Every day, I drive through the intersection.
And every time I do, I cringe inwardly. If I could shut my eyes I would; if I could somehow take another route, or another street, I would. But I think of my two precious boys in the back, and drive on with conviction.
It’s been almost two years since I was hit in the intersection just seconds from my home. But I remember every detail like it was yesterday: While returning from a weekday morning grocery trip, a driver – chatting away on her cell phone – ran a red light and t-boned me. My car? A write-off. My injuries? Relatively minor, but months of physiotherapy followed. My saving grace? Both boys were at home with Grandma, allowing me to make the quick trip on my own. Had Ryder or Reid been in the car with me, I’m not sure how differently the story would have played out.
I blogged about my experience last year – calling it a Public Service Announcement – Don’t Dial and Drive.
Of course, after the ordeal, one of the most frequently asked questions was: “Was your insurance company good to you?” It’s front of mind when speaking to an accident victim, because no one wants to hear that someone has had a rough time with their claim. Back then, because I was trying to make my way through the paperwork, and the pain from the accident – I really couldn’t provide an objective assessment. But now I’m ready to post another PSA of sorts; that is, a reminder about the importance insurance. Trust me, when you need it, you’ll be glad it’s there.
First and foremost, choose your insurance company wisely. Sometimes, believe it or not, it’s not about who will give you the best rate. Read consumer testimonials, ask your friends and family, and research a company well before you sign on the dotted line. My advice is to partner with a company you have an existing relationship with, such as a bank, because at the very least you have some assurance of the insurer’s reputation. Plus, in case things don’t play out smoothly, you have leverage – if you choose to walk, they’ll be losing your business on more than one account.
Second, know that YES, you really do need it. Insurance is one of those things that you can’t really appreciate until it’s time to collect. Thinking about the multiple items I had claimed for – a new car, replacement car seats, physiotherapy, massage treatments – none of that would have been made possible without the help of the insurance company. In my personal experience, everything was delivered swiftly and with ease, making the ordeal somewhat more manageable.
Next, make sure your insurance is tailored for you and your lifestyle. Read the fine print; if you commute 50KM every day for business but have signed on as a “pleasure driver”, your coverage may be affected should you be involved in an accident while on the job. Make sure your coverage is specific to you, and don’t be afraid to inquire or make changes if necessary. Insurance companies are not mind readers, and only YOU know what coverage is best.
Finally, if you do have to make a claim, become best friends with your adjuster. This is the person who is assigned to take care of everything you’ll need, and no question is too silly. Trust me, just ask. During my claim, I spoke to my adjuster no less than 20 times, chatting about what the next steps were, “what if” scenarios, how and when the forms would be filled out – there were just so many details to go through. A good adjuster will also provide information about the things you may not have considered – such as loss of wages, help with housework, and other tangible benefits offered to you as part of your package.
Now would be a great time to review your current insurance needs and make sure they match the coverage you’ve got in place. My insurance claim was pretty much seamless (thank goodness!) – which I can attribute to using a company I know and trust, having the right insurance in place, and extensive communication with the company after the fact.
Although… I hope I’ll never need to make a claim again! Insurance is one of those things best left in the background, wouldn’t you agree?
Find out what your insurance company can do for you. Visit http://getintheknow.ibc.ca/Insurance-Explained.aspx.
Although this post has been sponsored by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect the Insurance Bureau of Canada.