Responsible drivers know that their vehicles should be properly insured, but what they may not be aware of is the sometimes questionable behavior of their auto insurance companies. Recent research by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), a non-profit advocacy organization for consumers, indicates regular discriminatory and manipulative actions by insurance companies designed specifically to benefit the insurer rather than the insured.
Discrimination towards Less-Educated, Lower-Paid Consumers
In 2013, the CFA conducted specific research geared toward uncovering discriminatory behavior in regards to premium quotes made to potential consumers. To discover indications of this practice, CFA representatives submitted applications for automobile liability coverage on the websites of ten large auto insurance companies. The applications included all of the same details with the exception of two variables: The applicants were either college-educated, white-collar workers, or less-educated, blue-collar workers. Results of the research confirmed that the auto insurance companies tended to determine rates based on criteria related to consumer education and occupation level. Despite virtually identical demographics on the applications, such as age, gender, driving record, and coverage type, consumers with lower incomes and less education were quoted higher premiums than their college-educated, white-collar counterparts were.
Insurance Delay Tactics for Claims
Auto insurance companies also have the reputation of using strategies to delay progress in cases involving automobile and tractor-trailer accidents and wrongful death claims. These tactics are used to postpone a pending resolution of legitimate claims. The delay tactics involve overwhelming the consumer with an abundance of paperwork and red tape related to the claim over such a long period of time that the consumer will be more likely to settle for inadequate compensation as opposed to allowing the process to be dragged out. This deceptive behavior by insurance companies has led some states to establish “bad faith laws” to protect consumers and urge the insurers to honor their own policies.
What Can Consumers Do to Protect Themselves from Dishonest Insurance Companies?
Unfortunately, insurance companies have developed a questionable reputation as the result of a long history of inappropriate and misleading behaviors toward their own consumers. The situation is made even more exasperating by the fact that insurance companies advertise and promote a helpful, honest, and consumer-centered image while not actually practicing their own philosophies and policies.
Consumers would be wise to stay informed about their rights and the specific details about the policies from their auto insurer. Vigilance and persistence are keys for a consumer to receive rightful compensation for claims. In the event that consumers are not able to convince insurance companies to proceed with fair compensation, consumers have the right to obtain legal representation. Knowledgeable attorneys that are fluent in insurance practices and strategies can protect the consumer from the insurance company’s deceptive tactics and hold the insurer accountable for fairly handling legitimate claims according to specific policy direction.
If you are having trouble with your insurance company, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe today. We want to help you receive what is rightly yours and we are not afraid to help you stand up for your rights. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation visit to discuss your situation and options. Stop fighting with insurance companies and let the attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe help you.