How Much Will A Car Crash Affect Your Insurance Rates In Illinois?

 

The Chicago Tribune posted an interesting article last month about the effects that car accidents can have on insurance premiums in Illinois.

According to a study by Insurancequotes.com, if a 45-year-old married woman in Illinois with a perfect driving record and excellent credit has just one car accident where she is at fault, a claim of $2,000 or more will increase her insurance rates 35 percent.

What happens if this person is involved in a second auto accident in the same year? She’d pay 104 percent more for car insurance than a claim-free driver.

The insurance quote company hired Quadrant Information Services to conduct the study, which looked at six large carriers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It assumed a $2,000 claim and policy limits of $100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage.

Some states are worse than others according to this study. In Massachusetts, someone who’s at-fault auto accident there increases premiums by 76 percent versus the national average of 41 percent.  In California filing a bodily injury claim in that state will drive up insurance costs 86 percent.

Injuries are by far the most costly of claims for insurance companies because hospitals and treating physicians are much more expensive than auto body shops. The average bodily injury claim cost $15,443 in 2013 versus the average property damage claim of $3,231.

Also, important to point out is if the traffic accident is the other drivers fault, their insurance kicks in and should not affect your rates.

Regardless, it is important to drive carefully, obviously for your health and the health of others. But, as this study points out, it’s also important to drive safely for your pocketbook.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation.

Are New Regulations Coming For Illinois Ride Share Companies?

I wrote last week about ride share
companies like Uber and Lyft, and their decision to retain insurance policies
that would cover their drivers during periods they were driving and searching
for fares or in between fares. According to ABC 7 News, state
legislators and city officials are continuing their push for more regulations
that will insure that both the drivers for these companies and the vehicles are
to drive.  A lawsuit has been filed by cab companies in federal court to
put a halt to ride share companies because they do not believe they undergo the
same scrutiny as their companies and drivers go through. This may change with
proposed local and statewide legislation that is on the table. 

In Chicago, before a cab driver can
become licenses, he or she has to go through a thorough background check, which
includes: fingerprinting each new applicant
for background check with the CPD; applicants must submit a “court
purposes” certified copy of their Illinois motor Vehicle record that is
issued by the Secretary of State; applicants red-light/speed camera ticket
history and any debt with the City of Chicago; and they also have to pass a
drug test and a physical exam administered by a licensed IL physician.

Currently, drivers
for ride share companies like Uber and Lyft do not have to undergo any of these
background checks or testing by the city or state (though it was reported that
the companies themselves do their own background checks). A new city ordinance
called the Transportation Network Providers ordinance (TNP) would change this.
Under the proposed ordinance, TNP companies will be required to conduct
background checks to ensure that all drivers maintain no disqualifying criminal
and driving records, undergo training, and operate vehicles that meet annual
inspection requirements.

One area the ride
share companies appear to better protect consumers than cab companies in
through insurance. All of the ride share companies require their driver carry
their own basic insurance ($50,000/$100,000), plus an umbrella policy of
$1,000,000 that each company carries. Cab companies are only required to carry
a minimum of $350,000 in insurance.

I agree with the
above proposed legislation. Ride share drivers are performing the same task as
cab drivers and they should be required to undergo the same background checks
and safety training. The only way to insure this would be through the proposed
city and/or state legislation. Hopefully this will insure the safest possible
drivers for the consumer.

If you or someone
you love has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident,
then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384. 

Uber & Lyft Expand Insurance Coverage Following Pressure From Chicago and Illinois Legislatures

We have heard of new companies like
Uber and Lyft that have taken over the ride share community in Chicago. A
simple app on your phone will help you track down a driver to take you
somewhere in the city. Uber and Lyft are similar to taxis but can be a little
more expensive but users prefer the convenience and appreciate the fact that
the vehicles are usually nice and provide more room than your typical taxi
(think town car or luxury SUV).

While these companies have taken off
Chicago and state officials are cracking down on them to determine if there is
sufficient insurance coverage for passengers and other drivers. WBEZ (NPR)
radio reported last week the steps that the Illinois Senate and the city has
taken to ensure there is enough insurance coverage in case an Uber or Lyft
vehicle is involved in a car crash. Uber, Lyft and Sidecar require their
drivers to have personal auto insurance, and claim to offer excess liability
insurance of $1 million per incident, but have declined to share copies of that
policy with WBEZ and others. The problem, said witnesses at the hearing, is
that the excess policies are not triggered until a driver’s personal insurance
is exhausted — and personal insurance policies explicitly preclude coverage
for commercial use of a vehicle. Sandoval noted that Lyft and Uber
recently changed their policies to “drop down” to serve as primary insurance in
case a driver’s personal policy declines to cover damages from an accident. But
insurance industry representatives said they could not verify if that covers
the insurance gap without seeing copies of the policy. They also noted other
problems with the excess policies, namely the companies’ stipulation that the
coverage applies only when a driver has accepted a fare, until that ride has
ended.

Well, the pressure from subpoenas by
the city and the Senate Committee hearing last week has apparently forced these
companies to act quickly. Uber announced late last week that their insurance
will now cover their drivers when they are out and about searching for
fares. Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, held a conference call with reporters
to discuss an extension of its coverage to periods when drivers may be looking
for passengers. “What we’re announcing today is that for the period of
time between trips, when the app is open and the driver is essentially
available for requests, we are announcing that we are rolling out coverage for
Uber partners on uberX nationwide, and that coverage starts today,” said
Kalanick.

City and state legislatures often
receive a lot of criticism for the work they do (or don’t do), but in this case
I think they deserve kudos for focusing hard on this issue. If they had not
issued subpoenas or called for answers then I don’t believe Uber would have
expanded their insurance coverage. This means that if a passenger is hurt in an
Uber or Lyft vehicle, there will be a lot more insurance coverage (one million vs.
$50,000/$100,000) and those other drivers or pedestrians who are injured while
the driver is searching for fares will also be covered. It’s not clear at this
point if Lyft has expanded their coverage like Uber has. I will be interested
to find out.***

***Edit. CBS News in San Francisco (where both companies are based) reported that Lyft is also expanding its’ insurance coverage during the period that where drivers are seeking fares.

If you or someone you love has been
involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, at 312-588-3384 for a free legal consultation