Woman disputes increase in car insurance

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A local woman called 12 for help, navigating a murky dispute, with her insurance company - after she "added" her daughter to her policy.

1st tip: Have the insurance quote, faxed or e-mailed to you. It's difficult after the fact, proving who said, what. In this complaint, "Total Insurance Planning" says, the customer didn't disclose key information.

Rochelle Atkins says the company took more money from her account, than she authorized - she blames her agent, "Mercury Insurance".

"Eight hundred and some dollars were taken out of my account. And I was expecting $380 to come out," said Rochelle.

Rochelle Atkins called "Mercury Insurance" about a cheaper rate for her daughter who recently got both, a reckless driving and speeding ticket. Both daughter and mom say the agent assured them that putting the daughter on mom's policy would increase mom's payment only $100 a month. It turned out to be about $500 more.

"She didn't have the authorization to add my daughter to the policy if she did not come back to me and give me a quote, if it was different from what I gave her," Rochelle said.

State law requires a quote, be in writing. If the increase is over 10% of the quoted amount, the customer can cancel within 15 days of receiving a bill provided the person is honest about the driving record.

The parent company says, it discovered traffic convictions much later, and either its agent didn't ask "or" the customer didn't disclose them. Rochelle says she was honest upfront and the company took away her options...

"She should have informed me to see if I still wanted it. Or she could have called my daughter and said it's higher than we thought, we have to put you on your own separate policy," said Rochelle.

Rochelle had a tough time cancelling. State law requires, two things, "written" notice of new insurance, and "proof" that the new insurance is equal coverage. Rochelle did not get that $800 back. The company said the daughter was insured from February through April. It did agree to forget about a second, $800 bill.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.