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Which Age Group Causes The Most Car Accidents?

According to statistics collected over the last decade, two age groups cause the most car accidents: teen drivers and the elderly. There are a number of reasons for these statistics, but the reality is that car accidents are a part of everyday life, and that even though someone might be a member of these demographic groups it does not automatically mean that they are going to be in a crash.

Teen drivers

Driving represents a lot of things to teens. Freedom, empowerment for the first time in their lives and status as drivers makes putting teens behind the wheel a dangerous prospect. Teen drivers cause car accidents because they are full of youthful exuberance, and they lack the experience of more seasoned drivers, and they are prone to taking risks because they feel they are invincible.

Furthermore, teen drivers also drive cars that are not the safest on the road, such as smaller vehicles that have more blind spots, or do not have the safety and accident avoidance features that many other cars have. Also, teens engage in riskier behaviors, such as racing, drinking and driving, and overloading their cars with too many people, all of which can contribute to causing an accident.

Unfortunately, the combination of inexperience and propensity for risk taking means that teen drivers are among the most dangerous, and the statistics bear this out. That`s why insurance companies generally charge more for the policies of teen drivers, because the companies understand the risks of teens on the road and adjust their premiums accordingly.

Elderly drivers

On the flip side of the accident-causing spectrum, elderly drivers are also an age group that causes the many car accidents. Though they may have decades of driving experience, safe cars and a risk-avoidance mentality, these very factors can actually contribute to causing accidents. Throw in diminished reaction times, failing vision and hearing, and a sense of entitlement and elderly drivers can be just as dangerous as the newly-minted 16 year old out on the road for the first time.

As the body ages, the mind and reflexes slow down. Hand-eye coordination decreases significantly, and it is a lot harder for older people to respond rapidly to conditions on the road or other drivers in dangerous situations. Then accidents occur.

Older drivers tend to think of themselves as perfectly safe drivers, obeying the rules of the road while the world around them takes dangerous risks. While this is partially true, elderly drivers make can make judgment errors about the flow of traffic and distances between vehicles much easier than younger drivers. If this happens and there is no way to fix this incorrect perception of reality, older drivers can make assumptions that cause accidents.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of everyone on the road to be as safe a driver as they possibly can. Young drivers need to learn that they are not invincible, and older drivers need to realize that their skills and perception have likely decreased over time, and need to make adjustments to accommodate.

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Can GEICO Auto Insurance Help When It Comes To DUI Car Insurance?

DUI car insurance is quite a significant issue for those charged with drunk driving, DUI, DWI, or other alcohol-related driving offenses. Auto insurance companies including GEICO auto insurance will base their rates on a variety of factors, including driving record.

Drunk driving convictions will cause many auto insurance carriers to drop you like a hot potato as an insured; others will raise the rates significantly. In many cases it may be best not to reveal a pending case to an insurance carrier, simply because without a conviction, there is no obligation to do so.

If an accident is involved in the alcohol-related driving episode, then it becomes even more complicated when to talk with your auto insurance company and when to talk to your lawyer. Therefore, it is critical to consult with a qualified lawyer in your area to determine whether the insurance company can exclude the incident from coverage. In most cases, when someone has a DUI or DWI and gets into an accident, a GEICO auto insurance policy will cover the damage. It is not absolute, but nice to know they stand by their auto insurance policies and can back it up with their strong financial power.

By getting a free, no-obligation quote on auto insurance from GEICO Auto Insurance anyone accused of a DUI / DWI can get information on the specifics of their situation while there is still time to do something about it.

Top 5 Window Tinting Myths

When it comes to window tinting, especially car tinting, many people share common misconceptions. We are going to discuss the myths surrounding the window tinting industry and reveal the truth.

Myth 1: Car Tints are only for boy racers!

Well, we won`t deny the popularity of tints in the racing community. It can make sports cars and small hatchbacks look even more sporty. However, it is nonsense to think that they are designed only with this sector of the market in mind. In fact, at our workshop, sports cars and customized cars account for the smallest percentage of our customer base. People from all different walks of life with a wide variety of car types bring their cars to us. This includes 4×4 drivers, tradesmen with vans and estate cars, mums with family cars and MPVs and business men with saloons/sedans.

Myth 2: Window Tinting is illegal and will likely void my car insurance!

No, it is not illegal in most countries. In certain countries laws are in place that limit how dark a tint can be on certain windows. For example, in the UK, it is illegal to do front door glasses, but the rest of the car can be done as dark as you like. You should check you own local laws to find out how dark you can go. As for insurance, it is very unlikely that an insurance company or underwriter will refuse to insure you. This is because tints are primarily a security product, providing privacy and adding strength to the glass. That being said, your insurance will be void if you illegally go darker than the prescribed limits in your area.

Myth 3: Window Tinting will lower the resale value of my car!

This will be true in some cases, but not in all cases. For instance, I for one, like tinted windows. So, if I were looking to buy a car, finding one with tinted windows would have a higher value to me than for someone who hates tints. Bear in mind again that it is not just for aesthetics. They provide security, cut out UV rays and provide heat reduction in the hotter months. These factors can add value to a car. However, if you don`t believe these points could add value to your car, window tints can be removed at a later stage. The process is completely reversible if required or desired.

Myth 4: Window Tint will affect my heater element on heated rear screens or radio/security antennae fitted onto the glass.

Well, a sub-standard product or even a poorly installed product can cause problems. However, tint itself is designed not to interfere with modern fixtures in our glass. To be safe, make sure you use a reputable dealer using quality products. Only use a dealer that offers a guarantee or warranty.

Myth 5: Window Tint will stop me from seeing out of the car when I`m driving!

If your not a fairly competent driver to begin with, then it is possible that you will struggle to get used to having darker windows. However, the films work one way, similar to a one way mirror at a police line-up. You can see out but can`t see in. Please also remember that there are tinting films that will not be so dark which still allow one to see into a car from outside. Ask your dealer to show you samples and make sure that he will allow you to sit in a demonstration car, or even his own car, to give you an idea of what it will be like. Any reputable dealer will not push the product onto you if it is not really right for you. Every reputable dealer that I have met has shown samples and allowed customers to sit in a car or two. They won`t sell tints just for the sake of making a sale. Installers live on reputation and customer service so don`t be afraid to visit your local shop just for a chat about things. If you find a pushy salesman then walk away, there is no room for power sellers in the window tinting market and this type of dealer is not to be trusted. You have been warned.

Insurance Appraisal Clause – Resolving an Impasse in Your Claim

What if, after all you`ve done, you and your adjuster/insurance company are at an impasse on the value of your property? It`s now time to invoke the Appraisal Clause in your insurance policy. The Appraisal Clause is found in all insurance policies, and was designed to establish a procedure to allow disputed amounts to be resolved by disinterested parties. The appraisal clause can be found in every homeowners policy, in every policy covering commercial buildings, in all business policies, as well as in every renters policy…even automobile policies.

The Appraisal Clause is usually found in the policy under the Heading ``Conditions`` and/or ``What to do after a loss.``

Don`t confuse the Appraisal process with Arbitration. The Appraisal Clause does not bind either party to its findings. In arbitration, the findings of the arbitrator are usually binding on both parties.

The Appraisal Clause is meant to be the method for determining disputed values. Appraisal cannot be used to determine what is covered. That is for a court of law to decide. If you have dispute with the company on whether or not something is covered, then you must file a lawsuit against your insurer to get that determination.

HERE`S A REALLY IMPORTANT TIP!!! You don`t have to wait until you`re hopelessly deadlocked with the adjuster or insurance company to invoke the Appraisal Clause. The Appraisal procedure has been invoked more often by insurers, who have greater understanding of the terms and conditions of their policies. But you, the insured or policyholder, can do it any time.

I`m not suggesting that you become uncooperative. But occasionally, I talk to people who are having real difficulties with their adjuster or insurance company. Taking the claim to Appraisal sometimes stops all the drama.

In my experience as both an appraiser and an umpire, I`ve found that disputes can be resolved more quickly by appraisal than the resolution you might get with litigation. The cost of the appraisal process is also significantly lower that the cost of litigation.

Here`s what the Appraisal Clause reads in my Homeowner Insurance policy:

``If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will choose a competent appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written request from the other. The two appraisers will choose an umpire. If they cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we may request that the choice be made by a judge of a court of record in the state where the ``residence premises`` is located. The appraisers will separately set the amount of loss. If the appraisers submit an agreement to us, the amount agreed upon will be the amount of loss. If they fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to by any two will set the amount of loss.

Each party will:

a. pay its own appraiser, and

b. Bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.``

Each party appoints an independent, disinterested appraiser. In past experience, I`ve seen the insured or policyholder try to appoint the Public Adjuster who is handling his claim as the appraiser. This should never be done, as that PA is not a disinterested party.

The appraisers evaluate the loss independently. The appraisers can still negotiate and reach an agreed amount of the damages. But, if they cannot agree, they work together to choose a mutually acceptable umpire. If the two appraisers cannot agree on the selection of an umpire, either side may appeal to the local court for the appointment of someone to serve in that capacity.

An umpire must also be a disinterested party, and must be impartial, of good moral character and possessing a good reputation. He also must be willing to listen. No umpire should be chosen that has any financial interest in the outcome of the appraisal. Any other consideration other than the hourly rate of compensation for the umpire is not acceptable.

Once the umpire has been chosen, the appraisers each present their loss assessment. Often, this involves informal testimony from the parties involved in the claim. To help the umpire gain a more complete understanding of the details of the loss, the appraisers and the umpire sometimes meet at the loss location and review the loss details. The umpire will subsequently provide a written decision to both parties. If any two parties agree to the amount of the loss, that amount becomes the claim amount. However, if one of the parties does not agree, then the case can still be turned over to legal counsel for litigation.

Question: May the insured or insurer reject the other parties` choice of appraiser?

Answer: In 2005, the New York Department of Insurance issued a ruling on this question as follows:

``Whether an appraiser appointed by either of the parties is competent and disinterested (or ``independent``) is a question of fact for a jury and is outside the determination of this Department.``

ANOTHER TIP!! Notice that there are very specific time limits in the Clause. You MAKE SURE that you choose your appraiser and notify the adjuster within the time limit in your policy. The time limit for both appraisers to choose an umpire begins on the day that both sides choose their appraiser.

Watch very carefully to see if the insurance company and/or adjuster chooses their appraiser within that time limit. If they do not, they have violated the terms and conditions of their policy. You can file a complaint with your state`s Department of Insurance for Unfair Claims Practice violations.

My recommendation, in the event of an appraisal, is to call a Claims Consultant. You might also consider contacting a public adjusting company in your area. The Claims Consultant or PA know insurance policies, know the Appraisal Clause, and know property values. The Claims Consultant or PA are the perfect choices for helping you prove the values of the property of your claim.

Total Loss Vehicle Settlement – What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled

In our last post I explained how your insurance company would likely determine if your vehicle was a total loss from a covered accident. Understanding how your company makes this determination is important, however, understanding how they will value your car is even more important.

Once your car is determined to be a complete loss, the process that follows can be confusing. I wanted to provide some insight, from an insurer`s perspective, that can help you get through the total loss process should you ever find yourself in that situation.

It is important to remember that, if your car is deemed a total loss, your carrier has a duty and obligation to pay you the ACV (Actual Cash Value) or fair market value for your vehicle. Understanding that, we want to be sure you are armed with solid & reliable information in the unfortunate event you find yourself in this situation.

The Value or ACV process:

The ACV or Actual Cash Value of your vehicle is a term that is meant to demonstrate & prove what the fair market value of your vehicle is on the date of the accident. Your carrier will have your car inspected, noting all options & features as well as estimating the condition of the vehicle prior to the accident. Below is a short list of some of the main variables involved when determining the value of your car:

Year, make & model

Features or upgrades on the car from the manufacturer .Is there aftermarket equipment on the car & if there is, does it add or detract from the market value. Condition rating: estimate of the condition of the vehicle prior to the accident. Mileage (this, as we all know, can have a substantial impact on value).

Your insurance carrier will then use a 3rd party, such as CCC, to secure a fair market value for your car. Here is a short list of things that a 3rd party will look at when estimating the value:

All of the vehicle details noted above. Your zip code, which tells them exactly where you live. Comps: most insurance companies will require at least 2 solid comparative vehicles.

Note that where you live is important as vehicles can have different values based on where you live as the market (where you are) is what dictates what cars like yours would sell for at the time of the accident. Also note that the comps are how a price or value is determined as it is meant to convey what a vehicle like yours, same make/model/year, condition and features, would be worth in it`s pre-accident condition.

One question or issue that does come up at times is ``there aren`t any vehicles exactly like mine where I live, now what?`` In this scenario, most of the time the insurance company will then look for a vehicle that is a year newer than yours with similar features & in similar condition. It is usually not permitted to use an older vehicle as a comp in this case.

What if I don`t agree with the value?

This is most often one of the biggest challenges when trying to settle a total loss claim: I don`t agree with the valuation that my adjuster provided to me. It is ok, though, this happens frequently and if armed with good, accurate information, you can navigate your way through this. Here is how:

Request a copy of the valuation

Review the details and ensure it represents your vehicle: options, mileage, condition, etc.

If you feel the value is truly not accurate, do some research and find a few comps of your own, ensure they are accurate. Provide your supporting information to your carrier for consideration. If they don`t move, advise you are formally disputing the valuation. Request that your insurance company issues payment for the ``undisputed amount`` Secure your own independent valuation, your insurance company will get one of their own. The two of you will then come together and compare the valuations and reach a resolution.

I know, you now have a few more questions, thought you might. Let`s address those:

What do you mean by ``undisputed amount?`` You don`t want your claim halted and, if you have rental coverage and are in a rental car, most insurance companies will only extend rental for a few days after they have made an offer to you to settle your total loss. The undisputed amount example: Valuation comes in at $20,000 but feel your car has a market value of $24,000 but are not disputing it is worth at least the $20,000. So, you accept the $20,000 but continue with the process. This will not prevent you from collecting more money should it be supported but it does get you something right now.

If you dispute the value and go down that path, you will have to, at your own cost, have an independent market valuation completed on your car. There are some great companies out there to help you, such as

I highly recommend that you work directly with your insurance company directly to resolve a dispute like this. Remember, this is a negotiation based on some subjective supporting evidence and some objective information as well, such as the make, model, year and features. The insurance carriers want to settle your claim and will, most of the time, be reasonable and work with you to settle your claim.

In addition, I strongly suggest you review your policy before going down the dispute path so you understand exactly what your policy states as it relates to this type of claim. All policies and companies have differences, some subtle and some not. Your policy will be the guiding rule over your claim so it is important to understand what it says and what your rights are.

You can also refer to your state`s Department of Insurance site to see if your state has specific rules and laws as it relates to the handling of a first party total loss claim.

So, in summary, hopefully now you have a better understanding of how a value is obtained, you also have an idea on what you can do if you happen to disagree with the value. Just remember to be sure you are able to support your dispute in value with solid information if you want your company to consider your position. And, recall, this IS a negotiation so be calm and deliberate with your argument and information. I can almost guarantee it will lead to a fair resolution of your total loss claim.

Driving And Renting A Car In Costa Rica – 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Driving in Costa Rica is not for everyone. So make sure you know what you`re getting into before getting behind the wheel of a car in Costa Rica. The following are the 7 most frequently asked questions about driving in Costa Rica. These questions come in from my popular podcast about Costa Rica from folks from the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

1. What type of cars are available for rent?

Renting a car in Costa Rica is more expensive than in the U.S. so most people rent the smaller more compact cars that are a little cheaper.

Prices vary and during the high season you will pay more. Around $20 or more per day. Renting during Christmas/New Years will add another $50 or more per week. I looked at five car rental company cars in Costa Rica and the average for renting a small car like a Toyota Yaris will cost around $205 per week. Please note this doesn`t include the required by law insurance which will add at least $10-20 per day. So you`re looking at $250-300 to rent a small car per week.

You will find all the major car rental agencies in Costa Rica such as Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Budget, and others.

2. Is driving a good idea?

It depends. Driving in Costa Rica compared to other countries can be a very scary proposition for most. Costa Rica has one of the highest vehicle accident rates in the world. Traffic laws and speed limits are often ignored. Crazy and illegal turns across lanes of traffic are common. Turn signals are rarely used and dangerous passing is common. So you might driving on your lane when all of a sudden here comes a car in your lane going the wrong way because they`re passing on a blind spot. The roads are in poor condition, and large potholes which could cause serious damage to your car is common.

Although the road conditions in the beach areas are worse the actual driving isn`t as scary since there is less traffic and since the roads aren`t the best people tend to drive a little slower.

I like to have my own transportation so renting a car is something I like to do but it all depends on your comfort level. I`ve had friends and family who had never driven outside of the U.S. they found driving to be scary but a fun adventure. So just take it easy and slow and you will be fine. Don`t worry about the other drivers, just do your thing.

3. Do I need car rental insurance?

By law you will need the INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros) liability insurance regardless of your own car insurance coverage or credit card coverage. The insurance required by law is known as TPL, SLI, SLC or API. The cost ranges from $10-20 USD per day depending on the vehicle. This insurance only covers damages to other people, cars, or property. You will need to buy supplemental coverage to cover damages to the rental car or yourself. However your own car insurance policy or credit card might cover that so call your insurance agent at home before leaving for Costa Rica and ask him or her if your insurance policy covers you for damages in Costa Rica. You might also want to call your credit card issuer and ask them the same question. If your own policy covers you in Costa Rica you`re set and you don`t need the supplemental coverage. If they do not cover you, then I suggest taking out a supplemental policy offered by car rental agencies.

Optional-CDW or LDW – collision damage waiver which covers the cost of the car`s deductible amount which varies depending on the type of car and agency. The cost will range between $10-20 USD per day.

Optional-Zero Liability – This will reduce your liability to zero against theft and vandalism, for example, the cost for this insurance is between $5-20 USD per day depending on the agency and car.

As you can see the supplemental insurance cost can add up fast so it`s important that you check with your insurance agent and your credit card company since you might not even need the optional/supplemental coverage.

If your insurance agent gives you the thumbs up do me a favor and get it in writing! You don`t want any surprises.

4. What are car rental requirements in Costa Rica?

Requirements may vary depending on the car agency you use so check with them. Most require a valid driver`s license (one from your home state or country is fine), a valid passport with your entry stamp, the Costa Rica mandated liability insurance, and you must be at least 21 years of age.

5. Is it safe to drive at night?

The problem driving at night is not crime, it`s just the unsafe driving and poor road conditions which are compounded even worse when you have poor visibility. The roads are not lit up well and it gets pitch dark after 6:00 PM making it unsafe to drive for an inexperienced driver.

6. What are road conditions like?

The road conditions are very poor compared to the super highways of the United States or the Autobahn in Germany. Drivers have to contend with unsafe driving habits of motorists, huge potholes, and even the highway is a two-lane road. The roads get worse during the rainy season since road washouts from the mudslides from the mountains are common.

7. What side of the road do they drive on in Costa Rica?

On the right hand side, like in the U.S. and Canada.

One final tip

Make a copy of the profile page of your passport and your entry stamp and carry that with you along with your car rental papers. You might get stopped by police and you will need to show this to them. Do no carry your passport with you just make copies.

The Costa Rican government now allows you to carry copies instead of your actual passport.

Accident Fault – How Do Claim Adjusters Determine Liability?

Accident Fault is decided by the insurance company, not by the police officer that answered to the scene. Police officers police reports and statements are considered evidence, and they can ``persuade`` the insurance companies regarding fault.

If the police department does not determine fault, then who and how is this determined? Usually there are at least two parties or drivers involved in a car accident, and usually they have insurance. In this case, both insurance companies will handle the claim for their insureds. They would negotiation between each other and will settle for what they believe is it is fair.

Insurance companies must follow certain format to determine fault. They must look at the negligence of each driver and then attribute percentages of fault. The first step is a negligence analysis. Insurance adjusters must look at every driver`s duties, breaches, causation, and damages. All four elements must be met, and if one of them is missing, then that driver was not at fault. If all four exist, then the driver was at fault, but how much still needs to be decided.

To determine accident fault, insurance companies will look at the ``driver duty``. Every person behind the wheel of a car assumes driver duties. It does not matter if you have a license or no, it does not matter if you are an adult or a toddler. The law will place affirmative duties in every driver for purposes of accident fault. But exactly what duties are attributed to every driver? Usually they are ``lookout, avoidance, and following the rules of the road``.

Look out is simply paying attention. Every driver must be attentive to what is going around him/her. So when the adjuster asks you ``did you see them coming`` your answer better be ``yes``. If you do not see another vehicle and you had the visibility to do see them, then you will have probably breach this duty.

Avoidance is exactly that. You must attempt to avoid the accident. The fact that another car is at fault, or has done something illegal does not give the driver license to hit them. For example, if a vehicle pulls out of a stop sign, the driver approaching must try to avoid the accident. No evasive accident could be strong evidence of negligence against the vehicle that had the right of way.

Following the rules of the road is the obvious one for accident fault. You must be in full compliance with all the traffic laws that apply to the accident. The traffic laws are codified in all states in the state annotated code or the administrative code (the name changes per state). If you are speeding, you can be found some percentage at fault for the damages.

The next step in determining accident fault is breach. This means that the duties outlined about must have been ``broken``. If you did not breach any duty, you cannot possibly be found at fault.

But the accident fault analysis does not stop there. The insurance adjuster must then show causation. Most insurance companies go over this step very fast. It is a very important element because it could causation will amount as a defense to negligence. Causation is the relationship between the duty breached and the ultimate damages.

For example, let us assume that Driver is legally parked in a parking lot. Let us further assume that Driver is legally drunk in the driver`s seat and that the engine is running while someone pulls out of a parking stall and hits Driver`s car. Is Driver negligent? The answer for purposes accident fault is NO. The fact that Driver was drunk did not cause the accident. There was not casual connection between the fact that Driver was dunk and that a vehicle came and hit his/her car while waiting. For more information about causation visit

The last step is damages. Damages must exist either as property damage or as a bodily injury. The important thing to remember is that all damages must be related to the duty breach. In other words, if you have back pain and a headache, the analysis explained above will be applied twice (one time for the back pain and one time for the headache).