By Chuck Wells
Think you will save money by
going to an 800 phone number and dealing directly with an
insurance company yourself? You may. And maybe it will wind up
costing you a lot more in the long-run. You could also buy one
of those do-it-yourself will kits and hope it flies after you
die. Or you could do some electrical jobs around the house and
hope your house doesn’t burn down.
Here’s the scoop. Almost every insurance company I have seen
over the past 25 years that tries to sell car insurance over the
phone has been unsuccessful. They tease people with low rates
and flashy TV ads to start a policy, usually cut coverages
without people knowing it, and when the claims start rolling in,
they head for the hills. Cheap insurance is just that.
You may save some money for a while but when the company jacks
up the prices to pay for claims, you will want to switch back to
a company that has a local agent. Who wants to wait 50 minutes
on the phone to talk with a stranger? If you have no claims and
no tickets, you may be ok. If you had a claim with your 800
company, forget about getting low rates through a local company.
You are now stuck. There goes that money you thought you saved.
And what happens when you have a big claim with an 800 company?
Do you think you are going to do better than having a local
agent help you? Forget it. You will be on your own and the
insurance company certainly does not want to pay out. You are
not an expert in dealing with insurance companies; your local
agent is. Just like if we came in and tried to do your job. That
few bucks you saved by going 800 will be meaningless if you wind
up getting thousands less in a claim.
I have seen the elderly switch car insurance over to an 800
company only to find out later that their liability coverage
(pays if someone sues you) was cut and they may lose everything
they have worked for after a serious car accident.
I have seen people conned into thinking the new premium they
were promised was for the whole year when, in fact, it was only
for 6 months. The 800 company telemarketer was only after the
sale and could care less what happens after that.
The bottom line is: you get what you pay for. Insurance today is
complicated and difficult for professionals to keep up with. It
is not a do-it-yourself project. You should have a local agent
who represents multiple companies who can assist in designing a
program that meets your needs and budget. Get an attorney for
your will and an electrician for the wiring job too!
PRUDENTIAL DROPPING AUTO AND HOME INSURANCE
Those of you who have Prudential auto and home insurance should
know that Prudential has sold your policies to Liberty Mutual.
Reason? Prudential’s top management said that if they would not
make at least a 12% return on your business, it was not worth
keeping. What will happen to your policies now? Who knows.
Prudential’s vice-chairman, Mark Grier, was quoted as saying
Prudential agents will still be able to service your policies.
If they pay a decent commission to the agents to service the
policies, it should be ok. If not, service may suffer. If
Prudential has not been able to make a profit on these policies,
I would think that Liberty Mutual will have to raise the rates.
BURGLAR SUES HOMEOWNER
Terrence Dickson of Bristol, PA finished burglarizing a house
and left through the garage. The door to the house locked behind
him and the automatic door opener in the garage wasn’t working
so he was stuck. The family was on vacation and Dickson was
trapped in the garage for 8 days. He lived on dog food and Pepsi
(and you thought it wasn’t good for you!). When he got out, he
sued the homeowner for mental anguish. A jury awarded him
HORSE DENTIST SUES
Sally Davies was awarded over $300,000 by a court in Australia
after she fell off a chair in a café. She said the injuries from
the fall caused her to lose her sexual urge. She also claimed
her practice as a horse dentist was affected.
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