Posted by: winteridge | December 11, 2010

But, But, But I have No-Fault?

Like our medical insurance, it is not often we get to see our auto insurance system in action, and yes, we like it that way. As New York requires most of us to insure our vehicles, we tend to randomly choose an insurer- there is not really much difference pricewise or coveragewise among the majors.  Go with a broker you like, or go with the lovable little lizard or gerbil or whatever who does their ads. We pay our mandatory premiums, which seem to increase every year whether we have a claim or not, and hope we won’t be arbitrarily cancelled.

Recently, I was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to experience the auto insurance system, with no injuries involved.  Interesting.  My daughter’s Honda was struck and destroyed by a hit & run driver on an Albany street.  Fortunately, she was not in the car.  Also, fortunately, the kamikaze driver left his license plate among the debris, as he rushed to the hospital, and the police found him quickly and deservedly issued him a book of citations.

Strangely enough, the police would not release their accident report for 5-6 days, (even though the DMV demanded a complete report within 10 days), but once we obtained the insurance information, both our insurance company (Allstate), and the other driver’s (Progressive) were very co-operative and helpful, and, our car being totally demolished, we received a fair and just settlement in just a few days.  By that time, we had found a good replacement car, so all ended well. The system does work, albeit with much duplication of effort.

Having been heavily involved in this process, I could, and will, offer up a couple of suggestions to reduce the paperwork.  Other than the initial police report, we were required to search out online and file a complete accident report to the DMV (within 10 days),  as well as 2 written reports and a couple of verbal reports with each of the insurance companies.  Enough already with the duplication!  I cannot imagine what it would be like for a driver who suffered injuries in an accident.

Rather than making the innocent victim complete multiple accident reports to every authority involved, it would make more sense to me, in this highly technological age, for the police department involved to complete one report with all the necessary information, then file it online, with a copy to the Motor Vehicle Department, at the same time making all that information available to all insurance companies concerned.  Unlike myself, with my limited experience with accidents, a professional police report prepared by professionals would provide the DMV and insurance companies with all the required details of who, what, when, where, how, and possibly even why.  Instantly.  No fuss, no hassle.  Would it be that difficult to co-ordinate and disseminate all that information in an organized manner?

To add to the comedy, two weeks after everything was settled, we received a letter from our insurance company, informing us that they were diligently trying to find a salvage buyer for our damaged vehicle (which they never had), which should not take more than 60 to 90 days, after which they would send us prompt payment, unless, of course, we were partly at fault!  Hello?  One would think they would at least be in communication within their own organization.  And all this will surely generate another premium increase, even though Allstate incurred no more expense than the cost of a couple of stamps.  That’s the way it works.   It is great to see a system in action, but it could use some work.  But that’s Just My Opinion.



  1. I have GEICO, which I got for the ’78 Honda I had just before my present ’92 Toyota. Then it was considerably cheaper than the big guys, and I lived in DC where Government Employees Insurance Corp started. I’ve never had a reason to change.
    My philosophy is that you don’t really start saving money on a car until it’s ten years old or so. Anyhow, I’ve rarely used my insurance, and of course I don’t have collision or comprehensive, but I’ve always wondered why you can’t insure an old car for more than the bluebook value if you are willing to pay the premiums. If my ’92 were even slightly damaged, even if it were the other driver’s fault, it would be “totaled” and I would have to get another vehicle. I could never find an equivalent one for what they would pay because I have taken really good care of it, and it only has 91,000 miles on it and I only can dirve it up here on the Hill for half the year. So essentially I have no insurance, but I have to pay for it anyway.

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