Understanding Payment Plans

 

Insurance companies offer a variety of ways of paying for insurance premiums, from payments coming directly out of your account or credit card every month to paying your premium in four installments.

Each company has its own payment formats and procedures.

It’s important to remember when you secure insurance; you are entering into a legally binding contract. Insurance is not a commodity like merchandise.  Unless you have purchased an extended warranty on a product, or it has a 30 or 60-day warranty, the transaction usually ends at the point of sale.

Insurance, on the other hand, is an investment into a product, a service,  and a means of recovery when there is an insurable loss.  But there is a contract involved, between you and the insurance company. Payment and keeping payments in good standing is a condition of your contract.

Failure to pay means that you have reneged your end of the contract.  You are telling the insurance company you no longer require the insurance.

We find that many lack understanding why it is a very serious issue if you are delayed in paying or miss a payment.

It is not because insurance companies are unsympathetic or cold.  They have a responsibility towards the public, shareholders and their regulatory body to have proper accounting and money management procedures in place.

It’s crucial to realize that it is very costly when people default on paying their premiums.

To look at it in a straightforward way, insurance is a pool of money that comes from insurance premiums and investments into a pot to be there for people in the event there is a claim.

Ask yourself:  What happens to the pool of money if people are defaulting on their insurance?

Therefore it is vital to understand the terms of  agreement with payment plans.

What happens if I miss a payment?  Is there a fee? Does my bank charge a fee? Our insurers charge an NSF Fee if the payment comes back because there is an insufficient amount of money in the bank.  This may not be the case if an account is frozen.  And banks charge a fee.  Fees vary from company to company, but it can cost you close to over $100 if not more for a one time NSF event when you add up the fee a bank and the insurance company charges.

How much time does my insurance company require to change of bank information or if I need to change my draw date?  This all depends on the insurance company.  Calling in or visiting the office the same day as your payment comes out will not work.  Some companies need a week or two; some require a few days.

If I missed a payment, should I come in right away with the payment?  Contact your broker first; some companies will do a double the next month with an NSF fee; some have procedures in place where they will try to pull out the payment again.  Always contact your broker first.  

Consider the repercussions of cancellations for non-pay and missed payments on your insurance profile:

  • Insurance companies track how many times in your renewal term you have defaulted on your payment.  If you have exceeded the times allowable, it can result in the removal from the automatic payment plan option,  and you may have to pay the remaining premium in full to reinstate.
  • People who have a history of cancellations for non-payment will pay more for their insurance.
  • You may end up in a non-standard auto insurance market resulting in even more costly insurance premiums.
  • If you default and are cancelled by an insurance company and attempt go to another brokerage for insurance, the broker will ask for proof that you have paid any outstanding balances.
  • Any cancellations for non-payment of an insurance policy that you do not resolve will be noted in your insurance history.
  • Insurance companies can be stringent concerning defaulting on payments with property policies.  One NSF can result in a Registered Letter of Cancellation, and your broker may have to contact the company to see if they agree to reinstate your policy.

Contact our office if you have more questions about the terms of agreement of your payment plan.