If you watch any television at all, you have likely been inundated with insurance commercials which all seem to offer to be your “friend” when you have a car accident, These insurance companies want to leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling which, in turn, will prompt you to pick up the phone and sign up for their insurance. Obviously, when you do this, you expect that, in a crisis, your insurance company really will be your friend, and will help you through this difficult time. After all, you paid your insurance premiums faithfully, and did everything right. Unfortunately, these commercials tend to be more salesmanship than reality, and although some are better than others, few insurance companies are as “friendly” as they would have you believe.
USAA a Major Presence in the Insurance World
USAA has a major presence, both in the state of Tennessee, and in the U.S. The company began in 1922, put together by twenty-five officers in the army who had the idea to pool their resources and provide auto insurance to one another. USAA continues to play up their military connection, and the company even sponsors the annual Army-Navy game. USAA had the second-largest insurance company profits in its history in 2012, with annual revenues of more than $20 billion. The CEO of USAA also has a pretty lucrative gig, bringing in more than $5 million in 2015.
USAA’s Rating with the Better Business Bureau
Garnering top ratings from the Better Business Bureau (a stellar A+), USAA has nonetheless received a higher number of consumer complaints than expected, however the company worked hard to resolve most all of the complaints in a satisfactory manner. Among the JD Powers surveys for insurance companies USAA scored higher than any other auto insurance company for consumer satisfaction and claims satisfaction.
USAA’s first credo was “Service to the Services.” By 1951, USAA had received the honor of being selected by American Business Magazine as one of the 100 best insurance offices in the U.S. USAA added life insurance in in 1972, and at that time, five out of every six active-duty officers were USAA members. The 1990’s were good to USAA, as they were listed on Fortune 500’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” in 1993, and jumped into the computer age by being one of the first insurance companies to launch a website in 1999. Despite the relatively shaky economy at the time, USAA had an unprecedented 9 percent growth in both new members and products in 2011.
How Settlements are Determined
Computer software used by insurance companies (USAA uses Colossus) is used to evaluate your medical records, any past or future wage loss, pain and suffering and hospital expenses in order to come up with an offer. Like most other insurance software programs, Colossus tends to undervalue claims, at least in one category, possibly more. USAA relies on their computer software to arrive at a settlement—like most insurance companies do today—however the individual adjuster appears to have more impact on the value of the claim than in some other companies. That being said, once a lawsuit is filed against USAA, the company does appear to be willing to increase the offered amount significantly. If you are unable to settle with USAA once the lawsuit is filed, you can probably expect to be taking the case to court.
If you are a Tennessee USAA member—or want to become one—you can contact USAA at one of the following numbers: (210) 531-USAA (8722), (800)-531-USAA, or, on your cell phone by dialing #USAA. To file an online claim with USAA, go to: https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_ogon/Logon
Understanding Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance
If you should have an accident which is caused by a driver who has no insurance, you would be in serious trouble without uninsured and underinsured motor coverage. Tennessee Code, Section 56-7-1201 et seq. sets the limits required in the state of Tennessee for uninsured motorist coverage, mandating that this type of coverage must be offered. The amount of uninsured motorist coverage must be equal to the limits for bodily injury and property damage listed in your policy, unless you reject uninsured motorist insurance in writing, or select lower coverage limits.
Since the minimum limits for bodily injury and property damage in Tennessee are: $25,000 for bodily injury, $50,000 for bodily injury for two or more people’s injuries, and $15,000 for property damage, these are the usual amounts you will have under your uninsured motorist coverage as well. Uninsured motorist coverage in the state of Tennessee helps guarantee your protection if you are in a car accident with either a driver with no insurance at all, or a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover all the expenses related to your injuries and damages.
You are not required to offer limits of property damage coverage in a greater amount than the property damage liability limits purchased by the insured. According to carinsurance.com approximately 20 percent of Tennessee drivers are uninsured, placing Tennessee at number 6 in the nation for the highest number of uninsured drivers (Oklahoma is first, Florida second, Mississippi third, New Mexico fourth and Michigan fifth). The number of uninsured drivers in the state make it particularly important to protect yourself against negligent drivers with no insurance.
Contact Martinson & Beason Following Your Automobile Accident
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, perhaps the most important call you can make is to an attorney at Martinson & Beason. You need time to heal and get back on your feet without having to deal with the legal details of your accident. Particularly if your accident was serious and your injuries are severe, it is likely you simply don’t feel like dealing with insurance companies and working to ensure you receive a fair settlement. You could be finding it difficult to meet your monthly financial obligations and pay your medical expenses. Having a top-rated car accident attorney from Martinson & Beason by your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your accident. If you are looking for compassion for your injuries, as well as an aggressive litigator and/or negotiator, call Martinson & Beason today.