How Insurance Coverage Works and what should I know?
Insurance helps protect against losses you incur due to covered hazards in your policy. Getting coverage through RateTalk insurance you are not only being covered for these potential losses that affect you and your family, you are also saving money by applying for the right discounts and having a fantastic experience with our professional agents.
Finding the right Home and Car Insurance is easier and the best option you can take if you are getting a quote and shopping online. From the comfort of your home you can research coverage with different carriers.
In this section of the article, we will help with the following questions:
Why do I need to buy insurance?
Why do the initial quotes I get change significantly by the time I am ready to buy?
1. Why do I need to buy insurance?
1. Insurance protects your investment in your property from damages caused by a list of hazards.
2. Insurance protects you from lawsuits that could occur if you caused an accident or hurt someone with your car (or someone got hurt in your house or backyard).
3. Having insurance gives peace of mind and may help you with financial security – without property damage coverage, could you afford to replace your home and car tomorrow? Without rental car coverage, could you go to work when your car is in a repair shop due to an accident?
4. Most states require you to carry minimum levels of auto insurance, and if your vehicle is financed or leased, your lienholder or leaseholder may also require you to have insurance.
2. Why do the initial quotes I get change significantly by the time I am ready to buy? This can happen when a carrier or a quick rater marketplace pulls basic details for an online quote and later gets more in-depth information about you when they fully rate you. Your quote may also change if you change your policy coverage (e.g., raise your limits or lower your deductible) as you proceed with the quoting process. Sometimes, the price could also increase if you change your home address and where the vehicle is garaged, the rate changes when the (TXI) Texas Department Of Insurance applies a rate change due to the volume of accidents in your zone, however, this is something you are advised before it is applied.
What Should I Do In Case Of An Accident?
What is an at fault / no fault state?
If I’m insured in an at fault state, am I covered if I have an accident in a no fault state? Which limits? How about if I’m insured in a no fault state but my accident happens in an at fault state?
What should I do immediately when I’m in an accident?
What should I do to file a claim?
1. What is an at fault / no fault state? No fault states are states where people injured in car accidents go back to their own insurance companies for payment of their medical bills. This means they don’t have to wait for insurance companies to decide fault before seeking treatment. The No Fault system was meant to simplify coverage and make it easier for injured people to get treatment. At fault states use tort liability instead, meaning the person who caused the accident has to pay the medical bills and pain and suffering for the injured people. 12 states have no fault laws currently.
2. If I’m insured in an at fault state, am I covered if I have an accident in a no fault state? Which limits? How about if I’m insured in a no fault state but my accident happens in an at fault state? This question is complicated, but you can feel confident that if you have auto insurance you will likely be able to find coverage if you’re involved in an accident. If you drive into another state and have an accident, some states will extend your coverage limits to their minimum limits. In other states, you’ll use your own coverage limits.
3. What should I do immediately when I’m in an accident?
First, stay calm. Make sure you’re not hurt and check if anyone else is hurt or needs medical help. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
NEVER NEVER accept the liability even if you know you are at fault. Simply explain what happened to the police officer.
If you can safely move your vehicle to the side of the road out of traffic, you should.
Calling the police to help file an incident report is a best practice even if it doesn’t look like there is much damage. You or the other driver could find out (after everyone leaves the scene) that your or their car will cost more to repair than expected. Having a police report protects everyone.
If you are able to take pictures or videos for your records perfectly you can do it.
4. What should I do to file a claim?
1.1 Depending on your state being an at-fault or no-fault state and/or if the other driver accepts liability, you may be able to go through the other driver’s insurance company, but you can still report it to your carrier for help with the claim.
1.2 Otherwise, file your claim with your insurance company by calling the carrier directly, or reporting the claim online or via your carrier’s mobile app. See the link for each carrier’s contact information here. You can call your agent, but most of the time, the agent will have to direct you to the carrier for futher information.
1.3 Make sure to report your claim promptly as insurance companies follow strict reporting timeframes. We recommend filing within the first two weeks from the accident.
Social Security Number (SSN)
Does my credit score get hurt for getting an insurance quote?
Why would I want to provide my SSN to get a quote?
1.1 Does my credit score get hurt for getting an insurance quote?
No, insurance companies do a soft credit check, which is an inquiry that doesn’t show on your credit report. Insurance applications, personal credit checks, pre-approved credit cards, and applications for employment all use soft checks. Hard credit checks do show on your credit report and can affect your credit score. Hard checks happen when you apply for credit, like applying for a personal loan or a new credit card.
1.2 Why would I want to provide my SSN to get a quote?
Providing your SSN can make the purchasing process faster and really find the right company for yourself. Some carriers will not process your application without it, and while others might provide a “quick quote” without SSN, that quote might change significantly once they pull your credit report before the final purchase. Why so? Your SSN makes it easier for insurance carriers to verify the information you have given to them (including your identity) and also use your credit history to assess your level of risk before they accept to underwrite the insurance policy.
Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange Report (CLUE)
What is a CLUE report? Which data is covered in it?
CLUE is a standard report used by many insurers. The reports are created by a company called LexisNexis, and most insurance companies report losses to this centralized data system, and they access the information back so that they have a better picture about customers’ insurance claims and other history. CLUE reports show details of property claims you’ve submitted for up to seven years, including home, renters, condo, and auto losses, and further include information like the date of loss, amount paid, type of loss, insurance company, claim number, and policy number. Claim status is also included – whether a claim was paid, denied, withdrawn, or remains open.
What does this report mean to me? Your CLUE report is important as insurance companies can use the information to decide how much you’ll pay for your policy. Your premium can increase as much as 15% after a claim, even if the insurance company did not pay for that claim. So, it is critical your CLUE report is accurate.
How can I get a copy my CLUE report? Request a copy of your CLUE report from LexisNexis online or by calling them at 866-312-8076. You can obtain a copy annually for free. If a company denies you insurance because of your report, you are also entitled to a copy.
How can I get my CLUE report corrected if I find errors? Contact LexisNexis at 888-497-0011 or through email at consumer.documents@LexisNexis.com to notify them of errors on your CLUE report. They will investigate with the insurance company that reported that claim. If LexisNexis can’t verify it within 30 days, they will remove the entry from your CLUE report.
Should I regularly pull a copy of my CLUE report? Like your credit report, it is a best practice to pull a copy of your CLUE report once a year. Making sure it is accurate helps ensure you’re paying the best rate possible for your insurance coverage.
MVR – Motor Vehicle Record. What is a driver record (MVR)? Your motor vehicle report, or MVR, is a record of you and your driving history. The data it contains varies from state to state, but generally, in addition to your driving history (e.g., accidents, violations such as speeding or parking tickets or driving under influence), your MVR also has details like your address, whether you need glasses to drive, and any other driving restrictions. Most infractions stay on your MVR for 3-5 years, although more serious ones may remain permanently.
What does it mean to have a negative record – an at fault accident, no fault accident, minor violation, major violation? Insurance companies are interested in what your driving record says about you as a risk. Past behavior can be a good indicator of future behavior, so if you have lots of at fault claims and tickets, your carrier might assume you will incur more. Having a minor violation on your record – say a ticket two years ago for rolling through a stop sign – will be viewed differently from a major violation – perhaps a reckless driving ticket within the last six months. Accidents are costly and having an at-fault accident can indicate you’re a higher risk driver, so your rates will likely also be higher.
How do insurance companies use my MVR? Insurance companies use your MVR to help determine your risk as a driver. If your MVR shows no accidents or infractions, for example, it can help your insurance company rate you as a lower-risk driver. If your MVR shows at-fault accidents or other major issues, your insurance company may decide to offer you coverage only at a higher rate.
What can I do to improve my premiums if I have a legitimate negative record on my MVR? If you have negative records on your MVR, you will likely pay a higher premium because of it. But there are lots of ways to lower your premiums. Taking a defensive driving course can help. Ask your agent or carrier about other discounts you’re eligible for – bundling policies, making EFT payments, enrolling in telematics programs, and being a homeowner are common discounts. If you don’t drive much, consider a pay-per-mile policy that charges you based on how much you drive.
Should I ever check my driving record? You can obtain a copy of your MVR from your state’s DMV. Some states offer them for free online, others may charge a small fee for a paper copy. Checking it before applying for car insurance is a good idea.
Can there be errors in my MVR? It is possible there could be an error on your MVR. Reviewing it regularly can help you make sure it is accurate.
How can I get my MVR corrected for errors? Your state’s DMV maintains your MVR so if you find errors you will work with them to correct it.