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Auto Insurance

Location is Key to Accurate Auto Insurance Rates

Location is Key to Accurate Auto Insurance Rates

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A recent automobile insurance case in Maine was a victory for fine print. The Dairyland Insurance Company came up against someone who had provided false information on their insurance documents and purchased auto insurance in a different state than the one they were living in. In some cases, an insurance policy cannot be rescinded, which makes this case particularly interesting in the insurance industry.

There are, however, rules regarding falsifying information in order to receive insurance discounts, better rates, and other benefits. As McArthur Sullivan found out, legal fees cost a lot more than just paying a bit extra for your automobile insurance in the first place.

The Case

The case involved a man named McArthur Sullivan, who had purchased multiple personal car insurance policies for his vehicles. He purchased these policies and, on his insurance contract, stated that he lived in Wales, Maine, and kept his cars there as well.

Dairyland Insurance Company, found out that Sullivan had misrepresented himself with the personal information he had given them in order to insure his vehicles. Rather than living and storing his vehicles in Maine, as he had previously stated, evidence was found that he lived in Massachusetts and garaged his vehicles there as well.

The Insurance Company then sought to rescind the insurance policies they had given Sullivan, which resulted in a court case when Sullivan protested the nullification of his existing auto insurance policies.

A federal district court in Maine tried the case and found that an insurance company can pull a policy if the policy was based on false information provided by the person seeking insurance coverage. The application for Sullivan’s insurance policy included a statement that said that any false, incomplete, or misleading information put on the application could lead to consequences that included imprisonment, fines, or a denial of insurance benefits.

Dairyland also provided documentation that stated their right to rescind any insurance policy that was based on misrepresentation or circumstances that affected an applicant’s eligibility of risk (such as where they and their cars reside). This also includes situations where the insurance policy premium is lower than what they would pay if they had provided correct information.

For instance, if Sullivan had purchased auto insurance for his vehicles in Massachusetts, his payments would have been higher than he was paying in Maine.

Maine law also backs up Dairyland’s claims. Maine’s laws state that an insurance carrier can indeed pull an insurance policy that was given as a result of omissions or false information.

The Result

Dairyland won the court case due to the amount of evidence it had that stated a person must provide accurate information about themselves and their vehicles in order for the insurance policy to be considered valid. Maine law and Dairyland’s own insurance contracts provided a foundation for the court case to be heard in a federal court.

Dairyland was able to prove that Sullivan misrepresented himself on purpose and with the intention of gaining benefits from the false information he put in his application. The court found that Dairyland would not have issued an insurance policy to Sullivan based on the actual facts he would have put in his application, had he truthfully represented himself and his situation. The court upheld Dairyland’s decision to rescind Sullivan’s automobile insurance policies.

This case could have further implications not only for the auto insurance industry, but for other insurance policies as well. If someone is issued an insurance policy based on false or withheld information in their profile, an insurance company could be well within their rights to take away that insurance coverage if the person is found to have falsified application information.


THE SKYLINE DIFFERENCE

Other brokerages take a cookie cutter approach to insurance and outfit their customers with generic coverage.  Skyline is different.  We believe insurance should be built on innovation and experience. We appreciate the fact that every engagement is unique and understand proper coverage requires a deep understanding of the underlying business and individual.

"The opportunity to safeguard your concerns is a privilege we never take for granted."
 
 
 

Auto Insurance Faces Industry Changes

Auto Insurance Faces Industry Changes

Understanding the automobile insurance changes affecting commercial trucking companies.

The world of automobile insurance is wide and varied, just like the diversity of the vehicles on the roads everywhere in the world. Automobile insurance is constantly changing to meet the needs of car owners, automobile companies, and transportation ventures globally. The market rises and falls just as it does in other insurance fields; the trends are often quite different from one year to the next.

When it comes to commercial automobile insurance, recent trends are actually almost the opposite of what they are in the rest of the automobile insurance world. Most car insurance policies are relatively inexpensive and the risk is spread over a large group, thus there are more insurance options made available for automobile owners. However, the relatively small pool of commercial vehicles such as trucks has seen insurance costs rise along with the risks associated with these types of vehicles.


Factors in rising costs

Trucking and other transportation companies in the United States have to conform to local, state, and federal regulations. These companies operate large vehicles with varying amounts and types of cargo, and are often taking this cargo over state lines. Truckers can work long hours with little sleep in order to reach their destination on time, and the risks associated with this kind of driving can boost insurance costs.

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The market for commercial trucking companies is hardening while the general automobile insurance market is softening. This is caused by several factors that developed over the past few years and have all come into play to impact the market at the same time. The pool of insurance underwriters dealing with commercial trucking insurance is smaller than that of the mainstream personal automobile industry, and costs have gone up as fewer underwriters are willing to accept the risks these companies pose.

In addition to tired drivers, the vehicles themselves can also boost insurance costs and risks. Large vehicles are dangerous to smaller vehicles on the road, and regulations regarding size and fuel efficiency mean some vehicles are more expensive to repair when they wear out or break down.

The injuries and damages associated with commercial trucking may also raise insurance costs; drivers who have been involved in accidents take longer to recover and their medical bills can be quite expensive.


Keeping costs down

Keeping costs down when it comes to commercial trucking insurance is a task transportation companies and insurance companies are facing. The insurance trends will likely swing in a different direction as the market changes, as it always does. However, there are a few things commercial truckers can do to make sure they are able to obtain affordable insurance in the future.

Transportation companies that have maintained good safety records and safe driving habits will likely be able to renew their auto insurance at reasonable rates. Planning for insurance renewal early can help, as can searching the market for the best auto insurance deals. Installing telematics to track safe driving habits of drivers and the safety of their vehicles in case of a crash may also help bring the costs of insurance down. 

How Will Self-Driving Cars Change Auto Insurance?

How Will Self-Driving Cars Change Auto Insurance?

Change is a constant in this life. It's impossible to avoid change. It's inevitable. Whether you like it or not, self-driving cars are coming to a city near you. And soon! Business Insider has reported that 10 million cars with self-driving features will hit the road by 2020.

Many have touted this upcoming advance as an opportunity to keep our roads safer. Others are not so sure about this futuristic change to how we drive. The idea of a malfunctioning computer leading to a horrific car crash still petrifies many – as it should.


Insurance Changes Coming

Uber and Lyft have changed the game when it comes to getting a taxi. The services have grown in popularity as of late, and lawmakers have taken notice. Florida legislators recently proposed new insurance requirements for any driver working with an app-based transportation company.

The proposal was created to ensure victims of accidents get the compensation they deserve. The party at fault would also receive protection from complete financial ruin due to an accident. The solution is relatively straightforward for all involved.

Insurance solutions are rarely cut and dry when computer malfunctions come into play. Generally, in a crash of two traditional cars, the driver at fault will cover the property damage and bodily harm to the victim through his or her personal auto policy. With a self-driving car, this process could get murky.


The Liability Issue

Liability coverage typically takes up a large chunk of your auto insurance bill. The damage to your vehicle is usually tiny compared to the potential costs of hospital bills and legal fees.

With a self-driving car, the liability is removed from the equation. The driver cannot be held responsible, so the cost of personal auto insurance policies for self-driving cars should be significantly lower than for traditional vehicles. Yet, someone has to carry the bill for the liability.

Most assume the burden of liability for a car crash caused by a malfunctioning computer in a self-driving car would fall to the manufacturer. In such a scenario, the manufacturer would probably divert liability risks and costs to the consumer by raising the price of the self-driving cars.

Self-driving cars could ruin the car driving experience. Car drivers electing to manually drive their cars could be perceived as having a 'higher risk' of loss in a world where the majority of cars are self-driven. 


Car Insurance In the Future

Auto insurance is on the brink of significant changes as cars begin to self-drive. It doesn't matter if you buy such a model or not. Many predict that self-driving cars will make the roads significantly safer. If this does occur, experts say insurance companies could lower their car insurance premiums for all drivers.

Insurance companies are required to submit a proposal if they want to raise their rates. They must justify the rate change with legitimate reasons, like shelling out more benefits and as a result, suffering more losses. If the roads were safer, there would seemingly be less justification for raising rates.


Auto Insurance Will Always Be Here

No matter what happens in the future, car insurance is here to stay. As Americans value their cars and often invest significant amounts of money into them, there will always be a need to protect that investment. 

Whether driving a traditional car or a self-driving one in the future, individuals will still benefit from comparing quotes when trying to save money. With or without liability insurance, we all still want the best value for our dollar. 

For more information regarding auto insurance contact, Skyline Risk Management, Inc. (718) 267-6600 to speak with an insurance professional who can address your concerns.