“Peace of mind…”, “And like a good neighbor…”, “You’re in good hands with…”, “On your side…”, “Gets you back to where you belong…”, “Together we’re stronger…” The list goes on, but you get the gist—insurance company slogans are meant to lull you into a (sometimes false) sense of security. You believe that, having paid your premiums on time for months, years, or decades, that in the event you have a car accident, your insurance company really will be there, like a friend, helping you out. Unfortunately, you are likely to be disappointed, if you truly believe these catchy slogans.
While some insurance companies are certainly better than others, as far as paying claims in a timely manner and paying a fair settlement, the fact is, every insurance company is first and foremost interested in their financial bottom line. In fact, following an automobile accident you will probably find out that while your Tennessee personal injury attorney is there for you, your insurance company most certainly is not. While your attorney will work aggressively and efficiently, fighting for you from day one, your insurance company will not.
So, the goal of most insurance companies is to pay as little on any given claim as possible. They accomplish this through well-planned strategies, such as claiming your injuries were present prior to the accident, delaying your payment, offering you a quick, but low payment, offering you a payment before you really know how much your medical expenses may be, claiming the accident was your fault, and getting you to agree to a recorded statement, then using an innocent statement against you to deny your claim. Even when your insurance adjuster seems like a really nice person, it is essential that you speak to your attorney prior to answering questions.
If you are covered under Geico or are considering this company, you might be interested in the history of Geico. At the height of the Great Depression, there were few souls brave enough to start a new company. Yet Leo and Lillian Goodwin did just that, starting an auto insurance business which marketed directly to specific consumer groups. GEICO—Government Employees Insurance Company—was originally targeted at federal employees and certain enlisted military officers. Lillian was the marketer of this husband/wife company, also taking care of underwriting, accounting and rate-setting.
Within the first year, Geico had written nearly 4,000 policies, and had a dozen staff members. In 1951, Warren Buffett became a part of Geico’s history, by purchasing Geico stock. Geico passed the one-million mark in policyholders in 1964, opening its first drive-in claims office in 1965. Both Leo and Lillian Goodwin died in the 1970’s, triggering a difficult period for Geico. Warren Buffet came back in 1976 for a second purchase of Geico stock, to the tune of one million shares; this plus prudent underwriting practices allowed the company to expand in the 1980’s. The beloved Geico gecko made its first appearance in 2000, quickly becoming an advertising icon.
Geico has fewer consumer complaints than other insurance companies, although customer satisfaction ratings are only average, or below average. The financial strength of the company is considered solid, and today, Geico is the nation’s second-largest auto insurance company. Geico is primarily known for its low online and phone insurance rates, making it an affordable option for many consumers. Geico ranks 6th on the list of the best car insurance companies, based on the number of consumer complaints and the J.D. Power ratings for customer service and claims satisfaction.
How Tailgating Causes a Significant Number of Auto Accidents
According to Highways’ Agency research, tailgating is a contributing factor in more than a third of all auto collisions. Tailgating occurs when drivers follow the car in front of them much too closely, effectively decreasing the amount of reaction time. Further, when a driver is being tailgated—and becoming increasingly annoyed by the action—he or she may “tap” their brakes in an attempt to get the tailgater to back off. Unfortunately, many tailgating accidents have occurred as a result of this action. Many tailgaters have anger issues, at a minimum, and this anger can quickly slip into road rage and the resulting actions associated with road rage. Remember the following rules related to tailgating:
- Drive the speed limit.
- Allow 10 ft. of distance between you and the car in front of you, for every 10 mph you are driving. For instance, if you are driving 70 mph on the freeway, then you need to leave 70 feet between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
- If you are behind a large commercial truck or a motorcycle, remember those vehicles need an even longer distance to stop, so stay back even further.
- Double the distance between you and the car in front of you when inclement weather is present.
- Remember the two-second rule: On a dry, clear road, when the car in front of you drives past a sign, you should be able to count “one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand,” before you reach the same sign. For wet and rainy roads, make that four seconds, and for snowy or icy conditions, ten seconds.
If you are hit by a tailgater, this is bad enough, but if you are hit by a tailgater who has no insurance—like 20 percent of Tennessee drivers—this is even worse. In this event, you must file under your own uninsured/underinsured insurance. Since insurance companies will typically resist paying these claims, or attempt to offer you a low settlement, it can be particularly helpful to have an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney by your side. Further, it is essential that you be aware of the Tennessee statute of limitations, which is one year. While this may sound like a fair amount of time, that time can go quickly. If you miss this one-year window of opportunity, you will be barred from filing a claim for your injuries and damages.
How Martinson & Beason Can Help After Your Auto Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident, the best thing you can do for your future is to contact a highly-experienced attorney from Martinson & Beason. We understand this is a difficult time for you, and will protect your rights while handling all the legal details, giving you the opportunity to heal. We will work hard on your behalf to ensure you receive an equitable settlement which covers your injuries, damages, lost wages and pain and suffering. Call Martinson & Beason today for answers to your questions and help when you need it most.