You are the Law | When buying insurance, don’t make this mistake

It’s impossible to avoid television, radio and Internet ads for home and auto insurance from companies that want us to ditch what we have now and come to them.

Geico boasts, “15 minutes can save you 15% on your car insurance,” Liberty Mutual tells us to “pay for what you want,” and farmers show they’ll pay for even the most obscure things, like birds flying through your neighborhood. windshield.

Just ask Larry Josephs of Saint Paul Minnesota or Karl Susman of Los Angeles about the ads and they will all tell you the same thing: “Although they may be technically correct, in reality, this type of advertising is very misleading.

Josephs has been in the insurance industry for over 30 years, teaching assistants to major insurance companies. And Susman – a longtime friend of the division – in addition to running his insurance business for more than three decades, serves in the Los Angeles County Superior Court as an expert witness in the care of agents and brokers.

Both focused on a number of marketing strategies that will also help businesses, renters and home owners make informed decisions when buying insurance.

Don’t make these mistakes

Josephs: Falling into the “Rate Trap,” thinking that buying insurance is the same as buying a car and therefore, you want the lowest rate.

Buying insurance coverage that is not adequate for your needs can lead to financial problems. A very low price usually makes it very difficult.

It will cause a fatal accident and you may lose most of your life’s gains. Keep a dangerous place in your home or business that leads to serious injuries, and although your insurance company should protect you, it should not pay beyond the limits of the insurance you paid.

Susman: The mistake of spending 15 minutes to save $500 is assuming that the changes and coverages will be the same, which they often aren’t.

Example: An ad says you’ll save so much money. But it depends on having a different car than yours. It is unlikely that everyone looking for a deal has the same risk – driving record – so they can save the same amount of money.

The dangerous consequences of falling for these ads is to believe that all insurances are the same, so the only thing that matters is the price, along with a demonstration that even if you buy the insurance limit, you will be protected from your things. conviction.

Insurance policies are different and do not provide the same coverage. This comes as a complete surprise to many people. So it is a misconception to think that you are comparing apples to apples.

Josephs: If they are given medical insurance and uninsured/under-insured, they refuse to buy it, believing the agent who says, “If you have medical insurance, then you don’t have to buy auto med premiums.”

But one in eight drivers does not have insurance. If you are hit by one of these people, your only recourse is your med payment limit, UM/UIM.

The importance of med coverage is that everyone in your car is covered. Doctors and health care providers, in many cases, prefer to pay for car insurance than for private care. Med fees cost per dollar. It is one of the best insurance companies in the world. If your occupants are injured and the accident is your fault, med payments will be very important. Choose a higher limit!

Susman: “Pay What You Want!” This shows that the company won’t oversell you (when others will!) without answering the important question, “How do I know what I want?”

Ask yourself, “What is the most difficult thing?” What will happen to me?” The insurance agent does not know your financial situation and has no legal responsibility to ask or tell you about premiums or limits!

So you need to know how you can lose and be affected by having insurance. This is where your lawyer, accountant and financial advisor can be of great help.

The benefits of staying with one company?

I asked, “Are there any benefits to having a car, homeowner or business plan for a long time?”

Both Josephs and Susman strongly believe that staying with a company for years – as long as you’re being charged good rates and have the right experience – can have real benefits.

Susman says: “Say that your claim is in a gray area, where it can be accepted or rejected, and the carrier will give you the benefit of the doubt and pay for the loss.”

“However, the most common is that your company does everything possible to pay for unique and unusual complaints that other companies may not.

“Farmers Insurance does this amazingly with ads that show the most amazing accidents, and the bottom line is, ‘And we’ve got you covered. We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.’

“But what do you think?” He says proudly, “All the other cars, and carriers have paid for the loss! They will also notice a thing or two. “

Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and welcomes comments and questions from readers, which can be faxed to 661-323-7993, or emailed to Also, visit