said...

> except i didnt get into an
> accident i was pulled over for
> speeding...

Did you get a ticket for not being on the car owner's insurance policy? If so, how much was it?

Friday, November 13, 2009 7:10:00 PM  
Anonymous blackMARKER1 said...

Time and time again, it is seen that those who don't read the terms of the company that they are with pay the price. It is extremely important to do this before registering with any company.

Sunday, August 08, 2010 7:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Aron Abrams said...

So sorry to hear about that. Definitely need to keep an eye on these notorious insurance companies and follow their rules at least we can avoid such situations.

Thursday, February 03, 2011 2:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Jessa said...

It is very important that you read all the policies of the insurance companies before signing in. Review the it from time to time because some companies changed their policy after six months. You may know them before and might not now. Be a smart costumer and be sure to make a comparison shop from all the companies and be sure to get the company that offers you the best benefits.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011 8:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

be happy and love. kiss

Friday, April 29, 2011 1:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Kanchan said...

This incident brings the importance of doing a comprehensive check of the motor insurance insurance prior to your purchase. I recently did a comprehensive comparison between car insurance (http://www.royalsundaram.in/car-insurance-online.aspx) policies offered by different insurance service providers. There is a big difference in the number of covers being provided by each one of them. A colleague recently purchased a motor insurance from Royal Sundaram and found that their plan gave good covers.

Monday, January 02, 2012 1:23:00 AM  

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