Friday, January 4, 2019

Time To Review Your Car Insurance Policy Or You'll Be Sorry!

One of the most ignored expenses is car insurance.  I mean, who wants to bother looking over the renewal packet you get in the mail every 6 months or so?  They're long, boring, and state the same thing (in terms of your coverage) they did the last time you got one in the mail.  Up until a few days ago, I simply looked for the latest insurance card for my vehicle, pulled it out from the perforated portion of the sheet, and dropped it inside my car's glove compartment.  Done!  On to driving another year and paying my premium on automatic deduction from my checking account.

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Last November, my wife, Jessica, was rear-ended.  She texted me to tell me she was okay, but the rear bumper on her Lexus was warped and scratched up.  Well, turns out she got some whiplash, and has had to go to the chiropractor for her neck and upper back.  She was not at fault so we assumed things would go smoothly come time to get the Lexus fixed.  The person who was at fault for the accident had really bad insurance.  Anchor General...look at their reviews.  You better hope no one driving with this insurance ever wrecks your car!  But I digress.

We got tired of dealing with the claim directly with A.G. (we were being cheap and didn't want to pay the deductible of $500 with our insurer) so we let Allstate take over.  Our Lexus is in the shop and should be repaired by next week.  When will we get our deductible refunded?  Who knows?  These things drag on, especially when dealing with not so reputable car insurance companies.  My wife is also seeing a lawyer about her chiropractic expenses.

Now, you'd think that an accident, whether or not you were at fault, would be a good time to review your car insurance policy.  Mainly to see if you are under-insured.  But oh no...not for me.  I'm a dunce!  I went about my business as usual.  This week, my little sister visited from San Diego.  She lives with her boyfriend and is a recent graduate of SDSU.  She's a waitress, and has been trying for over a year to get admitted to a Physical Therapy program.  While visiting, she shared that she'd been admitted to a PT program in Oakland, CA.  It's pricey.  She already owes like $30K for her bachelor's degree.

It's her dream to become a PT so I made sure to counsel her on how to approach paying (and going into more debt) for her future studies.  But then she divulged that she was being sued!  I'm like...whaaaaat?!  She explained that over 8 months ago, she made a left turn into an empty parking spot and hit a car that was oncoming.  The driver, according to her, was not hurt, and was seemingly in good spirits after the accident.  No harm, no foul, right?  Wrong!

Recently, she received a summons to appear in court in April of this year.  Her insurer, Allstate, has informed her that the other side is asking for $50K in medical damages.  One huge problem...my little sister is only insured for $25K; this is the minimum a driver must have for liability coverage in CA.  Allstate has offered her legal help, because they're a great insurer.  I told her that chances are the case will be settled out of court.  But my little sister is obviously struggling with this.  She feels like her dream of going to a PT program is in jeopardy.  And she doesn't have any money.  Like most Millennials, she's got school debt she hasn't even started paying back yet!  I felt really bad for her.

This is when I got to thinking.  Holy shish...what's my coverage?  Unlike my little sister, I have assets to lose should I cause a serious accident.  I called my Allstate agent in Carlsbad, CA, and sure enough, I too only had $25K coverage (one person bodily injury)!  Folks, you get charged more than this for a simple test done at an emergency room.  $25K is nothing these days.  Imagine if you cause damage to more than one vehicle, or heaven forbid, you should seriously injure someone?  You're SOOOOO S.O.L!

I got on it quick.  I asked my agent to up my coverage to $100K per person bodily injury.  My deductible didn't change.  My premium went up by a mere $84 a term of six months.  I don't know what I was thinking driving around with the minimum liability coverage and I dare say I dodged a big one.  Now I ask...what kind of car insurance coverage are you driving around with?  If you're young, don't put your future at risk.  Everyone else, don't put your assets or income at risk.  Insure yourself as high as you can afford.  Peace of mind is priceless!   

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