Insurance heads up

haydn taylor haydn_taylor at
Sat Dec 14 10:17:05 EST 2002

morning Roger,

Wow...what can I say - thats a hell of a response, and again I agree with
all you say. I suppose I am just a fan of an easy life and I bill out my
time at $100 an hour at work (not that I get tht in my pocket) If its
gonna take me more than 10 hours I will probably just say - you know
what....screw it.

Even thouigh I have been stung in the past, I still carry as much insurance
as I can afford, and living in NH where it is not mandatory yet to have
insurance, I get very upset when I think about all those people driving
about without any insurance. so I carry (and this might be a requirement
here - not sure) uninsured risk insurance in case I get hit by someone
without insurance.

The bottom line for me these days regarding insurance is this;

1. Insurance is a 'get out of jail free card' if I hurt somebody else.

2. I will not be able to replace my vehicle if it gets smashed as the payout
will not be likely to be more ta half the 'real' market value as opposed to
the AMV, therefore I only carry full coverage with agreed value on my most
expensive and irreplacable vehicles - (1999 triumph daytona 955i motorcycle,
special - one of only 200 made), the others I carry liability only.

3. Insurance is a required evil

thats it really

thanks again

----- Original Message -----
From: "Roger M. Woodbury" <rmwoodbury at>
To: "haydn taylor" <haydn_taylor at>; <armanmik at>
Cc: <quattro at>
Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2002 9:01 AM
Subject: Re: Insurance heads up

> I would think that you would feel more pride of ownership, since insurance
> was invented in the UK.  Just kidding!
> I don't know how auto insurance is underwritten or regulated in the United
> Kingdom, but in the US, insurance is regulated quite closely, and the
> policies issued must conform to various regulations established by the
> states in which they are issued.  In addition, anyone selling or servicing
> the policy must be licensed as well.  In addition to that, most
> jurisdictions have quite strict regulations concerning the time that may
> pass before the claim is settled.  The attempt is that insurance companies
> will provide the services that they intend to provide in issuing the
> contract to begin with.
> Now, before I hear any more screams of rage about how this or that
> company screwed me because of a health insurance it:  life,
> accident and health insurance are not subject of this discussion, and in
> main, don't even write health or life insurance as a main stream of what
> they do.  There are exceptions, but the majority of first line life
> insurors, don't underwrite group or health insurance, and the majority of
> first line automobile insurors are not in the health insurance business,
> either.  My line of commentary is strictly involved with auto insurance.
> will agree at the outset, that health and to a lesser extent, life
> is a nasty game full of politicians and other cheats and liars.
> The statement that fighting for another $1,000 "you are in for months of
> pain", just isn't true here in this country.  The issue as presented here,
> was one of unquestionable liability on the part of the "other" insurance
> company, and the ONLY question was the method of valuation AND the
> valuation of the destroyed vehicle, PERIOD.  It is VERY open and shut.
> Actual Cash Value isn't a phantom term.  It is an integral part of every
> property insurance policy issued in this country, in large measure.  As a
> definition of coverage ACV is very well documented in law, and
> it, and how it is to be applied to a loss, is very clear cut.  Most
> claimants are not lawyers or insurance agents, and have not been properly
> serviced by their insurance agent to begin with.  With regard to auto
> insurance, this is most often the choice made by the customer:  they want
> the cheapest insurance that they can get so that they can get their car
> licensed, and the bank satisfied.  In theory this should be fine, as auto
> insurance is one of the least complicated forms of general insurance
> purchased by the consumer.
> What auto insurance isn't, is closely underwritten, and to large measure,
> individually underwritten.  Think about it:  how could an insurance
> spend the money necessary to underwrite each policy?  Here is how it
> a policy application is received.  The vehicle is checked against a list
> vehicles that are underwritable by the company, then the age, sex, and
> address of the applicant.  That's basically the first hurdle.
> Next, the driver's record of the applicant is pulled from the motor
> department according to the driver's license number furnished on the
> application.  That's basically the next hurdle.  If the record falls
> the underwriting guidelines of the company, then the application will go
> the next stage.
> The next step will be to pull the credit rating the applicant. It may well
> be that the insurance company will order more information but it is likely
> that this is the entire process at this point.  Either coverage is issued
> it isn't.  Total premiuim....say....$800 a year, per vehicle on the
> application.
> Now, much of this process is computerized at this point, once the
> application is received.  But the person who is supervising the
> process earns $23,500 per year, plus benefits package, for a total of
> $27,355. in annual compensation.  The insurance company pays a final
> of 13.5 percent to the agent in comissions.
> When the policy is issued, on the effective date of the coverage, the
> insurance company has guaranteed a maximum liability of, say, $300,000 in
> personal injury and property damage, and a total loss potential of $17,000
> on the vehicle, plus the cost of towing it, and probably other coverages
> well.  Don't forget that the insurance company will also defend you in the
> case of a personal liability loss, and those legal expenses aren't even a
> factor in the basic cost of insurance.
> I am sure that everyone sees the point:  for a lousy X dollars a year of
> premium, there really is quite an astounding amount of coverage in various
> forms provided under the contract.  So much for the theory.
> Most losses involving automobiles do not involve personal injury, but are
> the smaller, property damage variety,a nd that is where most people come
> "hate" insurance companies, because most people ALWAYS overinflate their
> idea about what THEIR car is worth.  This is especially true in the US,
> where we have come to regard our automobiles as an extension of our basic
> freedoms (which in my opinion is really confused prioritizing).
> I think that everyone who knows what an automobile is, will agree that
> the moment the vehicle is driven off the assembly line, it gets
> older....don't we all?  Now, an automobile may have a finite life span
> can be extended by maintenance, but I doubt that anyone will say with a
> straight face, that the car they drive does not decline in value with each
> mile.  Ultimately, the old clunker is just not "worth" anything, even
> it may be able to continue to provide satisfactory transportation.
> Now, the basic purpose of automobile insurance, and insurance in general,
> simply "to make the loss whole".  Everyone who owns property, in order to
> make the "risk" acceptable to the insurance company, assumes some of the
> risk of owning and operating the vehicle.  This "risk" acceptance is the
> deductible for physical damage to the vehicle.
> In the basic "fender bender", the insurance company will adjust the loss.
> They will assign an adjuster to verfy the loss, pull the police report,
> negotiate the final repair cost of the damage with the body shop.  The
> amount of estimate of loss was $2300, and the adjuster brings the price of
> the repair down to $1750 in negotiation with the body shop, and after $250
> deductible, the car is repaired.  Loss made whole?  You betcha.
> Now in the case of the total loss, the insurance adjuster has opened his
> "book"....which is probably not the NADA Guide available on-line, or in
> book stores, nor the Kelly Blue Book so commonly available on-line either.
> Rather the adjuster's "book" is furnished by one of a whole slew of
> that compile auto resale data in great detail and furnish this data to
> insurance companies for a fee or subscription.  Think of an insurance
> company as a gigantic sort of information sponge, and insurance companies
> must constantly try to keep apace of the cost of living, in order to
> in the market place.  About fifteen years ago or so, USAA Insurance formed
> an entire company to provide a buying service to its members so that it
> could reduce the cost of claims.  When my cameras were stolen on a beach
> Venezuela, they didn't send me a check for their value.  Rather they just
> replaced the lost lenses and camera body.  Worked for me, and probably cut
> their cost of doing business.
> So, now we have a totalled Mazda 323, and the actual cash value of that
> with 200,000 miles is STATISTICALLY $300.  That's the offer from the
> insurance company.  It is NOT an edict from God.
> Now, this particular vehicle was the subject of extensive restoration,
> including a professionally installed "crate" engine, with all assorted
> and mounts etc, etc, renewed at the same time.  All of that work is, say
> within the past ten thousand miles, and well documented.
> Remember, the insurance company issued a contract of insurance on THAT
> particular car, identified by its vehicle identification number.
> any total loss situation MUST involve data pertaining ONLY to THAT
> particular car.  The statistically ACV can serve only as a guideline, but
> that particular car was insured, and therefore any loss must be adjusted
> the basis of that car.
> The ACV of the loss cannot be determined by the adjuster....well, check
> that:  It CAN be determined by the adjuster IF the policy holder is
> to allow the adjuster to do that.  But in this case, the adjustment seem
> unfairly low, and the job is to verify the adjuster's valuation.
> Now the adjuster is probably a very fine fellow, and perhaps is very
> knowledgable about his business, but he may not be an expert in the
> marketing of used Mazdas.  Hence, the process that needs to be undertaken
> the claimant, is to find out from those people who ARE experts in the
> marketing of Mazdas, what the Actual Cash Value of that particular Mazda
> right now, today, in full fit form ready to be driven off their used car
> lots.
> Most professional used or new car dealers will be happy to give the
> a good value of that car.  It has nothing to do with whether or not they
> would actually keep such a car on their lots....probably they wouldn't,
> would just wholesale the car off as quickly as possible....but what is
> needed here is merely a theoretical figure to use for insurance purposes.
> By getting that figure from several professional sources, the true Actual
> Cash Value of the vehicle can be obtained, in writing, and the true value
> the loss provided to the insurance company.
> If there are three different statements of value from automobile retailers
> that prove the value to be between, say $1500 and $1900, then the
> company will make a settlement on the basis of those figures.  It is
> unlikely that the insurance company will completely ignore such
> documentation, and invite a day in small claims court, or worse case, a
> complaint from the insurance commission of the state, or worse still, a
> filed by an attorney.
> If the insurance company refuses to pay an ACV loss on this magnitude, and
> does invite further legal action, then there is another decision making
> process to go through....and one more thing learned:  the claimant will
> know the name of one insurance company that he/she surely doesn't want to
> buisness with any more.
> The final question is, is it worth persuing for a "lousy" thousand bucks
> so?  I suppose if one is a multimillionaire and spends that much for lunch
> three times a week, the answer is "no".  But were it me, the idea of
> spending a couple of hours tire kicking and talking with sales managers in
> auto dealerships to get paid a "lousy" thousand bucks, is time well spent.
> Roger
> (No longer the insurance guy, because I know where too many skeletons are
> buried).
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "haydn taylor" <haydn_taylor at>
> To: "Roger M. Woodbury" <rmwoodbury at>;
<armanmik at>
> Cc: <quattro at>
> Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 7:35 PM
> Subject: Re: Insurance heads up
> > I have had 2 experiences like this in the past (both in the UK) and got
> > raped both times,  Think long and hard if you want the pain in youre
> > right now to deal with fighting the insurance company for the sake of
> maybe
> > another $1000. You are in for months of pain!!!
> >
> > I had a 1964 Volvo Amazon 123GT, thgat was immaculate. I paid 3000.00GBP
> for
> > it, then put about another 3K GBP into it, so it had a value to me of
> about
> > $9K USD. It was appraised at about that by Volvo UK, and the Volvo
> > Club, I had all the reciepts and a years worth of clippings from local
> > national magazines (the car had been featured in several). I got rear
> ended
> > by a Joy rider. the insurance company offered me 300.00 GBP as per the
> blue
> > book value. I fought them for a year and a half to no avail.
> >
> > Case 2 - I had an ex-works 1979 (I think), Chrysler Sunbeam TI Rally
> > with full factory documentation and a full life history of racing. A
> friend
> > of mine was driving it, was forced off the road into a ditch where a
> > growing out of the banmk at 45 degrees attempted to peel the roof off,
> > thankfully there was a full FIA cage in it that got crushed to the point
> > that it pinned my friends head to the head rest. - the insurance company
> > managed to get out of paying anything at all as the crash happened on a
> non
> > public highway (it was on a 2 mile long stretch of private road.)
> >
> > Case 3 - Suzuki GSXR - stolen from outside my house one night, found in
> > field 2 months later totalled (the thief had chiseled the lock, and
> > apparently the chisel came out at speed during cornering and the
> > lock came on - hope he was badly hurt!) - insurance company paid out
> > $400.00, from which I had to pay 200 to get it back!
> >
> > etc. etc. etc.
> >
> > Insurance companies write thier own laws and its very hard to argue with
> > them.. what really pisses me off is that we all pay thier ripoff rates
> every
> > year, and they go up every year (despite no claims), then when something
> > like 911 happens they cry that they cant afford to cough up and that the
> > risk of terrorism is too high for them to cover. So the US Govt caves in
> and
> > gives the thieving bastards a bunch more of our hard earned money - they
> get
> > it both ways and we lose out.
> >
> > sorry for the rant but.....I HATE INSURANCE COMPANIES! (in case you
> couldnt
> > tell)
> >
> > Timmmy
> >
> > 5ktqs
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Roger M. Woodbury" <rmwoodbury at>
> > To: <armanmik at>
> > Cc: <quattro at>
> > Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 5:43 PM
> > Subject: Re: Insurance heads up
> >
> >
> > > Now, wait a minute.  You are a long way from done.  Just because some
> > > insurance adjuster yahoo SAYS that ACV is some-such, doesn't make it
> > >
> > > Actual Cash Value is the real dollar value that that car will bring in
> the
> > > town or area in which is was principally garaged, and the rating
> territory
> > > that was a factor in the rating of the vehicle to begin with.
> > >
> > > What you need to do is to prove the insurance adjuster wrong....or
> > perhaps,
> > > prove him right.  Here is how you should go about it.
> > >
> > > First of all, go to an authorized Mazda dealer.  If you have a recent
> > > picture of the car, AND all records for all the work done on the car,
> take
> > > them with you.  If you have records for maintenance on the car since
> > was
> > > new, or newer, take them too.  The more pictures you have the better.
> > >
> > > Ask the dealer what THAT car would be worth, theoretically, at retail
> > > (Actual Cash Value!), if it was sitting on his lot.
> > >
> > > Repeat the exercise at two other dealerships in town, or the local
> > shopping
> > > area.
> > >
> > > Be straight with the dealers.  Explain that your wife has just
> a
> > > total loss accident in THAT car.  Tell them that when she gets out of
> the
> > > hospital, she will need new transportation (hence going to the Mazda
> > dealer
> > > to begin with, of course).  Tell them that the insurance adjuster is
> > giving
> > > you what you think is an unfair valuation, as the car was in much
> > > than "average" condition.  Provide as much detail as you can.
> > >
> > > The three dealers should be willing to give you a statement in
> > It
> > > doesn't have to be something that will withstand a Supreme Court
> > Challenge.
> > > It is only important that the dealer, authorized Mazda or someone
> > has
> > > stated in writing, that on the basis of the information and
> documentation
> > > that you have provided, the Actual Cash Value (ask the dealer to use
> those
> > > words!), of that car on his lot would have been "X" dollars.
> > >
> > > You may be surprised at what the Actual Cash Value may be or
> > may
> > > not be better than you have been offered, but by all means, do NOT
> merely
> > > accept what has been told you by the insurance company adjuster.  I
> doubt
> > > that he has done more than look up the value in the "books".
> > >
> > > I was in the insurance agency business for a lot of years, and I can
> tell
> > > you, that that Mazda poses difficult considerations.  Its age, mileage
> and
> > > model make it an automatic write-off, as far as the insurance company
> > > concerned, because most that age are really worth very, very little.
> But
> > > they will gladly provide a better settlement to you, IF you can prove
> that
> > > they should.
> > >
> > > A client of mine once had a VW Bus that was very old.  He had a lot of
> > work
> > > done on the engine and electrical system, as well as extensive body
> work.
> > > He had recent receipts for more than $1900.  The bus was stolen and
> > torched,
> > > and the insurance company offered him $300 which was exactly book
> > > that case, NADA Blue Book, which was what was most
> > > used.
> > >
> > > He did exactly what I told him to do, and the valuations from three
> > dealers
> > > in town (there were NO VW dealers, by the way), appraised the records
> and
> > > pictures of the bus at between$1800 and 2500.  My client got the $1900
> > that
> > > he had put into the bus over the previous six months, AFTER
> > >
> > > Let me know what happens, if you would, and also, I would love to know
> the
> > > name of the insurance company involved.
> > >
> > > Roger
> > >
> > > (Mercifully out of the insurance biz for twelve years).
> > >
> >
> >
> > ---
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> >

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