Automobile insurance is one of those things that suck the fun out of owning and driving a car.
Depending on the age of the car, where it’s garaged, and how often it’s driven, the premiums can be a huge pain. Add to this the extra burden of younger drivers, who are considered a greater accident risk and consequently have larger premiums, and the cost of that nice leisurely drive starts getting out of control.
Then of course, there are deductibles, optional coverage, all of those extras that make life worth living. Well, actually, quite the opposite.
So, as if this all isn’t annoying and unpleasant enough, there are now news accounts coming out of the UK about young drivers who are being sold bogus insurance policies. And if you think having a real insurance policy is a pain, trying having a non-existent one!
Who ya gonna call?
Who You Gonna (Not) Call? Ghost Brokers!
Ghost brokers usually target younger, newer drivers, usually conducting their sleaziness online via social networking or fake websites. The unsuspecting victims are offered coverage at amazing prices, and then obliviously drive around, thinking they have coverage.
But in reality, there is no policy. The documents are phony. The company is phony. And of course, the victim finds this out after they get into an accident and file a claim, only to find out that they’ve been paying good money for a mirage. So not only have they wasted their money paying premiums all this time, now they have to handle the accident’s damages out of their own pockets, creating a potentially finance-destroying scenario.
Furthermore, remember that in many places, car insurance is mandatory. An insured driver could end up paying even more money due to fines. Add to this possible motor vehicle violation charges, which would then heap higher premiums when the poor victim finally gets a policy through a legitimate carrier.
How Do You Battle Ghost Brokers?
Well, aside from calling Doctor Venkman and Egon, there are a few practical steps you can take to be safe from fraudulent insurance sellers. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Yes, that clichÃ© gets trotted out in practically every consumer-awareness article, blog, or public service announcement, but its truth can’t be denied.
Make sure you only deal with a reputable insurance agent. In fact, you can visit an insurance company’s website and deal with them directly that way.
Some of these crooks leave advertisements in car repair centers, eating and drinking establishments, bars, and university organizations. You wouldn’t accept a medical referral from a coffee house bulletin board, so why would you accept an insurance company pitch from there or any other venue that would normally have no business hawking insurance? You go to a bar for a beer and appetizers, not comprehensive auto insurance policies.
Read your paperwork. Go through it all, and make sure you clarify any confusion with your insurance agent. You know who the agent is, right? He’s the guy you call at the company directly, using contact information given to you thanks to their legitimate website.
When it comes to auto insurance, attempts to cut costs ultimately backfire and you end up being even more than if you simply went with a legitimate policy that costs more upfront. Use a name-brand company, and if the policy is going to be expensive, shop around a bit and see what incentives and discounts you can get.
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