Who is Merchants Insurance?
According to their LinkedIn account, Merchants Insurance offers its products and services in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and North Central United States. AM Best Company gave the insurer an A- or excellent rating. Merchants Insurance was established in 1918.
Merchants Insurance’s Address, Phone Number, and Contact Information
Merchants Insurance’s office is 250 Main Street, Buffalo, New York 14202. You may reach Merchants Insurance’s line through these numbers: 800-462-1077 or 716-849-3235. Their website is https://www.merchantsgroup.com/.
Merchants Insurance Overview
Merchants Insurance is a property and casualty insurer. Merchants Insurance Group is actually composed of Merchants Mutual Insurance Company, Merchants Preferred Insurance Company, and Merchants National Insurance Company. Independent agents help distribute the company’s products and services in their respective communities in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Merchants Insurance’s auto coverages are available for personal and business requirements. Their personal line includes collision coverage; comprehensive coverage; property damage liability; bodily injury liability; medical payment; uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverages and others.
Introduction about car insurance
After a car accident, you are likely experiencing many different emotions and thoughts. You may be angry, scared, and shocked, as well as wondering if you and other passengers are injured and how much the damage will cost, among other things. Car insurance is a solution intended to protect you and your property financially. Without car insurance, you would have to pay the total cost of the accident out-of-pocket.
By paying your monthly car insurance premiums, you are protecting yourself from bearing the brunt of a future car accident. There are many different types of plans that you can purchase from your insurance company to best accommodate your budget and needs. Above all, it is important to remember that your insurance company typically works in your best interest and is willing to help you recover from your accident through financial assistance that they are meant to provide.
Unfortunately, this may not always be the case, but we are here to ensure that your rights and finances are protected after a traumatic event like a car accident.
What is car insurance?
Simply put, car insurance is an agreement between you and your insurance company where they essentially assist you in paying for any damage to you or your car in the event that an accident happens. This may be a car accident, car theft, a natural disaster, or other similar types of accident.
A car insurance deductible is the portion of the money that you pay out-of-pocket to cover repairs or damages. Your insurance company covers the remainder of the damages after you pay your deductible. A higher deductible means that you will have a lower premium, but also that you are paying more money out-of-pocket for damages. You pay a premium to the insurance company every month or six months in exchange for their financial protection in the event of an accident. This premium can be higher for clients that are deemed higher-risk, meaning that they get into more accidents over time.
But, what your insurance company is able to pay for depends on the policies that you choose to purchase to protect yourself which are typically renewable after six months or one year. There are some policies that are mandatory in each state, such as Illinois mandating liability coverage. While there are many different types of insurance coverages suited for different people and their situations, three primary types of coverage options include the following:
- Comprehensive coverage - This helps to pay for vehicle damages from factors out of your control such as theft or natural disaster. It also may help you replace your car.
- Liability coverage - This coverage is mandatory for all registered vehicles in Illinois. Liability coverage protects you if you are the at-fault driver. It consists of bodily injury liability to pay for medical expenses and property damage liability to pay for the other car’s repairs.
- Collision coverage - This type of insurance helps to pay for property damage or vehicle damage that you may experience after a car accident.
What is the minimum car insurance in Illinois?
Each state requires a minimum amount of car insurance coverage for each registered vehicle. In Illinois, you are required to have $20,000 in property damage coverage, which covers the cost of damage to the other driver’s car in an accident as well as other types of property damage. You are also required to have $25,000 in liability insurance for the injury or death of one person and $50,000 in liability insurance for the injury or death of more than one person in an accident. Illinois considers these amounts to be the bare minimum requirements for each driver to carry on the road.
Is Illinois a PIP state?
Personal injury protection coverage, also referred to as PIP, is a type of car insurance that can help to pay for your medical expenses after a car accident. It may also cover lost wages and other costs that may follow a car accident for you as well as your passengers. PIP coverage has its limits, though. So, when the damages exceed the PIP limit, you may have to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for the remainder of the damages. 12 states and Puerto Rico have no-fault auto insurance laws, or are considering PIP states. Illinois is not a PIP state.
Is Illinois a no-fault insurance state?
Illinois is not a no-fault insurance state. No-fault insurance states require drivers that have been in a car accident to file a claim with their own insurance company, even if the other driver caused it. No-fault states require drivers to buy PIP insurance to pay for an accident, while Illinois has the at-fault driver pay for the other driver’s damages.
What auto insurance coverage is required in Illinois?
Auto insurance coverage is essential to every driver on the road in order to protect other drivers on the road, as well as yourself, in the event of an accident. It helps drivers to avoid having to pay exorbitant out-of-pocket costs when an accident does happen. For Illinois, the state requires that every driver carries bodily injury/liability insurance of at least $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for more than one person after an accident, as well as $20,000 in property damage coverage. These three coverages are mandatory in order to financially protect yourself and others on the road.
In addition, Illinois requires that every insurance company sells the option of uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). You are required to purchase these options with limits equal to your bodily injury/liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage can help to pay for your medical expenses in the event that the other at-fault driver does not have car insurance to cover you. Underinsured motorist coverage can cover your bodily injury costs when the other at-fault driver has insurance that does not fully cover those costs. Then, your insurance company can pay the remainder of the costs that the other driver’s insurance cannot cover.
Unfortunately, there are still some uninsured motorists on the road. When you get in an accident with one, these two types of insurance can be very helpful, which is why it must be offered in Illinois.
What is considered full coverage insurance in Illinois?
Full coverage insurance helps to pay for your vehicle’s damages after a car accident or another type of event. This means that it includes two types of coverage: collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage protects you after an accident with another car or object to pay for repairs to your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage protects you after an event unrelated to a car accident, such as a natural disaster, a fire, or vandalism.
Essentially, after you pay your deductible after an accident, your insurance company will cover the remainder of the cost of your damages until the other driver’s insurance pays on the claim that you filed. Illinois does not require its drivers to purchase full coverage insurance.
How does car insurance work in Illinois?
Each state has its own rules and guidelines, such as mandatory coverage or minimum coverage, for their drivers. In Illinois we have three mandatory minimum amounts of insurance:
- $20,000 for property damage coverage after an accident
- $25,000 for bodily injury coverage for the injury or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury coverage for the injury or death of more than one person in an accident
In addition to these mandatory amounts, it is mandatory for insurance companies to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. These protect you if you are in an accident with a driver who carries no insurance or not enough insurance to cover your damages, respectively. It is important to know that every liability insurance policy automatically includes uninsured motorist coverage. If you are found to be driving without car insurance in Illinois, the minimum fine amount is $500. The penalties can increase in severity from the first time being caught.
Illinois is a “fault” state, which means that the at-fault driver in a car accident is responsible for paying the cost of the damages for anyone that was harmed. The driver who was not at-fault can file a claim with their insurance company, file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, or file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. An attorney can help you decide which choice is most likely to work out in your favor.
Is collision coverage required in Illinois?
The state of Illinois requires certain minimum amounts of bodily injury/liability coverage and property damage coverage. Collision coverage is not required for drivers in Illinois. Collision coverage helps to pay for repairs to your car after a car accident. You have to pay up to a certain amount called a deductible, and the insurance company will cover the rest of the cost through this type of coverage. For instance, if you are in an accident where the repairs to your vehicle will cost $5,000 and your deductible is $1,000, you must pay the $1,000 out-of-pocket, and your insurance will pay for the remaining $4,000.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
Consider if you are driving like any normal day, but suddenly, another driver hits you from behind in a car accident. After you collect yourself, check for injuries to yourself and your passengers, and look over your car for damages, you try to get the other driver’s insurance information. However, they do not have any car insurance. This is where uninsured motorist coverage (UM) comes in.
UM covers you in the scenario of any bodily injury or death that a driver carrying no insurance causes, as well as in a hit-and-run accident. It can help you pay for the medical expenses that you require to treat yourself after the accident. Every insurance company in Illinois is mandated to offer this type of coverage to its customers and you are required to purchase UM with limits equal to your bodily injury/liability coverage.
What is under-insured motorist coverage?
Slightly different from the scenario above is when the at-fault driver has insurance that does not fully cover the costs of your bodily injury. This is when underinsured motorist coverage comes in handy as UIM covers the cost of medical expenses after the car accident. In this case, your insurance company can pay the remainder of the costs that the other driver’s insurance cannot cover for your medical expenses. If you purchase UMC above its minimum limit, then you would be covered for UIM as well.
What is Medical Payment Coverage and do I need it?
Medical payment coverage, also known as MedPay, is a part of your auto insurance policy that can help you pay for any medical expenses or funeral expenses associated with a car accident. MedPay can cover you and your vehicle’s passengers as opposed to the other motorist. However, it still has policy limits like any other type of coverage, so it is important to factor in the potential cost of medical expenses that could occur after an accident.
Despite having health insurance, some health insurance policies will not cover the costs associated with a car accident. In cases like these, MedPay could be a great help for you financially so that you are not paying totally out-of-pocket for a hospitalization.
On the other hand, PIP coverage can cover other treatments, such as rehabilitation, besides your hospitalization. Since Illinois does not require PIP, MedPay could be a good alternative to cover your medical expenses after an accident for those that do not have PIP as part of their auto insurance. For those who do have PIP coverage, MedPay can supplement the cost if you have reached your PIP limit. Since PIP offers more services to be covered, you may be able to use MedPay for direct medical costs and then use PIP for rehabilitation. It is up to you depending on what you believe best fits your budget and the risk that you are willing to take on.
Car Insurance Shopping Guide
When getting started on buying auto insurance, there are some helpful tips to keep in mind so that you can best financially protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Create an outline or idea of what coverage you require in Illinois and what additional coverage you may want to purchase. The minimum requirements for Illinois drivers are $20,000 for property damage coverage, $25,000 for bodily injury for the injury or death of one person in an accident, and $50,000 for bodily injury coverage for the injury or death of more than one person in an accident. You may want to add on other types of coverage such as PIP, comprehensive coverage, or others. This should fit your budget, lifestyle, and needs.
- Shop around carefully. After you have an idea of what types of coverage you are looking for, look at different companies that offer them so that you can find the best prices that make sense. These should be licensed and well-reviewed companies within your price range.
- Find an insurance agent that you can trust. Licensed insurance agents are the key to understanding and purchasing auto insurance. Find one that is accessible, qualified, and preferably one that you have heard good reviews of.
- When completing your application, be honest. The information that you will provide on this application is very significant in how you will be evaluated by the company and it could affect your coverage options. They are able to detect dishonesty, and if they do, they will certainly not accept your application.
Filing an Auto Claim
After a car accident, one option that you have is to file an auto claim, either with your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.
After any type of accident, you must call the police and make sure you have a police report stating the situation and the damages, as well as taking any measures to prevent any further damage to the vehicle.
When you file a claim with your own insurance company, commonly referred to as a “first-party claim,” they will begin an investigation of how the situation occurred so that they know if and what they need to pay for. You should provide them with any legal or official documents related to the accident, such as a police report, as well as any other documents that they may request. In Illinois, insurance companies are required to get back to you within 21 days after you report your losses.
In terms of replacing parts or the vehicle, your insurance will not replace things with newer or better models; if they cannot find your older model, they will use a new one and you will have to pay the difference. To value your vehicle, your insurance will consult official or computerized sources to determine its retail value. Your insurance company will deduct your deductible amount (if you chose one) from your settlement each time you submit a claim. If by the end, you and your company cannot agree after negotiating on the amount of your physical damage loss, either of you can request an appraisal.
When filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, commonly referred to as a “third-party claim,” they will begin an investigation to determine if their insured was responsible for the injuries and damages or not. If they were, then you will receive a settlement amount from them to cover the costs along with a release for damages stating that the settlement amount is the only amount that they will ever offer you for the claim. Illinois is a comparative negligence state, meaning that you will receive the compensation proportional to the percentage of responsibility that you had in causing the accident as long as it is below 50%. For instance, if you were found to be 10% at-fault for the accident, then you would likely recover 90% of the settlement. They must respond to the initial request of the claim within 15 days.
You will likely have to provide some official or legal documents to prove the damages involved with the accident so that the company can verify them. As with your insurance company, in terms of replacing parts or the vehicle, their insurance will not replace things with newer or better models; if they cannot find your older model, they will use a new one and you will have to pay the difference. Their insurance company will cover you for the policies that they have purchased, which varies. You do not have to pay a deductible when filing for a third party claim. If by the end, you and their company cannot agree after negotiating on the amount of your physical damage loss, you will likely have the option to either file a civil lawsuit against the other driver or file a claim with your own insurance company.
Did Merchants Insurance Deny Your Claim?
After a car accident, you have the option to file an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company will investigate your claim in terms of the details of the accident to see how it transpired. The issue here is that insurance companies, and especially large ones like Merchants Insurance, always want to increase the value of their bottom line. In order to do this, they may ask for details that can turn the accident around on you to make it look like you were the driver at-fault. In this case, your claim may be denied.
There are some valid reasons why a claim could be denied, such as if you are filing an injury claim for a type of coverage that you never purchased as part of your plan. But there could be some invalid reasons that they could be denied, often by twisting details to make you appear to be the at-fault driver. One tactic that insurance adjusters may use is to ask very specific questions and coerce those answers out of you, such as the exact time that the accident occurred, and your answer may indicate to the insurance company that you were not focused on the road at the time of the accident.
If the insurance companies can find some way to dispute the facts or doubt your story, they may not pay for your claim. However, there are laws that can help you if they handle your case in bad faith, which could be in a number of ways. We will not let it get to this point, and our experienced attorneys know how to handle these insurance adjusters to help you to get out of this sticky situation.
Merchants Insurance Profits Over Consumers
Merchants Insurance may proclaim that they are a “trusty companion” as they try to work with you on an auto insurance plan, however, it is important to remember that they are a giant in this lucrative industry. Insurance companies all strive towards the goal of maximizing their profits while minimizing their costs. They may do almost anything to avoid paying for a car accident’s damages, which may mean them trying to discredit your experience of the car accident as you perceived it.
When you file an injury claim against an insurance company, they will use accusatory and ruthless tactics in order to ensure that they do not pay for the bulk of the damages or pay nothing at all. Merchants Insurance is no exception. As a big player in the car insurance industry, they want to remain as profitable as possible and reduce their risk as much as possible. If this means using any means to incriminate a driver to appear at-fault, they can do so, and they have done so.
It can be very difficult to successfully handle an injury claim by yourself. An experienced personal injury attorney knows the tactics that these companies may use, though. If you have been in a car accident and are filing an injury claim against Merchants Insurance, we will stand by you and handle the insurance companies. We will make sure that you are protected and receive the compensation that you deserve out of this event.
How Can We Help You?
We see you as a person, not just a client - and that makes us better at what we do. We listen. We learn your story. And, as we help you get the money you deserve, we go above and beyond in a way most law firms never could and never would. Because we're not just lawyers. And you're not just a client. We're friends, neighbors, family. We're all people and here at Agruss Law Firm, we put people first.
A lot of personal injury lawyers raise their contingency fee throughout the process, charging 1/3 if the case is settled pre-suit, charging 40% if the case is filed after a lawsuit is filed, and charging 50% if the case goes to trial. We don't. At Agruss Law Firm, our personal injury contingency fee is always 1/3 and that's not changing. We will handle your property damage claim FOR FREE. We will never change our contingency fee throughout the process. You will not owe us a penny unless you get money. Our unique formula has earned us over 1,070 outstanding client reviews on our website, an A+ BBB rating, and over 165 five-star reviews on Google. Call 888-572-0176, e-mail us at [email protected] or schedule a meeting with us here. We’re here 24/7.
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