Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who should you buy your automobile insurance from?

Shop the rates. Every automobile insurance company must file with the Maryland Insurance Administration their underwriting standards and rates.

Automobile insurance companies in Maryland may use numerous factors to determine their risk and to set rates based upon the risk. Factors that are considered include: geographic location, age of driver, education of driver, type of job, distance of normal commute, and credit rating. Factors are placed in separate boxes and rates are set by which box a person matches up with. The carriers do, however, weigh risks differently, and therefore, a persons rates may depend on their particular insurance company.

Factors that may not be considered are a persons race or nationality. In other words, Korean or Chinese speaking Maryland clients can not be forced to pay more in premiums.

Insurance companies are allowed to base future rates on an insured's traffic record and history of at fault accidents.

Since each automobile insurance company uses different factors and weighs the risks differently, you should shop around to determine the best rates for yourself. One carrier for example may charge more based on the type of care you drive, while another due to the inexperience of the driver.

Service does not generally vary from insurance carrier to insurance carrier. It does vary from adjuster to adjuster, but that is just a matter of luck. Therefore, base your decision on what the policy costs, not what the carrier says about its overall service.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beware of the Friendly Insurance Adjuster: Especially in Maryland

wolf 5.jpgAs Maryland personal injury attorneys our law firm deals with insurance adjusters on a daily basis. Our Maryland auto accident attorneys are constantly negotiating settlements or in court fighting against the insurance companies on behalf of our clients. As a result, we have seen every trick in the book. One of the most common tricks is when an adjuster offers an injured individual a check shortly after the accident in exchange for a release. More often than not the check will be for substantially less than the actual value of the case. In Maryland once the release is signed there is no opportunity for the injured individual to rescind. In contrast, in Virginia, there is a 72 hour period to rescind.

Like a sheep in wolf's clothing the insurance adjuster's wonderful customer service and eagerness to offer money masks the actual intent. The insurance adjuster's job, by nature, requires them to settle cases for the lowest possible amount. It is all about the bottom line. If adjusters can keep their company's cost down by offering settlements that do not reflect the actual value of the case they will most likely do so. Every day our law firm answers calls from people who have accepted offers and signed releases for amounts significantly lower than what their case is actually worth. Unfortunately, in Maryland, once the settlement is accepted and the release is signed our Maryland accident injury attorneys can't pursue the case. Ultimately, the failure to consult an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney could cost someone injured in an accident thousands of dollars. This consequence is exactly why speaking to a Maryland personal injury lawyer or Maryland auto accident attorney is essential to achieving maximum recovery for injuries suffered as a result of someone else's negligence.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Family Vacation Tip

It's the end of the summer so many families throughout Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, are headed out for one last hurrah. With families with young drivers, like mine, let me point out one thing. While your college age youngster may have been driving for years, unless he or she is 25 or over, they cannot rent a car from most rental agencies. Further, even if you are older than 25, may companies require that you have a driver's license for at least one year or two. One exception for folks under 25 is when they are part of a corporate or organization's discount program.

Exceptions to the general rule can be found in New York or Michigan, where state laws require agencies to rent to drivers ages 18 and up. Of course, you will pay dearly for the privilege. In other states, if there is an exception it will come at a hefty extra charge. Some rental car carriers also make an exception at age 21, they include Dollar, Enterprise and National, but exclude convertibles, SUV's. and expensive models.

Another exception to the general rule are US Government employees or military personnel. If they are on official business and traveling with orders often times surcharges are waived.

USAA has a partnership with Avis that allows members 21 and over to rent a car without paying a surcharge.

Before renting a car compare the exclusions and rates on the following rental car companies:

Alabama Car Rental               Illinois Car Rental                     Montana Car Rental                 Rhode Island Car Rental

Alaska Car Rental                  Indiana Car Rental                    Nebraska Car Rental                South Carolina Car Rental

Arizona Car Rental                 Iowa Car Rental                        Nevada Car Rental                   South Dakota Car Rental

Arkansas Car Rental              Kansas Car Rental                    New Hampshire Car Rental      Tennessee Car Rental

California Car Rental               Kentucky Car Rental                 New Jersey Car Rental            Texas Car Rental

Colorado Car Rental                Louisiana Car Rental                 New Mexico Car Rental           Utah Car Rental

Connecticut Car Rental           Maine Car Rental                      New York Car Rental               Vermont Car Rental

Delaware Car Rental               Maryland Car Rental                 North Carolina Car Rental         Virginia Car Rental

Washington DC Car Rental      Massachusetts Car Rental        North Dakota Car Rental          Washington Car Rental

Florida Car Rental                   Michigan Car Rental                 Ohio Car Rental                      West Virginia Car Rental

Georgia Car Rental                 Minnesota Car Rental                Oklahoma Car Rental              Wisconsin Car Rental

Hawaii Car Rental                   Mississippi Car Rental              Oregon Car Rental                   Wyoming Car Rental

Idaho Car Rental                     Missouri Car Rental                  Pennsylvania Car Rental


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Does an insurance company use video surveillance in automobile accident cases in Maryland or Virginia?

Absolutely. In serious accident cases you need to be aware of the fact that if you are claiming a permanent injury the insurance carrier becomes more concerned about its exposure. If the adjuster has received medical reports where you claim such a disability the adjuster may hire an investigator to follow you and video your activities. This is often done on the day you have a scheduled doctors appointment with the insurance company's doctor for an evaluation. Amazingly, Maryland and Virginia personal injury lawyers will inform their client of the questions the doctor for the insurance carrier may ask, yet forget to tell them their activities for the day may be videoed. This certainly is a home run for an insurance carrier when a client is shown raking leaves on the same day she told the doctor she was basically confined to her bed (this happened to a well known Baltimore accident attorney).

Many insurance companies, like the Hartford are known to conduct video surveillance in injury cases where a permanency is claimed once a lawsuit if filed.

I inform all of the injury clients I meet in my Columbia, Maryland office, and tell all of the accident lawyers who work for the law firm in Maryland and Virginia, to instruct all accident clients, with respect to video surveillance in this fashion:

1. If you are not claiming a permanent injury odds are there will be no video surveillance;

2. If the insurance policy for the defendant driver is 25,000 or less video surveillance is not likely;

3. If you are seeking large permanent damage and are claiming you can no longer work, walk, drive, enjoy leisure activities or working outdoors, beware of video surveillance;

4. If you have a scheduled deposition, or any meeting with a doctor for the defendant, expect video surveillance.