I am curious as to your thoughts on the way we structure this in MA.
I had a minor accident in Somerville in August (I backed into the left front door of a parked car causing scratches and dents). Insurance company first told me it would be $1600 to fix the other car, considered a “minor” accident, and I get hit with 3 points which works out over the years to — you guessed it — about $1600.
Now they say there was more damage found when they went to do the work, new total $3500, now it is a “major” accident and the surcharges over the years add up to around the same amount.
So if I am paying essentially the whole cost of the accident in surcharges, why am I paying premiums in the first place? Plus, the charges sound ridiculously high to me — especially the $3500 — but I am not permitted to review the claim documents and have no standing to contest the claim because it is between the other guy and the insurance company.
I know I can appeal the surcharge but that is more about fault in the driving than about the claims process.
The reason I’m raising the issue here is not so much my specific case, as the question of how the system works. It is not really insurance if when you use it your premium goes up and covers the costs of the claim. Plus the insurance company has little or no incentive to investigate claims if they know they will recover their losses via surcharges. This seems broken, though I’m not sure how to fix it.
Frankly with an excellent overall driving record I don’t think I should be paying any surcharges at all for an accident like this. It should be in the “oh that happens to everyone once in a while, that’s what insurance is for” category. Why isn’t that how the system works??
It seems like we have skewed this system to (pick one — I’m not sure which it is): (a) provide profits for the carriers, (b) address fraud problems thereby penalizing everyone for the actions of a few, or (c) attempt to enforce good driving habits by penalizing people for minor mistakes. None of these seem like good goals to me.
I would rather see the system be true insurance — everyone pays in equally (perhaps with geographic adjustments) and everyone has equal access to make claims without penalty — and then have a provision that weeds out serious repeat offenders and those committing fraud. It does not seem lile the system works that way right now.