I've started this thread to allow posts of information and experiences, good & bad, regarding insurance and insurance companies. I chose this "Suppliers" forum because it is a service we all use. -- Capt. Mike"
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-28-2008 at 07:21 AM.
For those of us you have 'antique' Westies, you should be aware of special antique car insurance. Antique insurance is generally available on vehicles 25 years old or older that are used primarily for show, parades and limited personal use. All are going to forbid any use for work or school, usually even as a "backup". Most will have limits on mileage. Each company's requirements vary.
In many states, there is a special antique rates through your regular policy. In almost all instances, the agents either don't know or don't suggest it because it cuts premiums and thus their commission. You have to demand it. Consult your state Insurance Commission to see if such rates are approved. Companies don't have to offer it, but most will have it tucked away in the rate book if it's in the Utilities Commission rate structure.
Another consideration is 'declared value' coverage. This is where you establish (through appraisals) a value and pay the premium accordingly. This insures they don't 'total out' your Westy for some unreasonable average value out of the book when something happens. Since most states require a company to total out a vehicle when the repair exceeds a certain percentage of market value, you may find yourself totaled out even when the repairs are below market value. Again, company requirements will vary.
There are a number of specialty companies. Most of these underwrite at a rate well below regular companies. Pick up a copy of Hemmings Motor News and there will be many agents and underwriters listed in the "Services" section. Grundy and Taylor are two of the biggest.
Each will also have their own requirements and standards. Some are show & parade use only. Most have a mileage restriction, typically 2,500 miles per year. Many will demand appraisals and photos.
Not all will be licensed to provide coverage in your state, and many will be licensed only to provide comprehensive & collision, not liability. State requirements to underwrite liability are very difficult and some companies or agents will decide it's not worth the effort. In these cases you may be able to place your liability with your regular carrier and your collision & comprehensive with the specialty carrier.
Is it worth while? For some, especially those that are restoring a Westy and will use it only for limited events. I currently pay about one-fourth the premium for my 3 antiques through Grundy than for my 3 drivers even though the insured value of the antiques is higher than the 3 drivers.
My own Westy is too new ('90) and too high a mileage per year for antique coverage; I also use it for purposes that would probably be outside the "limited personal use" category. But the old VW Bug ('69) is under antique coverage as its mileage is limited and never gets used for restricted uses. Although it's a future project for restoration, right now it's still 'unrestored driver' class.
This might be a way to get at least comprehensive (fire/theft & vandalism) coverage on a project Westy in storage for a reasonable rate.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-28-2008 at 07:21 AM.
Well, the trial is over -- me vs. Integon Insurance. We won. About triple the amount of outstanding unpaid damages. They were abley represented by a one-man law firm whose office was a converted condo and shares a fax machine with a guy down the hall. I mean the guys socks didn't even match. Scruffy half-soled shoes and briefcase falling apart. The only thing I didn't get was the lost time which I only put in to PO them after they became such horses asses. The lawyer might be #101 but I bet he's OJ's Johnny Cockroach when they finish with the billing hours. I did my own since it was in Magistrate's Court.
For those that missed it in the chat room, I got rear-ended while making a right-hand turn with signals on, broad daylight. I was driving Redneck Pickemup Truck, a Dodge Ram 2500HD diesel. My exhaust pipe did a cookie-cutter through his grill. I got a bent bumper and trailer hitch, dent in the RR quarter rocker, and a busted back-up light. The guy that hit me was totaled; he basically ran up underneath.
Integon left out several items, I'm sure intentionally, when the UNLICENSED appraiser did her estimate. They also specified non-standard aftermarket parts despite the numerous court rulings that this practice is illegal. Refused to pay for the accessories and temporary repairs. When I complained, they told me to sue them. So I did.
After I filed the suit, they paid for some more repairs, but still not all. Come the day before trial, at 4:35PM, they asked for a continuance without notifying me. Fortunately, I had an in at the courthouse who told me. Second trial was today, March 13th, 2000.
Why would a company send a lawyer from out-of-town to defend a case smaller than the lawyer's fee that they have almost no chance of winning? I mean the guy that hit me got two tickets and he was a deputy sheriff! Do they figure most people will give up and they'll come out ahead in the long run? I know the driver was so PO'ed at his own insurance company, he's changing companies. He didn't like getting named as co-defendent in a suit that's his own company's fault.
So, if you're insured by Integon, please don't hit me. [FYI: Integon is one of the GMAC insurance companies.]
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-28-2008 at 07:22 AM.
Transferred from another post to consolidate similar topics.
Insurance in Mexico for 1981 or older Westy
Jane Junior Member # 2049 posted 09-18-2001 09:48 AM
I have discovered that I can only purchase liability insurance for my 1974 Westfalia when driving in Mexico because it is more than 20 years old and is not listed in the Kelley Blue Book. I am very concerned about this and not sure if I will even go down any more (after extensive planning!!) Does anyone have any suggestions for what they have done in similar situations or any experiences with this matter? Any advice is much appreciated. firstname.lastname@example.org
9-19-01 Addendum: I just wanted to clarify that my insurance agent for Canada and the US is not the problem (I live in Canada). They have an adjuster figure out fair market price and definately do not use the Kelley Blue Book. The problem is
insurance for Mexico. Any Canadian or American insurance package is not valid when you cross the border to Mexico. You have to have Mexican insurance. It is through these Mexican insurance agents that I have not been able to find anything more than liability insurance. I'm wondering if anyone has actually insured their VW in Mexico for driving there? I am planning a 2 month camping trip through Baja and some mainland.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 11-28-2008 at 11:57 AM.
I think there is some failure to disclose the normal border crossing scenario. It's not logical that that NO American or Canadian company can underwrite Mexico travel. Hundreds of thousands cross the border daily and I doubt the regulars are "uninsured." Probably, like entering Canada, you have to take out a supplement or obtain proof of meeting Mexican law, but get it through your agent or broker.
Insurance for other than liability, i.e. collision and comprehensive, is based on the value of the vehicle. Kelly Blue Book is NOT the only valuation book and is not even accepted much outside the late-model dealer network. In fact, I bet if your insurance company did not want to insure you, they'd find some other book doesn't carry it.
The site has good discussions of valuation and the use of these books elsewhere. Read them. Old Car Price Guide DOES carry your older Westy with not just a valuation, but a graded SET of valuations based on condition. Further, it is accepted by many states (for taxes), insurance companies and the courts.
You may have to get a fair market appraisel done, but even then I suspect your insurance company will find some other excuse. Furthermore, all insurance companies have a 'declared value' rate where you pay based upon an agreed and established valuation, such as the professional appraisals. Some have an antique auto rate, though that often brings mileage and travel restrictions. That they are hiding the many options indicates they have some other motive.
If your agent says that he can only insure vehicles in the Kelly Blue Book, take him a copy of Old Car Price Guide (when you fire him & company) showing him the value of a '74 Westy is between $700 (junker only good for parts stripping) and $17,500 for a show-condition restoration. And remind him that OCPG is conservative -- most pull higher than their graded value. Something he can verify by scanning any of the VW specialty classifieds or Hemming Motor News.
I'd also file a complaint with your state or province's insurance commission. It won't do any good in the sense the insurance company has the right to refuse to insure whoever they chose, but it builds a file of arbitrary service and discrimination against them and makes them respond and justify their actions on record. Since it's the company brass that has to respond, they may not like having to cover for an idiot agent or district underwriter.
Back to whoever is claiming they won't underwrite you in Mexico, please give us the name so that the rest of us may know of and hopefully not use such a company. I don't plan any trips to Mexico, but I sure expect my company to underwrite coverage.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-28-2008 at 07:23 AM.
In a nutshell, DON'T. Crooked as a snake.
I was cleaning the office the other day and moving some ancient files into long-term storage. One was a NC Insurance Commission complaint with NC Farm Bureau Insurance.
First: Ethics. They were quick to sell me insurance. Only AFTER I had bought the policy, did they inform me that I also had to join the Farm Bureau -- a dues requiring organization. Left over from the days when they were primarily farm insurers, I'm sure, but now that they sell more non-farm policies, they sort of 'forget' to tell the customers.
Second: I had one claim. I was parked, left side to the curb, when someone struck the upper left quarter panel about 3½ feet above the ground with something made of wood. A pretty clear cut case of vandalism. That it was in an area of high kid traffic adds to the assumption. Several where seen with wooden objects by dozens of people.
They refused to pay, claiming that the accident was a "collision between two objects," and would then come under collision where I have a $500 deductible, instead of under comprehensive (fire/theft/vandalism) where I didn't have a deductible. When I refused to accept their position, they then fabricated -- about 2 months after the incident -- a report stating the damage was apparently from running into something and my fault. The report writer never said a thing ON TAPE during the investigation. This was a WITNESSED event where witnesses saw the vehicle without damage with no movement in between.
They also cancelled my policy because I was a trouble-maker, not that I'd want to do business with a company that lies through its teeth anyway. Obviously, I then cancelled the homeowners, umbrella liability, antique/jewelry and other policies. They saved $550 in claims; they lost 3 thousand a year in premiums. Never found time to haul their butts into court but I sure won't do business with them and if you're ever hit by a policy holder, put everything on tape, in writing AND have it checked by a lawyer.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-28-2008 at 07:25 AM.
Service Contracts & Extended Warranties
The extended warranties & service contracts on new vehicles, and even used, are insurance contracts. And subject to the same considerations, exclusions and procedures.
There are two basic types, the manufacturer's and a dealer or aftermarket. The manufacturer's will usually be serviced by authorized dealers. The aftermarket is typically limited to the seller's facilities and those with which he has a contract or otherwise 'pre-approves.'
You will often find dealers that will strongly push their own or private contracts because of the huge profit margin. I had one of the Rick Hendricks (huge chain) dealerships REFUSE to sell me the factory warranty. They would only sell their Mickey Mouse 'house' warranty.
The fine print and exclusions are many and I strongly suggest you understand ALL of them. Few honor what is covered by any other procedures such as new car warranty or federal recalls. Thus you may be in a fight between the two.
Most attempt to exclude almost everything that are wear or appearance items. Thus these items must be found and repaired under the new car warranty as the extended warranties don't kick in until all other resources are exhausted and will NOT pick up what the new car warranty SHOULD have covered but didn't get done.
Coverage is only as good as the servicing dealer and recourses are even fewer than with a new car. Most states have Lemon Laws to help with a new car, but they do not apply to extended warranties. You are almost always stuck with the hassle of solving conflicts through your state's Consumer Protection Division or in Court.
Since most repairs will fall under the Small Claims limits, this is a viable option and does not require an attorney. But it does require you know & understand the contract and exclusions. It will also demand a strong burden of proof -- repair orders, letters, photos of the before & after of repairs and witnesses. I suggest you write out your repair requests and attach them to the RO rather than let the dealer 'write up' what he wants. When you sign, write in "Per Attached."
If you don't get reasonable attention and attempts to diagnose, get a shop manual and mark the items to see if they have even followed shop procedures. A little dab of paint on a screw or catch will tell you if they even opened the item in question up for examination. Record the mileage in & out (using 10th feature on the trip odometer). You may find they didn't even bother to test drive the vehicle for diagnosis or after to test repairs.
A common 'defense' is that you didn't give them opportunity. Check your state's Lemon Law and duplicate the clauses there. Courts are likely to look on that favorably as to reasonable attempts. (Our's requires 3 visits or 15 days after formal notification.) Also notify the contract issuer via certified letter, return reciept, in the manner your Lemon Law requires. Often the contract does not accept notifying the dealer as proper notification.
Check for arbitration clauses. They can be an advantage, but on the other hand, mandatory arbitration may also be a stumbling block to getting on to Court. Filing small claims is typically in the $50 range, but some arbitration has buried costs. Again, read the fine print!
I'm not a big fan of extended warranties. Like most insurance, it preys on the poor. If you can't afford to underwrite a big repair or loss, then you may be forced to pay the smaller and spaced out 'premium' cost. If you can afford a major repair, then the extended warranties are rarely cost effective. Yes, there are people who get a $4,000 reman engine under a $2,000 policy. But for every one of those, there are dozens that had nothing more than a collection of little repairs that totaled less than half the premium.
You also have to consider the mileage/time ratio. If you are a high mileage driver, you'll run out of mileage long before time. In the Dodge, I hit the 100,000 mile limit with a good 2 years to go. On the other hand, if you are a low mileage driver, the chances of a defect occuring drop considerably so you may run out of time before you get into the high risk miles.
Remember, it is insurance. They are gambling you will not require major covered repairs (or will void the contract) before it expires. And for this gamble, they will expect premiums that exceed payouts -- probably by the insurance industry average of 40-60%! With the huge commissions & markup in the auto industry, I'd expect it to exceed the 100% range. All the while also earning even more money by investing your premiums. So please examine your own finances, reserves, alternatives and ability to absorb a major repair. Also look at your car-buying pattern. If you trade often, the riskier late periods of an extended warranty may never kick in. Spending the money on a very dilgent maintenance program may pay a better dividend. See the maintenance check-off list I use for my Vanagon as an example -- posted on the tech drawings link.
I can tell you one that has proven not worth the paper it's printed on. A Daimler-Chrysler factory extended service contract. We did the full round in court; they lost! I eventually got a full refund of the entire premium. But they played the stall game with me, denying repairs assuming I wouldn't take them to court. Even told me to go ahead and sue when I did the formal certified letter to the CEO. (Wish granted, lady!) They gambled I wouldn't and lost. But for every one that will fight them, there are dozens more that won't or can't.
I'd presume that applies to all of their other subsidiaries and partners, too. Daimler-Benz (We know!), Freightliner, Mistubishi and Hyundai. But IF you feel you can't risk not having the extended warranty, you'd still probably be better off with the manufacturer's.
Do remember, prices are negotiable. There is a huge dealer profit margin & commission built-in. You typically have a period after purchase of a new car to obtain one, so shop around between dealers. Not buying with the new car may convince them you're going to be a hard sell and make them more willing to negotiate.
Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-28-2008 at 07:26 AM.
I use American Collectors Insurance Inc. in Cherry Hill, NJ 856-779-7212.
They are brokers of: American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida
You need to show proof of a primary vehicle. Deep discount for 20 yr. old vehicles, deeper discounts for 25+ vehicles. Both vehicles are insured for 20K each. Photos necessary.
Allows for trips to shows, events, educational purposes, exhibition. I believe both vehicles cost under $150.00 for the year, very cheap for NJ. (not each, all together!)
Not sure where this is available, but they have been good over the past 10 years.
'78 SB Conv
'74 SB Auto-stick
Transferred to consolidate same topic.
Pat Generic Member posted July 07, 2002 07:55 PM
Maybe someone could point us in the right direction or refer us to some archived info? We were concerned that the "book value" of our '89 Westy camper would be too low if (gasp!)something really bad happened to our "baby", so we called our insurance lady about increasing coverage. She suggested we start with an appraisal, then said we would probably qualify for "antique" rates since the camper style like ours is no longer made. I thought an auto had to be at least 25 years old for antique status, but maybe I was wrong. Is there anyone out there with some info on this, along with any ideas regarding having the van appraised? Thanks for your help.
alexdolpp Junior Member posted October 08, 2002 11:59 PM
I just bought my first 1990 vanagon camper today! Yeah!
Can I insure the bus as a RV, does it make it cheaper? Advantages / Disadvantages?
Please send me a mail (email@example.com) if you can help me.
powderhippie Junior Member posted October 09, 2002 01:48 AM
Check AAA if your in California - cheapest I've ever seen anywhere and great service too. I only had $275 a year liability coverage on my old 83.5 Westy when my drivers side rear tire flew off North of San Francisco on the 101 flying into the Southbound lanes causing a horrible accident (mechanic forgot to properly secure axle nut and no cotter pin), yet AAA covered all of them and my rates never increased! Welcome to the community! Tom.