What Auto Insurance Companies Don’t Tell You

What auto insurance companies don't tell you is how they come to conclusions when pricing your claim. The average property damage claim is $3,300. What auto insurance companies don't want you to know is sometimes the settlements are unfair. Continue reading to learn what other things auto insurance companies hide from you.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • Some insurance companies try to minimize settlements by issuing a claim that’s lower than the cost of the damages.
  • You have the right to get a lawyer if you think an insurance company is underbidding the cost of damages or injuries.
  • Some agents won’t bother telling you about insurance discounts unless you ask.
  • Auto insurance companies often determine auto insurance rates based on insurance, driving, and credit histories.
  • Insurance providers will check your driving record every two to three years to make sure it remains clean.

What auto insurance companies don’t tell you is that many drivers follow all the steps for filing a claim in the hopes that their premiums will stay low. Customers believe that their insurance company will be there for them if they ever get into an accident. But is this always the case?

Why does it take so long to process an estimate or claim after an accident? What auto insurance companies don’t want you to know is that there will often be delays when paying out your auto insurance claim if you get into an accident. Continue reading below to learn some “auto insurance secrets” and how to get around potential insurance challenges.

If you need insurance right now, enter your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool above to find affordable auto insurance rates from top insurance companies. Then come back to this article to learn about things auto insurance companies won’t tell you.

What Auto Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know After an Accident

When you enroll in an auto insurance policy, you’ll likely have certain expectations once you get into an accident. With the right coverage, your insurance company should take care of bodily injury and property damage as described in your policy, right?

Car insurance claims often take an unpleasant turn when you get into an accident, especially when the other party is at fault. Two things car insurance won’t tell you about is how the determination was made when distributing fault or your rights to challenge the amount of the claim offered.

According to Pritzker Hageman Law Firm, insurance companies may try to minimize your settlement by issuing a claim that’s lower than the total cost of the damages. This is common with insurance companies where the at-fault driver has to cover damages or injuries.

You have the right to get a lawyer if you think an insurance company, even your own, is underbidding the cost of damages or injuries after an accident.

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Auto Insurance Discounts They Don’t Want You to Know About

“I haven’t had car insurance for a year. Do I have to tell my current insurance company?” Yes. Always be upfront when you need car insurance coverage. Your current provider will eventually learn about your insurance history through the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.).

Watch this video on what the C.L.U.E. means for your insurance.

C.L.U.E. is a database that holds your insurance history, which includes driving records, accidents, and unpaid balances.

Many customers are unaware of C.L.U.E. reports. Auto insurance companies will often determine your auto insurance rates per month based on insurance history. Accidents will remain on C.L.U.E. reports for three to five years.

Ask Questions about Your Insurance History

Even with questionable factors on your insurance history or driving record, you’re still eligible for discounts. Some agents won’t bother telling you about the insurance discounts if you don’t ask.

Some of the typical discounts that you may not be aware of are a safety feature discount, anti-theft system discount, good credit discount, and usage-based discount. Geico and Progressive are two companies known for usage-based programs that lower auto insurance rates based on your driving habits.

The table below shows common auto insurance discounts offered by major insurance companies.
Auto Insurance Discounts Available by Company

Discounts21st Century Discounts OfferedAAA Discounts OfferedAllstate Discounts OfferedAmerican Family Discounts OfferedAmeriprise Discounts OfferedAmica Discounts OfferedCountry Financial Discounts OfferedEsurance Discounts OfferedFarmers Discounts OfferedGeico Discounts OfferedLiberty Mutual Discounts OfferedMetLife Discounts OfferedNationwide Discounts OfferedProgressive Discounts Offered
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive Headlights
Anti-lock Brakes
Anti-Theft
Claim Free
Continuous Coverage
Daytime Running Lights
Defensive Driver
Distant Student
Driver's Ed
Driving Device/App
Early Signing
Electronic Stability Control
Emergency Deployment
Engaged Couple
Family Legacy
Family Plan
Farm Vehicle
Fast 5
Federal Employee
Forward Collision Warning
Full Payment
Further Education
Garaging/Storing
Good Credit
Good Student
Green Vehicle
Homeowner
Lane Departure Warning
Life Insurance
Low Mileage
Loyalty
Married
Membership/Group
Military
Military Garaging
Multiple Drivers
Multiple Policies
Multiple Vehicles
New Address
New Customer/New Plan
New Graduate
Newer Vehicle
Newly Licensed
Newlyweds
Non-Smoker/Non-Drinker
Occasional Operator
Occupation
On Time Payments
Online Shopper
Paperless Documents
Paperless/Auto Billing
Passive Restraint
Recent Retirees
Renter
Roadside Assistance
Safe Driver
Seat Belt Use
Senior Driver
Stable Residence
Students & Alumni
Switching Provider
Utility Vehicle
Vehicle Recovery
VIN Etching
Volunteer
Young Driver
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Use whatever discounts you can to curb the cost of insurance when you have an accident on your driving record.

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Do auto insurers look at your credit score?

In addition to your insurance history, car insurance companies look at your credit score. How come? Statistics show that a consumer with a good credit score is less likely to file a claim.

But does a good credit score mean cheaper rates for policyholders? Let’s compare the national average for car insurance with rates for good credit and a clean driving record.

National Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates
Driver History ReviewedAverage Annual Auto Insurance RatesAverage Monthly Auto Insurance Rates
Clean driving record$3,791$316
Good credit history$3,865$322
U.S. averages$3,900$325
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Although you can receive cheaper rates with a good credit score, a clean driving record will bring you the most affordable rates for auto insurance. Now imagine combining a clean driving record, a good credit score, and other discounts to your auto insurance policy. You’re likely to save hundreds on car insurance.

However, auto insurance companies won’t tell you all of that right away. Therefore, you’ll have to question them a lot about available discounts.

The Accident Might Not Have Been Your Fault But…

If you just got into an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault, the first thing that you need to do is protect your best interests and the interests of the passengers who were in your car by collecting information from the scene of the accident.

Information includes the license plates of all cars involved, the other drivers’ license numbers, their home addresses, telephone numbers, and make and model of the other vehicles involved.

It’s also a good idea to take pictures or video if you have a mobile phone with you so that you can remember everything as it happened and send documentation to your insurance company.

Insurance Claims Adjusters

Once you file your accident claim, the auto insurance company will send an insurance claims adjuster out to review your case. Keep in mind, the claims adjuster is paid to minimize the amount of money that the company pays out to its claimants.

Many people don’t know that it’s the insurance adjuster’s job to minimize or deny your claim. Insurance adjusters are experts at doing everything they can to save their company money.

They want to determine your level of fault in the accident, and that includes asking questions that are designed to confuse or lead you to admit something when you didn’t fully understand the question in the first place.

If this happens to you, your insurance claim could be reduced by as much as 10 percent, even if you know that the other driver was entirely at fault.

Claims adjusters can also use their company’s financial strength to their advantage by pressuring an accident victim into accepting a quick and unfair settlement. All of these are reasons why it’s vital to hire a personal injury attorney to represent your best interests and to make sure that your auto insurer won’t walk all over you.

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If You’re Injured During an Automobile Accident

Besides documenting everything after an accident, it’s also critical to take stock of your physical condition and the condition of passengers that may have been riding in your vehicle to see if they are experiencing any pain or trauma resulting from the accident.

If you or any of your passengers are experiencing pain in any way, see a doctor. Your auto insurance company, or the other driver’s insurance company, will be less inclined to pay your claim if you didn’t come forward to report injuries or trauma resulting from the accident right away.

Claims adjusters can use your medical history against you by claiming that you reaggravated a previous injury instead of having a genuine injury that resulted from the accident.

They’re also experts at looking for more ways to keep their company from paying your claim by arguing that your health care paid for your medical expenses.

Some companies will even look at your vacation time and sick leave, assuming paid time off enabled you to take time off from work without losing any income, which is not true for all customers. Ultimately, claim adjusters are using every tactic they can to prevent or minimize your entitled claim check.

Always Protect Yourself from Unfair Auto Insurance Settlements

To protect yourself from this tactic, you can use what’s called “The Collateral Source Rule.” This rule means that your auto insurer can’t use your alternative sources of medical payments and resources as a reason to lower your accident settlement.

Medical expenses resulting from an automobile accident are typically paid for through personal injury protection and medical payment insurance. An attorney can determine what an accident claim might be worth and whether or not the payout offered by your insurer is reasonable.

You could be entitled to damages resulting from the accident that include pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost earning capacity, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions: What Auto Insurance Companies Don’t Tell You

In the final section of the guide, we’re going to answer a few frequently asked questions that appear on search engines across the internet. More information on what auto insurance companies don’t want you to know can be found in some of these answers.

If you have everything you need, check out our FREE comparison tool by entering your ZIP code below to compare great car insurance quotes from top auto insurance companies in your local area.

#1 – What should you not say to an insurance company?

If you’re in an accident, never admit fault or say that you’re uninjured, and don’t accept a settlement without the advice of an attorney.

#2 – How do insurance companies verify the address?

Insurance companies can verify an address through a driver’s license, occupation, or any proof of address. Sometimes that includes a social security number (SSN) or utility bill. Providing your SSN is optional in some cases.

#3 – Which insurance company denies the most claims?

According to Victims Injury Law, AIG, Conseco, and State Farm are the top three companies that deny insurance claims the most.

#4 – What determines your auto insurance rate?

Your auto insurance rates are determined by your vehicle, driving record, age, gender (in most states), location, credit history, coverage level, and how many miles you plan to drive during the policy term.

#5 – How does credit score affect auto insurance rates?

A credit score helps auto insurance companies determine risk. Consumers with poor credit will likely pay more for car insurance because statistics show that consumers with low credit scores file more claims.

#6 – What do auto insurance companies check?

Car insurance companies will check your credit score, driving record, age, and all other drivers added to a policy. Insurance providers will check your driving record every two to three years to make sure you maintain a clean record.

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