Welcome to the July 2008 edition of the InsuranceHotline.com Insider newsletter.
In this issue, learn about how to avoid becoming a victim of Auto Insurance Scams, find out about a new change to an Impaired Driving Law and explore why Roundabouts are becoming popular.
Remember, in order to make sure you're paying the lowest rate available for your profile, you need to shop around.
Sincerely,The InsuranceHotline.com Team
7 Tips to Avoid Auto Insurance Scams
Fraudulent activity occurs in the business world and the insurance industry is no exception. The Insurance Institute of Canada estimates that 10 to 15% of insurance claims in Canada are fraudulent and the latest insurance scam in Ontario involves the sale of fraudulent auto insurance policies to unsuspecting drivers.
These con-men lure unsuspecting consumers through false advertising, offering the sale of unbelievably cheap auto insurance through newspapers, commercials and over the Internet. It's common for scam artists to ask for an up-front fee and cash payment which is a warning sign that you may NOT be dealing with a licensed insurance agent.
Completing a quote on InsuranceHotline.com ensures that you are always connected with an industry approved, licensed insurance broker or agent you can trust. InsuranceHotline.com does not charge any up-front fees and is a completely free service for consumers.
If an offer seems too good to be true, follow these tips to avoid buying into auto insurance scams:
- Research the name of the representative to ensure they are legally allowed to sell auto insurance. Visit the Financial Services Commission of Ontario website (www.fsco.gov.on.ca) and click Insurance Agents Licensed in Ontario.
- Verify with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario website (www.fsco.gov.on.ca) that the insurance company you are dealing with is licensed.
- Avoid paying up-front cash fees. Licensed agents and brokers do not charge fees.
- When applying for auto insurance, you must complete an application form called the Ontario Application for Automobile Insurance (OAF1). Check for accuracy if your licensed broker or agent completes the form on your behalf.
- Always carefully read any documents you sign.
- Steer clear of paying for your auto insurance through a wire transfer. This is not a safe practice in the insurance industry.
- Always shop around for the lowest car insurance rates.
To ensure that you are working with a licensed broker or agent, get a quote on InsuranceHotline.com, your one stop destination for all your insurance needs including car, home, motorcycle, and life insurance. InsuranceHotline.com allows you to instantly compare the rates from over 30 top insurance companies for free.
Federal Law Cracks Down on Impaired Drivers
Effective July 2nd 2008, all Canadian drivers caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will no longer be able to refuse roadside sobriety tests and will now face tougher penalties including:
- $1,000 fine for 1st offence
- 30 days in jail for 2nd offence
- 120 days in jail for 3rd offence
- 10 years sentence if bodily harm is caused
- Life sentence if death is caused when blood alcohol concentration is over .08
Under the old law, police were obligated to tell suspected impaired drivers that roadside tests were not mandatory. The new federal law closed this loophole by giving police officers the right to take all drivers to a hospital or police station for a blood, saliva or urine test if they suspect the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
"More and more often individuals are refusing to give those samples and so now finally we are changing the law in this country so that you will be compelled, by law, to provide a sample or you will be charged. I think that's a reasonable response to the problem," said Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
Don't take the risks of driving impaired. The consequences have lasting effects on your own life and society as a whole. Getting a ticket for driving under the influence will also hit you in the wallet as your insurance rates will increase by at least 100%.
Regardless of your driving record, InsuranceHotline.com will search for the lowest insurance rate available from over 30 top insurance companies in Canada.
What About Roundabouts?
You've seen them. Those circular intersections that are used instead of stop signs and traffic lights. There are over 1,200 roundabouts in North America today and hundreds more planned. Do you know the benefits of these "roundabouts"?Because traffic moves more slowly through a roundabout and because there are no left turns in front of oncoming vehicles, there is a 40% decline in motor vehicle accidents and an 80% reduction in accidents involving injuries compared to intersections with traffic lights according to statistics provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Roundabouts also improve the quality of life for the people living nearby. How?
- Slow moving traffic makes less noise than traffic that must stop and start, speed up and brake.
- Vehicles don't idle at roundabouts. Drivers use less gas by not idling, therefore releasing less exhaust fumes, improving the air quality.
So what are the "Dos and Don'ts" of using a roundabout?
- Yield to traffic already in the roundabout that comes to your immediate left before you enter.
- Enter the roundabout to your right (counter clockwise) when there is a gap in traffic and it is safe to do so.
- Continue around until you come to your exit.
- Never come to a full stop in a roundabout unless the traffic requires you to do so.
- Use your turn signal to let others know that you plan to exit.
- Exit at a slow speed.
- Watch for pedestrians at the crosswalk and be prepared to stop.
- If you miss your exit, keep on the roundabout until you reach it again.
Transportation engineers the world over refer to roundabouts as the safest, most efficient and attractive form of traffic control in the world. These roundabouts can help protect our environment and community.
So, in a roundabout way, roundabouts can actually help keep your insurance rates low by reducing your likelihood of getting into an accident. But to make sure you are paying the lowest rate available, visit InsuranceHotline.com and compare quotes from over 30 top insurance companies.
Quote UnquoteJuly 2008 edition:Q)My insurance company said that my vehicle was a "total loss" after my accident. How did they decide that?A)When you make a claim for damages to your vehicle, your insurance company will pay the lower amount of either:"Actual Cash Value" is the amount necessary to replace your vehicle with a similar vehicle. The insurance company takes into consideration the age of your vehicle, the mileage, the average retail selling price as well as the condition of your vehicle.If it will cost the insurance company more to repair the damage than the vehicle is worth, they will decide that the vehicle is a "total loss" or write off. For example, if a car has a retail value of $3,000 and the cost to repair the damage is estimated at $4,000, the company will pay the lower amount.
- The cost to repair the loss or damage or
- The "actual cash value" of your vehicle at the time it was damaged.