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By Chuck Wells

As you know, if you have a car accident, your insurance company always thinks it’s your fault so it can raise your rates because they are money-hungry vultures just out to get all of us.

Well, maybe you should know the rules so you can fight that rate increase.

If you have an accident and your company pays out $1,000 or more for property damage (to fix your car or the car of someone you just hit), you are considered at-fault in the accident and your rates can go up for the next 3 years. If your company goes after the insurance company of the other party in your accident and they collect, your rates should not go up. You should argue the surcharge and if you have a local agent (you didn’t go through one of those 800 number outfits, did you?), ask the agent to help you.

From 1982 to 1985, the amount of damages necessary to be paid out in order for your rates to go up were only $400. New York State then raised that amount to $600 in 1985 and then to a $1,000 in 1991. It has been 12 years since New York raised that threshold. Double the length of time they have raised it in the past to keep up with inflation. I guess our legislators have been too busy working on the state budget and cell phone laws to tackle this.

If you have had any body work (on your car) done lately, you know that a $1,000 doesn’t go very far. It is ludicrous to still increase a person’s car insurance rates based upon such a low amount to be paid out. There is a proposal being initiated by insurance agents to increase that threshold to $2,000. I doubt that insurance companies will be in favor of the proposal. Any idea why?


Popular Science magazine has come out with the worst jobs to have in science. Now, I never did well with science courses in school and I really disliked math too. Sports and lunch were ok.

Anyway, here are some science jobs to avoid unless you are a complete nerd: Counting fish one by one which swim by dams in the Pacific Northwest. Reaching in to a cow’s stomach and pulling out its contents to be analyzed. Catching mosquitoes and being bitten 15 times a minute to see if you will get malaria.


We just hate it when someone is a failure. No one should be a loser in this country as it will give them low self-esteem and they will go out and sue someone else for their mistakes. Well, a high school in Beaufort County, South Carolina, adopted a new policy for two-semester courses. This policy states that a student who fails the first semester of a course will automatically get a 62 no matter what their actual grade. They call it an “encouraging 62.” I call it encouraging losers.

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