Insurance claims for lost and stolen vehicles rise in 2015

Insurance claims for lost and stolen vehicles rise in 2015

Source: Edmonton,Alberta / 630 CHED

More and more cars seem to be disappearing in Alberta.

In 2014, there were 2,600 insurance claims for missing vehicles. Last year, that number jumped to 4,200, around a 60 percent increase.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s lead investigator, Dan Service, says there are two common types of vehicle theft.

“One is an opportunistic event where someone needs to get from point A to point B, or they’re going to commit a crime, and they’ll steal a vehicle, and then we’ll find it again,” explains Service. “The other kind are vehicles that are stolen for profit, generally by an organized crime group, and those ones, they disappear.”

Service says they don’t know if the number of claims is up due to the tough economy, with people making fraudulent claims to avoid making payments. However, he does says any case which raises red flags over fraud do get looked at very seriously, and the consequences are severe. (scb)

Nova Scotians not keen on tech that could save them money on car insurance

Nova Scotians not keen on tech that could save them money on car insurance

By David Burke, CBC News

Several insurance companies in Nova Scotia are offering a program that allows people to save up to 25 per cent on their car insurance, but few people are opting to take part, according to OTC insurance and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

In order to apply for the discount, people have to volunteer to install what’s known as a telematics device in their car.

The small device is installed under a car’s steering wheel and records an individual’s driving habits for six months.

The device records things like driving distances, the time of day the car is driven, and sudden acceleration or braking, said Christine Gaudreau, the vice president of OTC insurance in Halifax.

At the end of the six months the device is turned over to the insurance company and it uses the data to determine if the user should get a discount on their insurance.

“We’ve been advertising quite heavily on the radio and seems like people are very leery about having this device in their vehicle for the insurance companies to look at,” said Gaudreau.

Depending on how well a person drives, the insurance company could give them up to a 25 per cent discount.

If a person drives badly, there’s no penalty and their rate will remain the same, said Gaudreau.

Despite all the advertising OTC has only had about 50 people sign up for the program.

“I think it’s probably more of a big brother situation, may be who knows?” said Gaudreau. “I’m not comfortable with it in my car.”

“But for some people that use their vehicle very little, it’s probably very beneficial to them.”

Telematics more popular in Ontario and Quebec

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private, home, auto and business insurers.

It said Nova Scotia has been slow to adopt telematics compared with other parts of the country.

“Well there is a bit of a slow uptake from what we’re hearing so far in Nova Scotia. But that’s not abnormal for any new technology especially when it’s related to a product like auto insurance,” said Amanda Dean, vice president Atlantic with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Dean said she doesn’t have exact numbers breaking down how many people are using telematics across the country.

She said due to the privacy concerns involved with telematics, most companies have not released any figures detailing how many consumers are using the technology. But she said the insurance bureau is seeing definite trends.

“Well it’s existed in other parts of the country for some time and that was in response to consumer demand in those parts of the country. So there’s a bit more uptake let’s say in Quebec or Ontario for example,” said Dean.

She said on average insurance premiums are lower in Nova Scotia then they are in places like Ontario, and that can make people more willing to try telematics to get lower rates.

Privacy concerns

David Fraser is a privacy lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Halifax, he has mixed feelings about telematics.

“Once this information is generated, it exists and it can be used for other other purposes. It can be subpoenaed in connection for with a lawsuit, the police could get a search warrant and it just adds to the amount of digital debris that we leave behind in the run of the day,” said Fraser.

He also questions how accurate the information will be and how it will be interpreted.

But Fraser said the overall idea of charging people based on exactly on how they drive makes a lot of sense.

“If you are somebody who speeds regularly, who passes recklessly, who slams on the brakes or kind of spins his tires when he’s leaving as the light turns green, maybe that person should be recognized and have higher premiums,” said Fraser.

“But that’s part of a broader discussion we need to have.”

ICBC driving records are just a mouse click away

VANCOUVER _ British Columbia drivers can now find their driving history and insurance records online.

The Insurance Corp. of B.C., says a free, online tool allows customers to request driving records and immediately receive them by email.

A release from ICBC says the records, known as abstracts, provide details of a person’s basic driving history, including tickets and offences for the last five years.

Customers can also access insurance and claims history records that outline a driver’s coverage for up to 20 years through data that ICBC says is secured.

It says driving records are often necessary when applying for membership at a car-sharing company, volunteer driving for school activities or to obtain auto insurance outside the province.

Last year, the corporation handled requests for more than 500,000 driver’s abstracts and nearly 97,000 insurance and claims history reports and says the online system will serve its customers better.

canada-press

 

Travel: Do You Really Need Rental Car Insurance?

With every car rental transaction comes the slightly uncomfortable moment when the agent behind the counter tries to foist the company’s insurance on you. When this happened to me at Hertz at the Hilo International Airport in Hawaii a few weeks ago, I did what I always do: I firmly and politely said no, thank you.

It’s been ingrained in me that buying into the rental company’s insurance is a waste of money. In my case, it would have nearly doubled the price of my rental. I have personal auto insurance and was vaguely confident the credit card I used to rent the car, a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, offered some kind of coverage. Besides, I thought, nothing had ever gone wrong.

And then something went wrong.

One minute I was on my way to an afternoon tasting on a Kona coffee farm, the next I was on a rocky shoulder with two flat tires in an area with no cellphone service and few houses, trying to find some way to call for help. In the ensuing hours and days, I learned some valuable lessons about what happens when you damage your rental car.

If something happens, you’re responsible.

Of the umbrella of insurances Hertz tries to sell you, the one you need to pay attention to is the loss damage waiver, which covers damage to the vehicle. If you don’t buy it through Hertz, it doesn’t matter if you were saving orphans from a burning building — if any part of the car is damaged, you are responsible, regardless of how it happened.

In my case, two flat tires was a “no-fault” incident that involved no other drivers. No matter: I was on the hook. Hertz would demand remuneration, be it out of my pocket or through personal auto, credit card or other insurance.

Know what your insurance covers.

Before you rent, find out what your card and personal auto insurance offer, and then supplement what they don’t through the rental agency. If you have personal car insurance with comprehensive and liability, it most likely will cover your rental car. Call your insurance company to verify. Filing a hefty claim with your insurance, keep in mind, will probably raise your premium.

Credit card rental car insurance can be primary or secondary. Primary means it’s a first line of defense. Secondary means it’s, well, secondary. “Many people incorrectly assume that all credit card rental protection is the same,” said Mark Orlowski, Marketplace Morning Report travel contributor. “If it’s secondary coverage, you’ll be forced to involve your primary personal auto insurance company and file a claim before you can get anything from your credit card company.”

The coverage offered by my Chase Sapphire Preferred card is primary, and offers reimbursement up to the value of the car if the car is damaged or stolen. It does not cover personal liability — that is, if you or someone else gets hurt.

Some cards, like the American Express Platinum Card, offer limited personal liability. Car rental companies offer supplemental liability insurance, typically increasing the coverage amount to $1 million. Do you need that much coverage? Probably not. Are there times when it makes sense? Sure, especially if you have a high deductible.

AAA is worth it.

Instead of using Hertz roadside assistance to tow my car (which would have cost hundreds of dollars), I used my own AAA Plus membership, which provides up to four free tows per year, up to 100 miles each. The AAA Plus membership has other benefits too, like flat tire service — provided you have only one flat tire. In my case, with two flat tires, they would only tow my car.

Note that this applies within the 50 states — overseas it becomes trickier. There are international auto clubs, some of which offer reciprocal services.

It’s not over till it’s over.

When I got back to Hertz, I filled out an incident report, signed off on a vehicle inspection form that noted two tires were damaged, and paid $148 for the two tires right at the desk. I returned home, smarting from the additional cost but happy little else was damaged but my pride.

Then, nine days after the incident, I received an email with a lengthy attachment from a collections specialist at Hertz informing me that, upon further review, two wheels on my rental were scraped and needed to be replaced. The bill? $1,475.88. (Weeks later, I still haven’t resolved this.)

Call your personal insurance. Or don’t.

In the event your credit card claim is denied, you may find yourself calling your personal insurance provider months after the fact. And when that happens, they’ll probably ask why you didn’t call them sooner to report the incident.

Even though I was using my credit card as primary insurance, I called Geico to let them know what happened with my rental. They then filed their own report without starting an actual claim. That way, I will have the option of opening a claim later in the event the credit card insurance doesn’t come through.

Word of warning: Don’t call your insurance company with hypotheticals like “Hey, what if, say, my tires blew out on a rental car and I wasn’t sure if I should report it to you?” They’ve already started a report before you even finished the sentence.

Get copies of everything.

I was directed by Chase to a third-party site, eclaimsline.com, to file my claim. Upon filing, you’ll need copies of things you didn’t even know existed, let alone were in your possession.

You’ll occasionally get the feeling that benefits administrators are making you jump through hoops to wear you down, knowing that many people will give up on their claims if the process is difficult enough.

Some of these items can be comically difficult, or impossible, to obtain. I was bounced around for hours on the phone before getting my “proof of service” from AAA.

Itemizations can also be tricky: Card Benefit Services told me they required an “itemization” — not just a bill, or receipt — for the $148 I paid for the two tires. When I wrote to the specialist at Hertz asking for this itemization, she informed me that such a thing did not exist.

Take lots of phone pictures.

You shouldn’t only take pictures in the event of an accident: It never hurts to get before and after pictures as I did.

Mr. Orlowski, the Marketplace Morning Report contributor, referring to his own experience, said doing that “saved me many hours of headache when Avis billed me $518 six months after the rental was over for a golf-ball sized hole in the front bumper. I sent them the photo I had taken showing the bumper damage at pickup and the issue was quickly resolved.”
Turn down the arbitration provision.

When you rent a car through Hertz, you are, whether you like it or not, agreeing to private arbitration in the event of a dispute — an arbitration process that, among other things, does not allow for meaningful appeals and is heavily weighted in favor of the corporation.

With Hertz, the arbitration provision is buried deep in the fourth page of the rental agreement. Fortunately, you can opt out of forced arbitration with Hertz if you email them within 30 days of renting, saying you reject the provision.

More than 670 auto dealers across Canada ask for customers’ help to end distracted driving

More than 670 auto dealers across Canada ask for customers’ help to end distracted driving

Customers walking through the doors of their neighborhood auto dealership over the next month may be asked to do more than check out the latest vehicle models. They will also be encouraged to take a pledge against distracted driving – a dangerous and growing trend that is responsible for 4 million vehicle collisions a year in North America.

Today marks the official start of the 2016 Auto Dealers Against Distracted Driving Campaign across Canada, with 670 auto dealerships currently registered nation-wide to participate. By lending their name to the cause, auto dealers are joining forces in their communities to say: we are not okay with distracted driving.

Throughout the month of March, customers who visit participating dealerships will be asked to make a personal pledge against the fatal behaviour and make a formal commitment to improve road safety by not driving distracted. Pledges from customers and dealership employees can also be submitted online at www.distractionfree.ca.

“This is our second year participating in the campaign and we’re hoping to build off of the great response we saw from our customers last year; our Applewood Kia location in Surrey, BC, was among the top dealers in the country with 618 individual pledges collected over the course of campaign month,” says Linda Thomas, a campaign champion for Applewood Auto Group. “It’s important we engage directly with our customers because we believe that the act of physically signing your name will encourage a real behavioural change. We hope our campaign will encourage them to think twice before reaching for their phone while behind the wheel.”

LGM Financial Services Inc. instigated the campaign as a platform for Canadian dealers to step up against a growing industry issue; more importantly, to influence consumers directly through their automotive retail point-of-sale. As a collective force, dealers have the ability to bring more awareness to a form of impaired driving that puts their communities at risk – both drivers and pedestrians alike.

The campaign aims to educate drivers on the easy and simple solutions to resist the urge to drive distracted, such as pairing to blue tooth and securing potential distractions before starting a trip.

“A total of 433 dealerships registered for our inaugural campaign last year and today, we are already sitting at 670 dealers, which is approximately a 50% increase– and there’s potential for that number to grow since dealers can register right up until the end of March,” says Marc-Andre Lefebvre, vice president of sales for the Quebec region at LGM. “Measuring registered dealers is only one form of engagement; we are also aiming to surpass last year’s campaign pledge count of 3,000 and I’m confident we will do that.”

This campaign is generously supported by Sovereign General Insurance Company and The Co-operators.

This March, help keep roads safe across Canada by visiting a local participating dealership or by making an online pledge of support against distracted driving from home at www.distractionfree.ca. Follow the national campaign on Twitter (@LGMCanada).

About LGM Financial Services Inc. –
Since 1998, LGM Financial Services Inc. has been a leader in Canada’s automotive industry by supplying branded warranty, insurance and finance products to distinguished automotive manufacturers across the country. Driven by innovation and service excellence, LGM is focused on maximizing dealership performance and customer satisfaction through quality products that are backed by an elite F&I sales training program and a comprehensive claims, service and support network. Read more at LGM.ca.

Background material:

Campaign video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiKFnYD-HAc.

SOURCE LGM Financial Services Inc.

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