There goes the popular saying that if you want to get the job right, then you have to do it by yourself – and as far as this year is concerned, as many as ten drivers in Massachusetts have learned their lessons the hard way.
The State’s general attorney has made this announcement on May 6th that at least four insurance companies have made inaccurate accidents reports designating the said 10 drivers to be at fault. The four insurance companies that were instructed to pay fines and compensate for at least $10,000 to each customer were Norfolk & Dedham, United Services Automobile Association, Arbella Mutual and Electric Insurance. Reports from the said insurance providers were used as the basis for penalizing the drivers.
Just earlier this year, another six auto insurance providers – Metropolitan, Liberty Mutual, Plymouth Rock, Commerce, Peerless and Pilgrim – were found to provide erroneous records as well and received similar penalties. Additionally, because of faulty information – Progressive, GEICO, Occidental and Ameriprise – overpriced their own clients.
What happened then?
Apparently, the problems originated when Massachusetts insurance providers started to use outsource services. Due to the auto insurance deregulation two years ago, the use of private databanks was rampant and became uncontrollable. Careless recording has produced wrongful records that eventually resulted into higher premiums. Take note that many insurance providers are now relying to these databases to rate their customers.
This problem was uncovered when one customer filed a complaint last October regarding an overcharge of insurance premium due to an incorrect accident report.
Naturally, the concerned insurer did not admit its fault and continued to stress out that the mistakes were not made arbitrarily. However, they promised to review their records and to pay for fines and compensate the affected customer for the inconvenience they had caused.
How to protect yourself
There is no guarantee that you will not become a victim of false and inaccurate reports made by your insurance provider. And just like your credit reports, motor vehicle reports are important documents that should be free from human errors. There are number of reasons that could affect the accuracy of such reports such as – misspellings, software glitches, poor handwriting of the original document, conflicting accounts and others. What you can do is to make it a point to review the reports on a regular basis.
Now, when your insurance provider wants you to pay more because of an accident where you are at fault, the first thing to do is to ask for their source of information. Since you already know that most of them relied on private databases, ask for the name of the data provider. Once you have the name, contact the company and ask them the source of the information or better still request for your own copy. Each accident has to be recorded to the authorities, so by now, you can compare the report against the original police report. You will need the police report should you decide to file an appeal to your insurer.
Making sure that these reports are accurate is everyone’s business. Faulty and inaccurate reports are sometimes inevitable, and if you find yourself to be a victim of this situation then without delay inform your insurance provider right away.