Tag: Insurance

By on August 11, 2017

wells fargo

California’s insurance regulators have launched an investigation into Wells Fargo following the bank’s confession that it forced hundreds of thousands of auto loan borrowers to pay for insurance policies they didn’t need and, in many cases, were unaware of.

There’s also a congressional investigation underway, where U.S. senators are asking the company basic questions like who was affected, how broadly, whether they get a refund, and why the hell this occurred in the first place.

Unlike JPMorgan Chase or Bank of America, Wells Fargo’s auto loan contracts allowed the lender to obtain collateral protection insurance on a customer’s behalf if they failed to buy liability coverage themselves — or if the bank assumed they hadn’t. It’s not common practice and, when it causes paying customers to default and have their vehicle repossessed, it’s not difficult to see why.  (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2017

car wreck crash vintage Chevrolet

Safety enhancements are, undoubtedly, a good thing. People are walking away from wrecks that would have been fatal a few decades earlier and crash avoidance systems can keep inattentive drivers out of trouble altogether. The downside is that these features have made vehicles more expensive to purchase and repair.

Bob Tschippert, the senior vice president of underwriter Risk Theory, says that advancements in technologies have made vehicle repairs so costly that insurance companies have begun declaring substantially more injured cars a total loss. “In the past, if you had a front-end collision, you had damage to the engine or the front end,” Tschippert explained. “But now, with the number of airbags that can run from $1,000 up to $4,000 and all the sensors up front, you’re seeing more totals.”  (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2016

Iowa (Don Graham/Flickr)

If it wasn’t for the blissful autonomy and convenience that comes with car ownership, how many people would want to shoulder the ever-growing cost? Insurers lie in wait to squeeze you, law enforcement waits to punish you, environmental groups demonize your lifestyle, and governments at all levels salivate at the thought of making it more expensive to own a personal vehicle.

Meanwhile, you dance to the tune set by oil companies and geopolitics, weathering financial blows when pump prices rise. If only there was a place where those worries fell away — where the act of owning and driving a car wasn’t as stressful.

As it turns out, this place exists. And it’s just west of the Mississippi. (Read More…)

By on November 28, 2016

Bentley Continental GT V8 S

Rising insurance premiums are a plump grape in the cornucopia of adult annoyances, but they grow into a ripe apple when forces outside of your control cause them to skyrocket.

Now, imagine that there’s only one insurance provider, and you already pay taxes towards it. That’s the reality in several provinces north of the border, but one jurisdiction just crashed head-on into an unforeseen problem: new money, and the skyrocketing increase in six-figure vehicle ownership that came with it.

To save the owners of Malibus and Journeys from a major jump in premiums caused by ultra-pricey supercar repairs, one Canadian province has taken drastic steps. (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2016

car insurance (State Farm/Flickr)

To quote Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

You certainly don’t need TTAC to tell you auto insurance premiums are on the rise. You already know rates are trending up, well in excess of inflation. Nonetheless, let’s unpack some of the factors that have the average American now spending more than $100 per month on auto insurance. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2016

hail-damage-1272030_960_720

Luis writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I live in Texas where we’ve had terrible rain and hail storms. My daily driver is a 2004 Acura RSX Type-S with 111,000 miles on the clock. I purchased it second hand last year after driving my last car for ten years. A ’99 Civic coupe (178k miles, which I still own but leave parked). Anyway, the Acura incurred at least $7,000 in hail damage, mostly on the roof, hood and trunk, and minor damage on the sides. My question is: should I keep it? It runs great and has never been modded or in an accident. The insurance will pay off the balance of my loan (about $6,200) and make it even-Steven, or they will pay around $6,000 (which is the value minus the assumed auction price of $1,100) to the bank and I will have to pay the $1,100 balance and be able to keep it. Either way, it will make it a “total loss”. The adjuster said it will not be branded on the title as salvage but will be deemed a total loss that will show up on a Carfax. Making full coverage is not an option. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

In his Master Plan, Part Deux, some of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s visions make a lot of sense, like a compact SUV based on the Model 3 platform, and a pickup truck, which will presumably have more than enough torque to haul around a big load (and plenty of space for a big battery pack).

That’s not at all what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about some of the more speculative parts of the Musk vision: the self-driving vision. (I first wrote about some of the dystopian aspects of self-driving cars for TTAC in 2010.)

Musk wants you, the owner of a Tesla, to click a button and have your self-driving car go off and Uber itself during the day while you’re at work, earning you money. It will come back to you at the end of the day, ready for you to use again. This vision is going to have a very harsh collision with reality. (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2016

Deer Crossing Dixboro Road, Superior Township, Michigan, Image: By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Michael writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Back in December, I purchased a new 2016 Ford Mustang 2.3-liter Ecoboost. Awesome car, my first Ecoboost and my first “sports” car. Anyway, the vehicle only has 2,200 miles and I’m still very much breaking it in.

Much to my dismay, last week while driving home through a wooded stretch, I struck a deer in the middle of the road. The deer was already dead, laying across multiple lanes with no way for me to avoid.

(Read More…)

By on July 6, 2016

statefarm

Ever wonder exactly how the various “quick-lube” places in your city made a profit?

The price of motor oil rises and falls — mostly rises — but the pricing stays at $19.95 or $24.95 or whatever your local market will bear. As fate would have it, most of my vehicles aren’t compatible with the quick-lube business model of having some sweaty dude waving your air filter in your face and telling you that it has the Zika virus while an actual rhesus monkey cross-threads your drain plug using an impact gun. My 993, as an example, has two oil filters, while my Boxster requires a 32-step process to get to the air filters. Nor would I trust my mighty Accord V6 to somebody whose path in life hasn’t qualified them to work above ground.

Not all of us have the luxury of doing our own oil changes at home, however. You might not have the space, the tools, the ability, or the time that’s required to do it correctly yourself. That last factor is perhaps the biggest. If you’re working two McJobs to make ends meet, the Valvoline Oil Change down the street might be your only practical choice. The good news: it’s cheap. The bad news: some of that cost savings comes from another way the shop makes money on you, without you even knowing.

(Read More…)

By on March 17, 2016

Car collision (Mark Turnauckas/Flickr)

As we reported yesterday, a group of top automakers has agreed to offer automatic emergency braking (AEB) on almost all of their models by 2022.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed the voluntary agreement today, meaning virtually all light-duty cars and trucks sold in North America will adopt the safety feature by Sept. 1, 2022.

The group is made up of Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2015

Teddy Lee

Ontario announced this week that it would be the first Canadian province to allow autonomous driving on its roads (although maybe not autonomous Volts) and it would make insurance companies discount policies for owners who have winter tires.

The programs were announced Tuesday and Wednesday by the ministries of finance and transportation in the province.

Ontario would join a handful of U.S. states that allow autonomous cars, including California and Michigan, on its roads for testing. According to the statement announcing the program, companies developing autonomous cars can begin applying for permits next month.

(Read More…)

By on October 10, 2015

IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface

Volvo Cars President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson announced Thursday in Washington, DC, that the automaker would “accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode,” making Volvo one of the first automakers to solve one of many important legal issues that face autonomous vehicles.

Volvo made the announcement just days after launching a project in Sweden that will see 100 Volvo XC90s with autonomous functionality hitting the roads around Gothenburg in 2017.

(Read More…)

By on August 31, 2015

1

“Honey? I just got into an accident!” she said.

My body experienced an instant adrenaline rush as my mind wandered through the worst “what if?” possibility of that moment, something like the image above.

My wife… Hospital… Pain… Medical bills… The other driver…

“Is everyone okay?” I asked in reply.

(Read More…)

By on August 27, 2015

1985 Mercedes Benz SL

Matt Gephardt and KUTV in Salt Lake City have a good story about a Utah man who was hit by a state vehicle and its insurance company — which is the state itself — shortchanged him on his 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible.

The car was totaled, and the state offered to pay $8,000 for the car. Tyler Winger, who said he restored the car with his grandfather, said the car was worth $12,000 to $13,000. (He’s not completely wrong.)

Winger said the state told him that they wouldn’t budge and that he couldn’t complain to the state’s insurance oversight board since that board doesn’t have oversight over the state’s self-insurance company.

(Read More…)

By on August 10, 2015

Google Compare for Auto Insurance

Automotive insurers use more than just your driving history to set your rates, the New York Times is reporting.

Factors such as your credit score, address and marital status can increasingly affect premiums more than driving history, the story explains.

A survey of the nation’s largest insurers — Geico, State Farm, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual and Farmers — found that a hypothetical woman in her 30s paid more if she was widowed, instead of married, at four of the five firms. The premium increases ranged from 3 percent to 29 percent. Only State Farm charged the woman the same, regardless of marital status.

(Read More…)

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