Ostrander Insurance Offers Help for Battling Surcharge DecisionsNov 25, 2019 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
If you cause bodily injury or property damage in excess of $1,000 and your insurer deems you more than 50% at fault, surcharge “points” are assessed to your driving record. Although surcharges are described in point values, the points eventually convert to dollars that add substantially to your insurance premium for 6 long years!
One of the most valuable things we offer our clients is information they can use when filing claims. Enlightening our clients as to the entire claims process, including the surcharge system, can have a significant financial impact for many years.Here are 3 real surcharge stories regarding clients we insure.
- Catherine M. backed into another vehicle while both she and the other driver where backing up in a CVS parking lot. When Catherine M. reported her accident, she stated she had backed into another car. What she failed to mention or the claims representative forgot to note was that the other driver was also backing up. Catherine M. received a surcharge and her premium jumped over $800 until she more fully explained the situation to me and I shared the information with her carrier. Her insurer promptly reversed her surcharge and she was tearfully grateful.
- Catherine B. was driving straight ahead when another vehicle pulled into the roadway from her right, T-boning her car, totaling it and sending her to the hospital. Since she was unable to speak or defend herself at the scene, the other driver managed to get the police report written very much in his favor. Incredibly, Catherine B. was issued a surcharge, which our staff worked hard to reverse. We even sent photo images of the accident location, which eventually helped lead to the reversal of her surcharge.
- Joan P. began insuring her vehicle with us just a few months ago. We helped save her $300 or more, which she greatly appreciated. Still, her premium is very expensive because of a surcharge she received several years ago. It turned out that she had suffered an accident while slipping and sliding during a snow storm. Joan grudgingly accepted her surcharge because of being at fault in a single-vehicle accident, but didn’t realize she had the right to appeal the surcharge, an appeal she likely would have won. It’s a shame we were not her agent at the time; we could have encouraged her to appeal her surcharge.
If you want information on appealing surcharges, securing accident forgiveness or reviewing your best options come claim time, lean on your agent for sound advice. If you don’t have an agent who can offer this type of support, it might be time for you to seek a new insurance agency.
Article written by Dick Ostrander, owner of Ostrander Insurance (www.OstranderInsurance.com), located at 94 David Road, Bellingham. For more information, stop by the office or call Dick or Paul at 508-966-1111.