Everyone buys insurance, everyone needs insurance, but not many understand how the insurance industry works. Nor do people take the time to figure out how to buy insurance as an informed consumer.
If you want the inside scoop on how insurance works, wouldn’t you want to go to a person who works at the sharp end of the industry every day?
A plaintiff personal injury lawyer deals with insurance claims every day, that means he/she collaborates with the most important part of the insurance world. This vital part is when the insurance company has to pay out for your claim.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t buy insurance based on who has the nicest commercials showcasing the happiest people. You also shouldn’t buy you insurance based on price. It is important to ask yourself who that price point serves. If you are buying based on price what does that tell you about how a company pays out claims if a company is paying millions for TV commercials and making 100s of millions of dollars would you be interested in first-hand knowledge about how they approach paying their customers once a claim is submitted?
At MILLARS, we are often surprised by the answer we get when we ask our injured clients how they chose their insurance coverage. Often the decision is remarkably uninformed, and it is only after they need coverage that they realize they don’t have it, or more disturbingly that their insurance company has a policy that refuses to pay out until the last moment hoping that the customer out of exhaustion abandons their claim.
Here are a few insider tidbits that will help you buy insurance in the future,
1. Insurance Brokers can be very helpful, but sometimes they receive preferential treatment to sell you certain companies coverage, in such cases, you might not be getting the best coverage, and you might be lead to a company that shows low premiums but always disputes paying your claims.
ACTION: if using a broker ask them what limits they have on selling you insurance, what are their compensation models
2. Price is not the starting point for insurance purchases. We know that every penny counts and when doing a monthly budget saying 20-50 bucks here and there can make a difference. But think about why you buy insurance if you need coverage those extra dollars will pay off in the long run. If you can’t work and you didn’t buy disability coverage, or you bought cheap insurance that will deny your claims for loss of income until a lawyer takes it to court that decision can be devastating.
ACTION: buy from the best companies, research buying additional coverage which is often prices at higher discount than standard coverage, we recommend always buying more coverage on your auto policy an extra million on liability and the increased benefits packs, literally pennies more for huge additional benefits
3. Before you sign your insurance contract research the company on the Internet and find some recent cases http://www.canlii.org/ We would love to put on paper the insurance company’s names which we know treat their customers horribly, who refuse to pay, and who deliberately try to make it painful and expensive to get compensation because it hurts their bottom line. We would also love to recognize the companies that are a pleasure to deal with, who care about their clients more than money and who deserve your business…. but we would get sued, but you can do your own research.
ACTION: If you want to be real clever call a Plaintiff Personal Injury lawyer (like us) and I am sure they will tell you in person what companies to avoid at all costs and which ones treat their customers well after they need insurance
4. What happens if I am not covered. This happens every day, an insurance claim is made, and the customer receives word that they don’t have coverage for the claim. What is one to do? Well the insurance company would be pleased if you took them at their word and abandoned your claim. However, there is an appeal process and other options.
ACTION: Never take a company at their word if it comes down to them paying you money. Many companies have absolute denial policies where they deny everything at first blush, they know that over 20% of legitimate claims are abandoned just because they are denied, imagine the impact on their bottom line. Appeal everything, and you will be surprised by the results. Finally, if you find yourself without insurance coverage and someone is suing you threatening to take your house, or you might lose everything, it might not be your fault. Insurance brokers as they sell you insurance are obligated to make sure you know what you are buying and the exposure you face. There is a good chance they were negligent, and you could have a lawsuit against the broker that didn’t ensure that you knew about the coverage limits, since they are insured this is one area that can help in such difficult situations.
5. Finally, never buy coverage or legal representation based on friendships. Referrals are a great resource, but working with the best people is the single biggest variable in all dispute resolution. If you have an insurance claim and you are represented by someone the insurance company knows has little to no trial experience, their dollar amount will be much smaller than if you are represented by someone with a reputation for fierce advocacy. Don’t be afraid to research and ask tough questions when interviewing your doctor, your insurance broker and especially your lawyer…
for more info download our e-book on How to Get the Upper Hand when Hiring a Lawyer (Located in our Free PDF Guides)
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