- Selecting an Auto Insurance Company -
Mostly all businesses are nice while we are giving them money in exchange for the products they sell us. Most give us something tangible like food, firewood, electricity, used cars, toys etc. for our hard earned dollars. We can see, touch or use their products and get a feel for whether the product can or can not perform as expected based upon advertising and other implied abilities by the company selling the product.
Likewise most insurance companies are nice to deal with while we are giving them money in exchange for a paper promise that is generally only valid for six moths to a year.
If we’ve been accident free for that year we are happy because our life’s routines have been uninterrupted by an accident. Our insurer is also happy because they get to keep all of the money while we end up with an expired piece of paper. Then we get to repeat the process and it goes on year after year.
Unlike other products, with insurance, until that dreaded accident occurs we never know how we will be treated should we actually need to use the insurer’s paper promise. Decades could pass before we discover if we have been paying our hard earned money to a good insurer or a not so ethical insurer.
How will your insurance company treat you? What’s their track record? And more importantly, what’s their track record locally?
There is a huge national source of knowledge throughout this country that has the answer to those questions.
That information is at your local auto body repair shops. They see first hand, over and over again how each insurer, and their estimators, treat their insured and third party claimants. They know which companies are most likely to pay the full cost to repair the damaged vehicle and which companies will stall, delay and ultimately deny full payment.
Individual insurance company estimators have the ability to set the “real” day to day claims handling practices that an insurance company will be judged by in the area the estimator works. The best insurance company in our area may be the worst two counties over.
If you care about the money you have invested in your vehicle, before you sign an insurance contract, it may be a good idea to contact a few body shops and ask them about the “claims handling practices” they’ve experienced with the company you are considering purchasing automobile insurance from.
Also, ask if that body shop has any direct repair agreements (DRP) with any insurance companies. These DRP agreements could create a bias response to your questions