Insurance – Who to trust, who to avoid?

insurance-logos1As a consumer, I too am always looking for the “best bang for the buck.” We all want to stretch our dollars but if there is one area we don’t want to cut corners, it is insurance coverage. Most of us just shoot for the lowest monthly payment possible.

The Good

A good agent is going to help you get the right coverage IN ADVANCE to properly protect you for WHEN an incident occurs. (Statistics say it is not a matter of IF but WHEN we will have an auto accident in our lifetime). Make sure you have a great agent that understands it is better to have you pay $2-3 dollars more per month for a drastic increase your protection. Simple things to like: 1) Increasing your minimum PIP coverage – you want $10,000 or more in PIP insurance. 2) Increasing your Medical and Property damage in case you cause an accident. 3) Having enough “Uninsured/Under insured” to protect you from someone elses negligence.

The Bad

The tough part is your agent is your friend but to the actual insurance company you are nothing more than a number. You can kid yourself and say, “I have been with ______ insurance company my who life. I would never leave them.” It is a one-sided belief because if you or your claims cost the company more than their accounting department calculates is worth them continuing to cover you, you will get dropped.

The Ugly

There are insurance companies that are build on the model of, “Good customer service equals more happy long-term customers and increased referrals.” On the other hand, there are companies that push big marketing and cute or funny commercials as their “growth building tools.”

Whiplash and Hidden Soft Tissue Injuries

Whiplash and Hidden Soft Tissue Injuries

Being a doctor I see the back side of the industry. I see which companies actually keep their promises to protect, and take care of the customer AFTER an incident or Auto Accident happens. Surprisingly, there are FOUR in the last 3 to 5 years that I have noticed regularly practice unethical behavior. The legal term is “Bad Faith.” But since it is so difficult for the insured to make a formal complaint to the local Insurance Commissioner, most just suffer with poor service from the insurance company that they hired and is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to take care of them after an accident.

The Best I have seen (in my area) trending in customer satisfaction, communication, paying doctors and working to help their insured get their life back in order after a motor vehicle collision include: StateFarm, Liberty Mutual, AAA, AARP and Farmer’s.

The Worst I have seen (again, in my area) trending high in customer dissatisfaction, poor communication and refusing to pay doctors after helping their insured after an accident thus leaving their insured with bad credit include: American Family, USAA, Geico and E-surance.

Interestingly enough, the Best and Worst in insurance is an ever changing phenomenon. In the course of more than 17 years in practice, some of “the worst” over a decade ago have worked to become high ranking in “the best” category today. Some that were great when they started but have taken a horrible turn for the worst after reaching client attrition goals.

When choosing insurance, be sure to make your decision based on “who has your back” when you need it, not simply “the lowest monthly payment.” Someone once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is a great example. Investing a couple of dollars per month to make sure you are PROPERLY INSURED by a company that WILL LOOK OUT FOR YOU after a trauma or motor vehicle collision, far outweighs saving 2-3 dollars or even $10 per month on the short side of a problem.

Yours in health and Wealth,

Dr. Shetlin