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Discussion Starter #1
This past Friday, I got into an accident with my Element - and my first one ever. I was doing about 35 mph travelling behind a 1991 Mercury Tracer. There were two kids on bicycles on our side of the road and the person in front of me swerved around them to avoid them. I did the same, only I made the mistake of looking at them while I passed to ensure that they wouldn't make any erratic moves. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the guy in front of me had stopped and pulled halfway out of the road for god knows what reason. I wound up plowing into him - my front passenger side impacting with his rear driver side. I wound up compressing his trunk into his back seat and the Element was partially driveable, but was leaking coolant and the passenger side front quarterpanel was pushed back into the door so that it was hard to open it. Luckily, everyone was ok and the Element sustained what seemed like minor damage for an accident of that magnitude. However, in filing my insurance claim this morning, I found out that my insurance had lapsed due to non-payment. Of all things that could possibly go wrong, this was potentially one of the worst.

Before you reply with remarks like, "Well, you should have paid your bill." or "That's what you get", let me tell you, I've already berated myself enough. I have three policies with this company and for whatever reason, their cancellation notice slipped under the radar.

Luckily, book value on their car was at most $1500 and while everyone seemed ok at the scene of the accident, my insurance company informed me that they went to the hospital for an unspecified reason. Whether that was for a checkout or for actual injuries, I don't know.

So, now... I'm forced to pay for damage to both vehicles plus any medical bills incurred by them out of pocket. This could be really bad. Does anyone have any experience with a situation such as this? Are there any lawyers out there? My nerves are fried at this point....

Thanks,
Jim
 

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In Canada, (though I might be wrong) the cancilation notice has to be sent registered mail. the have to confirm that you recieved the cancellation notice before the can stop insuring the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response, Boneheadz. I took a peek at the Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Policy booklet that they hand out with all policies and found the following sentence in regards to notifying policy holders of cancellation.

Legal Notice Requirement
Any notice of cancellation will be sent to you at your last address shown on the Coverage Selections Page at least 20 days prior to the effective date. A notice sent by regular mail for which a certificate of mailing receipt has been obtained from the United States Postal Service, will be considered sufficient notice.

I spoke with my insurance company, and their interpretation of that statement is that they're only required to send cancellation notification via regular postal mail. It sounds to me like it must be sent via 'certified mail' in which I would have to sign upon receipt.

What does everyone else think?
 

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There's a difference between certified mail, from which the poster gets a numbered slip and 'return receipt' which includes a green card stuck on the back the envelope which the mailman removes and you have to sign on delivery/collection. Thus the insurance company may well have mailed your cancellation by certified mail (allowing them to check it was delivered) but not with return receipt invloving your signature. You might want to call the company again and ask them for the certified mailing number so you can check if the notice was ever delivered to you. Make sure you get the name and extension number of the person you speak to because if they can't provide you with this number they might not have notified you in accordance with the law.

If it turns out that your insurance WAS cancelled, you could be in significant difficulty because aside from having to pay to have your own Element fixed (or not bother but still have to maintain the payments of course, a good lawyer for the insured driver of the other car could have a field day with you regarding recovery of costs for the damage you caused the vehicle, the cost of medical treatment for all those in the car, and even possible damages for distress, loss of earnings etc. You would be wise, I think, to consult a good attorney who specializes in this area of law in your State, just to see where you stand and to take whatever actions may be available to you to protect your interets. It may, for example, be possible to file a claim against the other driver.
 

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If you have a long track record of timely payments with the company and have never missed a payment in the passed I would consult a lawyer. If not you are probably screwed.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It turns out that you can file an appeal of insurance cancellations in Massachusetts. I did that today. However, most of the people I've spoken with seem to think that the insurance company is only obligated to send an item via regular mail with a return receipt attached meaning that the post office notifies them of the date and time at which it was delivered.

Regardless, I live in a townhouse complex with 20 mailboxes per mail station and my mail gets mixed up all the time. I'm hoping they'll grant me some leeway on that.

The estimate for damage on the Element came in at $3100 for visual damage only (it'll be more once they tack on the busted radiator and condenser). I took some pictures of it and the damage it did to the other car. Their car was totalled as it was only valued at about $1000.

Barring any huge medical bills, I think I may be ok on this, but I still need to pay everything out of pocket unless my appeal is granted.

Here are pictures of the damage...

http://www.konzie.com/PicViewer/PixLauncher.cfm?CurrentPicDir=20030819
 

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Konzie,

You can be in for a rude awakening. If these people get a good lawyer and try to sue you for pain and suffering or whatever, you may be paying out a lot of money. The physical damage doesn't sound so bad at this point. But I have a story. My wife, before we were married, rear ended a lady in a cadillac on a very raining day. My wife's noise was bloody from the air bag and she may have sustained a mild concussion. The lady that pulled out in front of her in the rain ran out of the car to see if she was ok. The lady looked fine. All was well until about a year later when the lady sued her for pain and suffering. Luckily my wife was insured so State Farm had to end up paying the lady $12,000.00.

Just watch out because some people will milk you for anything they can.

As for your insurance... Non-pay cancellations do not have to be sent certified. They are sent through regular mail. What the rules refer to when they say certified is underwriter cancellations. That is when an underwriter cancels you for a bad driving record, etc. The philosophy with non-pay cancellations is that you should know that you didn't pay your bill.

Well look on the bright side, you didn't hit a mercedes.
 

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Looks like the E held up well compared to the other car.

Hope you come out of this ok, but I'd contact a lawyer for sure.
 

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Im sorry to hear about your E! the pictures were even sadder.
It faired pretty good compared to the mercury.

Well, if the people get greedy and they sue you for major cash, just take the judgment and declare bankruptcy and list the judgement.
that depends on assets etc. but you can't get blood out of a turnip.

You got to love insurance companies, if you called them to tell them you wanted to add something that costs they would of given you a different story. Insurance companies suck!

Always there to take the cash, always have an excuse when paying out!

Good luck.

Karl.
 

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Oh, wow. I asked a friend who has experience - retain a lawyer to defend you immediately against any claims by the people hit; some proactive guidance and protection can really help.

Look for a firm that has insurance clients and an automobile accident defense practice. Martindale-Hubble is a legal directory that should help. You can also ask your insurance company to recommend someone. In general, these attorneys are set up to do automobile insurance defense cases most efficiently (contacts with doctors, etc.). You will most likely have to pay a retainer, between $2500 and $10K, depending on the firm and the area. It's not cheap, but at least you will get the retainer back if not used.

Complete bummer. Good luck, and let us know how it progresses.
 

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best idea find a good attorney,, I rear ended a car when I was 16 years old and had no insurance(only pip was required at that time) my attorney was able to show that the person i rear ended did not have his head lights on (as a result no tail lights on)and it was raining outside(reduced visabilty) and the person had just let off his brakes to begin to make a turn,, any way you can see where this is going. in the end case was dismissed due to equal fault on both sides!!! secondly one question,,, do you pay monthly for your insurance or do you pay a certain amount,,like half up front then laike two or three payment for the remainder? I ask because I'm with allstate and I missed a payment once well they sent out notice saying that I was cancelled but since I paid half up front on a six month policy that i was only two months into I technically was paid up for the first three months and they could not cancelle me at that time so I made the payment and had no further problems... bottom line the insurance company will do what ever possible to get out of paying. but with continued persistance you can usually get your way with them!!! Good LUck!!!
 

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Insurance companies are mandated by state law so each state has its own set of insurance laws. Insurance companies pay out BILLIONS of dollars each year in claims. Most insurance companies do not make any money because they pay out so many claims.

If you want a fail safe way to pay your insurance, sign up for the plan where it is directly withrawn from your checking account.

Also, how many times have you not paid your bill? If you have had insurance with your company for a few years or more without any non-pay cancellations, then you may be able to talk to your agent and have them look past your one time offense.
 

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Most insurance companies do not make any money because they pay out so many claims
Your kidding right??????

I am pretty sure that even with 9/11 and the stock market slow down, there is not an insurance company that has not post damn good profits at the end of each year. They lose in the markets, thats where they invest your premiums, so the raise premiums. They pay out a lot, 9/11, so the raise premiums. Premiums always go up, but profits will never go down.
 

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In the commercial insurance market, many insurers are doing poorly. Several insurance companies are in trouble b/c of 9-11 losses, the stock market going down, inadequate reserves, bad underwriting decisions, and the directors and officers mess caused by Enron.

In fact, it is tough to get certain kinds of insurance, and many large companies are creating their own captives (insurance company subsidiaries) to write their own primary layer.

On the other hand, as far as personal lines insurance (like auto) -- most insurance companies selling these kinds of insurance are doing quite well.
 

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[quote:6541dc4196="85734250983"]
On the other hand, as far as personal lines insurance (like auto) -- most insurance companies selling these kinds of insurance are doing quite well.[/quote:6541dc4196]

That is not true:

2001 http://www.statefarm.com/media/release/2001finan.htm
State Farm reported an after-tax net loss from all sources of $5.0 billion in 2001, compared with an after-tax net income of $0.4 billion in 2000. The deterioration is due to increased insurance operating losses and significantly reduced realized capital gains.

2002 http://www.statefarm.com/media/release/finrslts.htm
State Farm reported an after-tax net loss from all sources of $2.8 billion in 2002, an improvement over the results in 2001 reflecting better insurance operating results and federal income tax recoverables. Excluding $1.2 billion in write-downs for impairment of invested assets, the 2002 after-tax net loss was $1.6 billion, which is comparable to the $5.0 billion after-tax net loss in 2001.

,,,,,
But that is just one company and it is a mutual company. I tried to find information for the other big insurance companies but could not find any financial info.
 

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[quote:e22ef9c125="ElementalWon"][quote:e22ef9c125="85734250983"]
On the other hand, as far as personal lines insurance (like auto) -- most insurance companies selling these kinds of insurance are doing quite well.[/quote:e22ef9c125]

That is not true:[/quote:e22ef9c125]

Ummm... I did say "most," and you only listed State Farm's results. State Farm has its own problems; so do other companies.

I don't have time to go digging for links regarding companies' recent financials right now, but as I understand it the recent financial results of many personal lines companies (including Geico, USAA, Progressive, PEMCO, and the personal lines portion of Safeco) are quite strong. A great place to go to get a financial overview of any particular company is Best's Insurance or Standard and Poor's.
 

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Commiserations, Konzie, this is a rough one, what can I say. I agree that a lawyer is in order, even though it'll cost you. Why was the other car at such an angle that you hit them on the side? Did they attempt an illegal U-ee or what? This bears pursuing, if for no other reason than letting them know that you're not just rolling over.
Did you have a camera with you? Carrying a camera, even just a ten-dollar disposable in the glovebox, makes a huge difference. Before you say anything after the impact, you step out, take pictures from all angles, including a close-up of the licence plate, damage, surroundings, street markings etc., and one or two of the other driver as he/she approaches, and - with an apologetic smile - you say "My lawyer told me to do this."
It does two things: It gives you the psychological upperhand, stopping the other party from trying things like saying you backed into them when they rear-ended you or making you pay for old damage on the "wrong" side of the car (don't laugh...); it also saves your butt if a cop comes along and - seeing nobody got hurt - orders your cars off the road to clear traffic.
Best of luck!
MQ
 

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Its amazing how people jumped right up to defend the insurance companies. Please tell us which insurance companies you work for.

The bottom line, this insurance company sucks.
like most.
Glad city utilities and phone is not treated the same way.
Letters get misplaced, people get busy.
They could make a courtesy phone call and tell you, hey looks like you might of missed your bill.
That way they can seperate the people who truly just goof, and people who just don't want to pay.

Its just oh so convient for them to say your cancelled.
and not have to pay, but they would of taken the next check without a blink of the eye.

I pay my insurance in whole, when it arrives so they can't pull that **** about payment!
And I always make sure they stamped the back of the returned check.


You guys defending the bull**it insurance companies must be agents for the same Bull**it practice.


JUST DECLARE BK AT THE END.
NATION IS AT HIGHEST BK RATE IN YEARS, thanks to this kind of ****, and credit card companies charging 20% when banks give you 2%
But I bet a bunch of people will start defending them too!
 

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I just hate when people say that insurance companies rip them off. The next time you are involved in an accident that is your fault and you total a $40k vehicle and have to pay the $85k hospital bill. Not to mention the $20k for your car and $15k for your medical bills. Then, my friend, you will be kissing the rear end of your insurance company when all you have to pay is your $500 collision deductible.

Pay your bill and you will have no problem.

And I'm not an insurance salesman, I have just seen the good things that insurance companies can do. But you get what you pay for, so if you go with some cut-rate, cheap insurance, you will get cut-rate, cheap service.

So many people have that 'us' vs 'them' approach with insurance companies. Yeah, get a crappy loan on your car and total it the first year you won't get what you owe. Then you are left with a balance to pay. Be smart, you should have bought the gap insurance most dealerships offer. Some people just think the insurance companies are gonna hold their hand and give them anything they want.

As for Konzie, good luck with your ordeal and I hope it turns out for the best.
 
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