Insurance Lesson We Learned from Tragic Auto Accidents


An auto accident involving a minor driver and a dozen casualties —some injured and some killed— recently made the headlines when the driver’s insurance company rejected the claim with the Financial Services Authority’s permission. Perhaps such an incident gets us thinking, “If I’m paying so much in insurance premiums, and still don’t get covered in an accident, then what are my rights as the insured?”

Yessy N. and Uli S., seasoned insurance agents working for different companies, shared their perspective on what can be learned from fatal auto accidents.

Learn your coverage

Not all insurance policies are created equal, so ask your agent what is specifically covered in yours; the insured individual, the vehicle, or third parties.

A medical insurance is designed to cover the medical expenses of the insured individual, but not damages to the vehicle or third parties affected by the accident. Check whether your medical insurance coverage includes prescriptions, doctor visits, the ER, the ICU, inpatient treatment, surgery, or other medical treatments.

On the other hand, auto insurance would insure the vehicle and may or may not insure individuals injured or killed in the vehicle in case of an accident. Even then, the policy may limit the number of individuals receiving damages, and / or the maximum amount of damages paid. These variables would affect the price of your monthly premium.

Learn what may render your benefits null and void

“Insurance companies are bound to an ethics code that requires practices to abide by the law,” said Yessy, who works for a company specializing in life and medical insurance. “In the company I work for, there is a clause in the insurance policies that annuls benefits for cases where accidents resulted from the client’s own violations of the law.”

In the case mentioned above, underage driving and driving without a license are the reasons why the insurance company refused to pay the minor driver’s medical expenses.

In contrast, auto insurance is designed to ensure the vehicle and not the individual. Therefore, whether or not laws were violated in the accident, or no matter who is responsible for the accident, your right to claim damages will not be affected. It still is a good idea, however, to check with your policy for clauses that imply otherwise.

According to Uli, who works for a general insurance company that offers auto insurance, there are some conditions that can render claims to auto insurance null and void. These include carrying explosives and other dangerous chemicals in the vehicle, premeditated suicide bombing, or getting willfully involved in a riot.

Tip: Nobody wants to be involved in an accident. By thinking objectively while reading the news in the media, we should introspect ourselves and prevent the same thing from happening, e.g. avoid driving when you are sleepy or under the influence, not allowing your underage children to drive a car or wait until your child celebrates his or her 17th birthday to give a car.

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