Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for the consumer and market. Matthew is glad to parlay his writing and creative experience into producing insightful articles about the world of automobile insurance at Online Auto Insurance News.
Latest News by Matthew Morisset

The Benefits and Risks of Policy Exclusions

Posted on July 2, 2012

Excluded pawn from circleAutomobile insurance is designed to cover specific people under very specific circumstances, and rates are based on the probability that an accident will take place under those circumstances. If a motorist is involved in an accident or files a claim, their rates will often go up because of the possibility that they may file another claim in the near future. However, if a policyholder lives with someone who has a poor driving record, it could also increase their perceived risk and end up costing them more for vehicle coverage. Luckily, drivers are capable of excluding individuals from their policy.

When someone excludes a motorist from their policy, it generally means that their insurer will provide absolutely no insurance for the specified person if they drive the policyholder’s automobile. As a result, any listed person no longer impacts the insured motorist’s rates. However, in many states there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed in order to exclude someone from an existing policy. In certain situations, insurers may be unable to entirely deny someone coverage if they are injured while operating an insured automobile.

In Arizona, insurers are permitted to include exclusions commonly referred to as household, family, or intra-family exclusions. When these exclusions are added to a policy, it generally means that the bodily injury liability coverage that is available to family members and others who are living in the same household will be limited to $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, which are the state-required minimums. That’s regardless of the level of insurance that the policyholder has purchased. Arizona policyholders excluding a driver should clarify whether they are doing it through a full exclusion that provides absolutely no coverage or through one of these limited exclusions that only limits coverage to the state-required minimums.

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Higher Insurance Rates for Middle-Class Motorists

Posted on June 29, 2012

Graph going upThere are a lot of different expenses associated with owning an automobile. Apart from maintenance and the ever-growing cost of gas, people also need to pay for car insurance. A recent study by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) suggests that good drivers in moderate-income areas are often quoted high rates by many major coverage providers.

To get these results, the CFA compared quotes from four leading insurers across 15 major cities for moderate-income drivers who were searching for the minimum amount of liability protection required in their state. The CFA was surprised to find that 56 percent of the estimates they received were over $1,000 and that 32 percent exceeded $1,500. The question that continues to stump the CFA is why low- and moderate-income drivers with perfectly clean driving records are being charged so much for basic liability protection.

The CFA has called on state insurance commissioners to investigate these seemingly discriminating price differences, saying that the inflated prices in low-to-moderate income areas has led to a higher concentration of uninsured motorists.

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Accident Checklist: Things Policyholders Should Do

Posted on June 28, 2012

Person with checklistAn automobile accident can have serious financial consequences, even if nobody is injured. If motorists don’t record as much information as possible about the circumstances of the crash, it could be harder to determine fault, and they could end up being wrongly pegged as the driver responsible for the accident. To help drivers avoid unnecessary consequences of getting into a crash, here are a few helpful tips:

A vehicle owner should never admit responsibility or apologize at the scene of a car crash, according to the Nevada Division of Insurance. Often drivers are eager to place blame after a collision, and saying sorry or preemptively admitting fault could have some serious consequences. The party determined to be at fault will likely be responsible for the other driver’s property damage or injuries, and will most likely suffer increased insurance rates or, in some cases, have their coverage canceled entirely. Instead, drivers should focus on getting their vehicles out of the road if possible and making sure everyone is all right.

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How to Appeal Massachusetts Auto Insurance Surcharges

Posted on June 27, 2012

Gavel with Massachusetts state sealMassachusetts’s Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) helps encourage safer driving by rewarding those who keep clean driving records and issuing surcharge points to residents who cause automobile accidents and receive moving violations. While higher prices are often an effective way to discourage unsafe practices behind the wheel, insurers sometimes wrongly apply a surcharge to a person’s policy. As a result, the state has set up an appeals process that drivers in the state can use to contest surcharges.

If residents are issued a surcharge, it’s typically because they were believed to be at least 50 percent at fault for an accident, they filed a claim with damages of more than $500, or their actions in an accident fell under one of Massachusetts’s standards of fault. If someone feels that their rates have been wrongly increased, they can make an objection to the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal.

In order to fight a surcharge, a resident needs to mail an appeal to the appropriate state department within 30 days of receiving their notice, complete the form located on the back of the notice, and submit a $50 check or money order to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts/Board of Appeal. After the necessary forms have been received, the Board will schedule a hearing and inform the motorist. The resident will then have the opportunity to make their case either in person or through a written statement.

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Wildfires and Flooding Threaten Colorado Motorists

Posted on June 26, 2012

Red and orange fireWildfires and other natural disasters can be financially devastating for vehicle owners who are unprepared, since not all insurance policies cover damage caused by fire or flooding. Motorists need to purchase this additional protection for an additional cost. With the High Park fire roaring near Fort Collins, Colo., property owners in the Centennial State are urged to re-evaluate their policies.

As of June 22, the High Park fire has already consumed well over 68,000 acres of land in Larimer County. The Denver Post reports that at least $21.6 million has already been spent to combat the flames that continue to spread. Already over 190 homes have been lost. For a single property owner, this could translate into thousands of dollars worth of damage, and potentially more if they’re underinsured.

To help pay for vehicle damage, residents living in areas prone to natural disasters are encouraged to buy comprehensive coverage. This protection covers a wide range of damages, which includes fire, flooding, falling objects, vandalism, and theft. If a policyholder is forced to file a claim, they end up paying only their deductible. This is the amount that the insured motorist agrees to contribute to the cost of repairs. The more that a driver contributes, the lower their insurance costs will be.

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