Texting While Driving And Your Auto Insurance

Post Date July 17, 2014 – More and more states and localities throughout the country have instituted laws prohibiting texting while driving.  These laws will make these actions a crime which come with severe penalties for these violations.

It’s important that we all keep in mind the danger we put others in while using our smart phones for texting while driving.

Texting While Driving And Your Auto InsuranceAs for other traffic violations, any moving violation or infraction listed on your driving record can affect your auto insurance premium. In states where laws on distracted driving have already been passed, they already prohibited the use of handheld cell phones and other mobile communication devices. Getting caught texting while driving will surely earn you a a moving violation.  Aside from the financial penalty which comes with a citation, you can also expect increased rates on your next auto insurance renewal.

In the past when having one texting while driving violation may not have much of an affect on the cost of your auto insurance, in some states texting while driving is being treated as the major offense it truly is.

Only a handful of states having instituted laws to criminalize the use of mobile devices while your hands are at the wheels, the states of New Jersey and New York  holds the harshest point-related penalties. Texting while driving in New York can earn a driver a three-point penalty.

A new study from State Farm revealed that the number of drivers that are using their mobile gadgets not just for texting or making a call but as well as using other services like e-mailing, playing music, etc., have increased. The distracted driving report made by State Farm involved 1,000 surveyed auto insurance consumers.

The study also showed that drivers who use mobile communication devices while driving are not only confined to the younger age group. It now applies to almost all ages and that the numbers are on the rise.

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New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Laws May Change

New Jersey Homeowners InsurancePost Date December 26, 2013 – New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Rates may experience changes in the very near future. legislators planning to provide clearer information to New Jersey homeowners insurance buyers are introducing a few new bills which would require New Jersey Homeowners Insurance carriers to provide a clearer policy summary when a New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Policy is sold.

New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Laws Were Very Confusing After Super Storm Sandy

The bill if passed, will require NJ insurance companies that offer New Jersey homeowners insurance policies to provide their policyholders one-page summary explaining the coverages covered under the NJ insurance policy form.  The summary is so simple, it’s difficult to beleive it was not offered in the past. The exclusions and “notable coverages” will be outlined by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance in the new law. It shall also explain the insurance company’s hurricane deductible program.

The new law was introduced  as a result of the mass confusion experienced by New Jersey Homeowner Insurance Policy owners were observed  after Superstorm Sandy hit the State of New Jersey.  Many New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Policyholders were shocked to find exclusions in their policies when they made claims with their homeowners insurance companies.

The said one-page policy summary will be included in a brochure which will be provided to the new and renewal policyholders. As the bill went to the committee process, the one-page policy summary shall not replace  any of the terms  and conditions of the New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Policy.

Under current New Jersey law governing homeowners insurance, the insurer must provide the policyholder a consumer information brochure outlining their hurricane deductible as well.  There was much confusion on what and what was not covered under the National Flood Insurance Program.  If the bill shall be enacted, the said brochure shall then have the additional one-page policy summary.

Auto Accident Insurance Fraud Costs You Much More

Auto Accident Insurance FraudPost Date December 24, 2013 – Auto accident insurance fraud will cost you a lot more than paying more for your auto insurance in the future. A man from Utica, New York was sentenced to nearly two years in jail.  The perpetrator was found guilty of auto accident insurance fraud in order to defraud a New York auto insurance company.

Auto Accident Insurance Fraud Costs Everyone Who Buys Car Insurance

David Morgan was sentenced  to 21 months in prison and to pay nearly one million five hundred thousand dollars.  Morgan pleaded guilty to one count of auto accident insurance fraud in July 2012. When the accused is released from prison, he will also serve 36 months of supervised probation.

Morgan admitted in assisting others in an auto accident insurance fraud scheme nearly 10 years ago.  That  auto accident insurance fraud scheme involved staging a car accident in Utica, New York.  In that accident, Morgan’s wife, together with another man claimed that they have been injured while being a passenger in a  multi-passenger van which was hit by a truck.

The police learned that the accident was intentionally staged and both Morgan and his wife were not in the truck nor were they passengers the car at the time of supposed collision. Both claiming to have been injured submitted false auto accident insurance claims that included personal injuries claims and disability.

Prosecutors in New York say that the Morgan’s saw numerous doctors for medical treatments for injuries they did not have.  They also filed  lawsuits to recovery financial compensation for their pain and suffering.  The two settled the law suit with the auto insurance company for a one time payment of $30,000. The police and the fraud investigation unit of the insurance company were able to crack the auto accident insurance fraud scheme through a joint effort with the assistance of the NY Department of Financial Services, Internal Revenue Service and the FBI.

Suspended Drivers License In PA For Texting

Texting while driving is against the lawPost Date March 25, 2013 – Not only are drivers banned from texting while driving  in most states in the U.S., you can expect a suspended drivers license in PA for that offense. In addition to the ban from texting while driving, many states have barred drivers from using mobile communication devices. Even with the punishment of a Suspended Drivers License;  a question still exists among most states law enforcement authorities.   Does the cell phone usage ban make the roads any safer in Pennsylvania?

Texting while driving a car, truck or motorcycle will result in a suspended drivers license

Although cell phone use in cars is at least 30 years old, the use of hand held cell phones are now being examined.  It’s more vital than ever to see the long-term trends of accident rates and their relation to cellphone bans.  Many states have compared and analyzed years of driver data.  These studies where first pioneered in the State of New York before imposing the first statewide texting while driving ban. The State of Pennsylvania followed there after with punishments as severe as  multi-year suspended drivers license for with more than one offense.  Both New York and Pennsylvania have the same weather patterns and a wide diversity in size and population density of counties.

The researchers in both NY and PA classified counties into three classes – rural, very rural, and urban.  Among the three county classes, the cellphone-use ban was associated with a raising accident rate among those drivers using cell phones for texting. Both the NY and PA studies suggest that in higher driver density areas with such ban, there is a significant reduction of traffic accidents. However, in very rural areas, the cellphone ban was associated with a relative increase on accident rates. Though the study had a surprising result on very rural areas, what is clear is that, statistically speaking cellphone ban have decreased accident rates among areas which can support the idea that such shall be effective if imposed on densely populated areas.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Senior Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206

 

Fake Car Insurance Claims Filed By Creeps

CreepPost Date January 29, 2013 – Car Insurance Companies in the state of New Jersey are very concerned over the explosion of fake car insurance claims being filed in the Garden State.  New Jersey prosecutors had a meeting recently to say no to fake car insurance claims.  These fake car insurance claims have flooded the state having  a detrimental effect on New Jersey’s very generous Personal Injury Protection Laws.

Fake car insurance claims perpetrated  by your neighbors while you pay more for your car insurance

New Jersey Officials feel 40% of the claims activity in 2011 were found to be fake car insurance claims. The fake car insurance claims have resulted in higher car insurance rates affecting all drivers in the Garden State. Fake car insurance claims is directly tied to the additional $250 million Dollars in car insurance premiums paid by NJ Automobile owners. It’s sad but true; in some cases vehicle owners paid and will continue to pay more on their auto insurance than they paid to purchase their car.

Out of the $500 Million Dollars in legitimate auto insurance claims in 2011 25% of them were fake car insurance claims.  14% of all legitimate claims have been inflated in order to deliberately steal from the auto insurance companies.  Government Officials in NY called for a hearing to discuss New York’s fake car insurance claims issues. New York officials feel honest vehicle owners/auto insurance buyers are being ripped off.  Those buyers are forced to pay additional premium because of those creeps whom filed fake car insurance claims.  Many of these fake claims filed are to take advantage of Personal Injury Claims Pay outs. Both New Jersey and New York prosecutors want new legislation for the runners or middlemen who brings injured patients to medical clinics after a fake car insurance claim. Clinics are cashing in big  unnecessary expensive treatments.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Senior Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206

 

Car Insurance Claims Are Pushing 230,000

Car Insurance ClaimPost Date January 22, 2012 – Super Storm Sandy is still causing havoc on the car insurance claims community. Regardless  how many wheels your vehicle had, be it a Car, truck, trailer, car insurance claims are being filed. Sandy hit the East Coast hard the last week of October.  Car insurance claims for all types of vehicles are now hitting the 230,000 mark. The current Sandy vehicle damage estimates are based on the car insurance claims tally collated from all car insurance companies.  In the storm’s aftermath, auto insurance company are now reporting they have processed around 230,000 car insurance claims to date.  Further, these insurance companies are expecting their car insurance claims will exceed 250,000.

Car insurance claims too exceed a quarter of million claims

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) showed that the state of New York has the most number of damaged vehicles that were affected by the storm. In NY, around 130,000 vehicles of different types had been damaged.  Of course the carriers will continue processing these auto insurance claims. The second highest amount of car insurance claims from Sandy in terms of the numbers of vehicles affected is the State of New Jersey with more than 60,000 car insurance claims already. Other states which has recorded a great amount of damage  and car insurance claims are Virginia, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina.  These states share 40,000 car insurance claims from Super Storm Sandy.

Where some had very minor damages like scratches or dents, others suffered great amount of loss in which some cases, there are vehicles that have already been totally wrecked. These vehicles incurred damages not just from flooding but as well as from the debris that were flown away as the said superstorm ravaged the East Coast. Some vehicles that were salvaged post-Sandy had been submerged underwater for a couple days, with many of them rendered inoperable.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Senior Agent|
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206

New York Insurance Losses For Storm will Reach $33 Billion

superstorm sandy new yorkPost Date  January 14, 2013 – That financial damage incurred from Superstorm Sandy will cost the state of New York about $33 Billion. With a budget of $132 billion a year, New York Insurance damage losses of 33 Billion dollars will most likely bankrupt the state if the federal government does not chip in. The tragic event on late October had put the state of New York in a very difficult financial situation as before the superstorm hit, New York was already missing its tax revenue projections and was running on a deficit. The budget deficit according to New York’s Governer might be at $1 billion and is likely to grow because of the losses from Sandy. With the deficit, the state governor is counting on a commitment given by Obama’s administration which had earlier declared to shoulder the 100 percent reimbursement for some public rebuilding costs.

New York Insurance may save state from bankruptcy

On the other hand, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that the state is definitely to suffer the devastating effects of the superstorm. Another elected state official, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, said that the federal government should do more in aiding the state. The states of New York and New Jersey are the ones greatly affected when Sandy made land. Many infrastructures including homes were destroyed, there were no power for days, and many have lost their businesses. In rebuilding New York after Sandy’s aftermath, it’s vital the state reaches out to New York Insurance companies to help in the recovery efforts. The state needs to implement a massive improvement on their fuel and power networks in the metropolitan area. The governor said that the metropolitan area has a fuel system that can only contain around two to three days of supply which can be disrupted by a power outage.

-Mike 

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Senior Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206

Hurricane Sandy Takes It’s Toll on Thousands Of Boats

Hurricane Sandy Destroys Thousands Of BoatsPost Date November 19, 2012 – The United States Boat Owner’s Association announced last week more than 70,000 power boats, sail boats and jet ski’s were either damaged or sunk when Hurricane Sandy his the east coast two weeks ago. Hurricane Sandy and the winds it brought to New Jersey, New York and the other states hit the boating industry like a sledge-hammer. Insurance industry insiders have described Hurricane Sandy as the single-largest insurance industry loss in nearly 20 years. Watercraft destroyed by Hurricane Sandy have already reached $650 million dollars.

Hurricane Sandy destroys over 70,000 boats

Hurricane Sandy forced thousands of motor boats and sail boats to wash up on beaches, residential areas, streets and highways. Boats which were stored in marinas have become inoperable because of all the debris which washed in to the boats hauls.  Marina’s and Slip Docks in on the coast of New Jersey and Staten Island suffered the greatest amount of damage of all the east coast states. The estimated damage from Hurricane Sandy in the coastal areas New York has now reported the greatest number of watercraft damage. The amount of damaged boats in New York is over 32,000. In second place is the coastal areas of the of New Jersey.  Over 25,000 Sail and Power Boats were lost or damaged in the Garden State.  Hurricane Sandy logged the 3rd largest amount of damaged in Connecticut with 2,500 watercraft lost.

The association through its Marine Insurance Program is looking into the storm’s aftermath as to assess how it had affected recreational boats in order to come up with a much sturdier boat damage prevention measures.  One interesting item revealed an early sign shows that boats being kept on floating docks supported with tall pilings had the best chance of surviving a storm the size and scope of Hurricane Sandy.

-Mike  

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206

Flood Damaged Cars Illegally Sold

Flood Damaged CarsPost Date November 12, 2012 –  Hurricane Sandy was the most devastating storm to hit the east coast in 60 years. Both Homeowners and Auto Insurance Carriers have been adjusting thousands of claims compensating those for Flood Damaged cars and homes.  Two states out of the 9 effected by the storm had the highest number of flood damaged cars and homes.  Both New York and New Jersey had homes and cars/trucks submerged in water. You may or may not know a car which has been through a flood event must be totaled by the car insurance carrier.  Flood damaged cars can not ever be resold. Sadly;  flood damaged cars might be finding their way to the automotive marketplace and purchase by those unsuspecting new and used car buyers.

Shady operators sell flood damaged cars to unsuspecting buyers 

It’s very important for everyone to be conscious when shopping for a new or used car.  It is very easy to be duped into purchasing flood damaged cars and trucks if you don’t do your research.  It’s that research which will help you from paying for previously flood damaged cars.  Soap and water and other cleaning supplies can easily clean up a flood damaged car. The key to that research is a Vehicle Identification Number Check.   The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) determines whether a car had been flooded by utilizing a VIN Check system that maintains a log of all cars which were declared as salvage vehicles.  This includes flood damaged cars. Dishonest car dealers, salvage operators even auto junk years sometimes conceal a car has been totaled by an auto insurance carrier.  They in turn will sell a salvaged car from a natural disaster. Flood damaged cars vehicles can be cleaned up and sold.

Flood damaged cars which are resold are a danger to both operators and passengers. This is more of a problem today than in the past.  Flood damaged cars and trucks now maintain on-board computers, electrical wiring and fiber optic strands.  The flood causes electric shock to both the drivers and passenger and in some cases, fire to the vehicle.  There are a number of retail reports available to you – the consumer. CarFax is one service which a car dealer should voluntarily make available to you.  A Car Fax report will be able to instantly tell you if an auto insurance company has totaled a car as a result of a flood.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206


Hurricane Insurance Deductible Waived For Homeowners

Hurricane Sandy Deductible WaivedPost Date November 11, 2012 – Hurricane Sandy was the most destructive weather event in the northeast over the last 60 years.  The death and destruction from Sandy will be felt for decades.  Law makers in the effected eight states and the District of Columbia recently announced a temporary change in Homeowners Insurance Rules to help many of those affected.  To help reduce the sting associated with the expense from the mandatory hurricane insurance deductible, Insurance Commissioners in those effected states will waive the hurricane insurance deductible for that homeowner.

The burden of a Hurricane Insurance Deductible will not be a burden for Sandy homeowners victims

The trend started when Karen Weldin Stewart, the Delaware Insurance Commissioner stated homeowners in the “First State” would not be required to pay a deductible associated with Sandy’s Hurricane Insurance Deductible. On November 1st;  Pennsylvania’s  Governor Tom Corbett announced PA Residents would also not need to pay a hurricane insurance deductible.  It’s obvious a Hurricane Insurance Deductible would add an additional burden to Pennsylvania Homeowners already enduring the expense of cleaning up and rebuilding their lives after this devastating event. Homeowners insurance policies in PA have different types and names for their state deductibles. They can be called Tropical Storm, Named Storm or  just referred to as Hurricane.  The bottom line is the Super-Storm that plagued the northeast was named “Hurricane Sandy”.

The states affected by Hurricane Sandy are the following;   Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine,  Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia. This came as welcome news to many of our customers.  In many situations, I have customers with deductibles as high as $2500.00 for higher value homes or those whom are members of a Condo Association.  In those situations, It makes more sense to raise the insurance deductible which will lower the their insurance premium. In addition, a condo association can share the expense of a larger deducible by dividing up among the condo association members and lowering the overall risk.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206

 

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