Orange County Auto Insurance Deception on the Rise
Injured in a car accident in Orange County? Think your auto insurance company is going to help you?
A recent trend has developed in which auto insurers have become increasingly aggressive in trying to minimize or curtail car crash victims claims. Before you think we are talking about the other guys insurance… You know the person that rear ended you? their insurance?
We are talking about your very own car insurance company.
The insurance you send your costly premiums to each and every month without fail for fear of losing coverage…. The insurance company that lets you name your own rates, has you in their good hands, was founded on insuring America’s farmers, etc… are making deceptive statements (lies) to their insureds in order to minimize their workload and lower costs presumably to reap even higher profits at your expense.
Back prior to 1988, an auto insurer could raise your rates for any reason they wanted. If you had an accident that was your fault, your rates woudl go up. If the accident was not your fault, your rates went up. If you lived on the wrong side of the street, your rates went up. California car insurance consumers eventually got fed up and passed Proposition 103. Prop 103 basically prevented insurers from raising rates in a willy nilly fashion. It prevented insurance companies from raising your rates or cancelling your coverage if you were in an accident that was not your fault or for not having an insurance [policy in the past. It also caused insurers to roll back their rates since they jacked them up in response to the state making auto insurance mandatory before licensing a car.
How are car insurance companies deceiving Orange County car accident victims today?
Here are examples that we are seeing from all major auto insurance companies in California:
- Telling policy holders that their insurance will go up if they file a claim with their own insurance in an accident that is not their fault (a direct violation of Prop 103)
- Telling insurers they have a large deductible to pay if they use their own insurance for medical benefits (very few medical payments policies have a deductible and if they do you need to change your insurance right away because it’s a sign of a dishonest auto insurance policy)
- Telling policy holders if they report an accident not their fault it will count against them on their driving record
- Telling policy holders you’re not supposed to use your own insurance when another driver is at fault and that you must use the other person’s insurance for repairs and medical treatment
- Telling policy holders they must be seen by an insurance company selected physician and not a doctor of their choosing for treatment of car accident injuries
These are all patently false statements, lies if you will, and only the most recent examples of how California Auto Insurance companies are trying to dissuade policy holders from using their car insurance in order to minimize claims.
The problem is, these tactics work. Policy holders are afraid of being cancelled or having their rates increased. They have no idea that laws exist to protect them so they cower and allow the insurance companies to dictate to them how a claim is handled.
If you’re not going to use your insurance when you’re in an accident then what are you paying for each month?
When you’ve been hurt in a car accident, your own insurance company is supposed to assist you. You’ve paid them for months and years so that just in case you are involved in a crash, you will not have the financial burden of going it alone. You have the right to use your policy to the limits.
Don’t be intimidated.
If your own insurance company is lying to you, let them know you are educated and know your rights and you choose to exercise your rights to sue your policy. If they do threaten you or raise your rates or cancel you, then you may have a very good case against them for “bad faith.” If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, let us know, our Legal Concierge can assist you with any questions.
Beware of another way in which insurance companies are trying to raise your rates: NO on Prop 17.
Mercury Insurance Group is pouring millions of dollars into Prop 17 to allow car insurance carriers to charge a surcharge to anyone who previously was uninsured for a period of time. That means if you are in the military and decide to cancel your policy for the months you are away, when you return you will pay a penalty of about $1,000 each year in higher rates. What if you go away to college and do not operate car in California, then return? When you get a new policy you will pay an extra $1,000 per year. Policy lapses due to a missed payment or financial distress? Your next policy will cost you $1,000 more per year.
Prop 17 Headlines:
Mercury Insurance asks judge to allow them to hide language of Prop 17 in ballot pamphlet. Mercury wants to conceal rate increases, but judge says no.