Consumer Action hosts auto insurance trainings in three states

Nelson Santiago of Consumer Action presented the Auto Insurance module in Alabama, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
Published: Thursday, November 05, 2015

Consumer Action’s Auto Insurance module explains the importance of having adequate auto insurance and prepares drivers to determine what coverage they need, shop for insurance, manage their auto insurance costs, and obtain help if they have trouble getting coverage or are dissatisfied with how their claim is handled.

Consumer Action trainers Nelson Santiago and Linda Williams were back on the road in August and September to introduce the module and conduct auto insurance trainings for staff and volunteers of cooperative extension programs, credit counseling agencies, housing counselors, immigrant and social services, and faith-based community groups in Alabama, Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Williams kicked off the trainings with a session on engaging the adult learner (key when it comes to complicated topics like insurance). Williams identified various learning styles and stressed the importance of piquing the learner’s interest, challenging them, providing interactive games and activities and entertaining them. Williams incorporated all of the recommended learning styles in her own training, demonstrating the use of videos to enhance her presentation and encouraging attendees to work in groups on various interactive projects.

Williams and Santiago had the participants work in teams on a true-or-false activity called Myths and Facts Regarding Auto Insurance. The activity helped the trainers gauge how much attendees knew about auto insurance coming into the training. The participants had a great time working in teams to answer auto insurance questions.

“It was nice to see the camaraderie amongst the team members, as well as the competitive edge. It kicked the training up a notch,” Santiago said.

Santiago went on to teach attendees why consumers need insurance, the various types of insurance, how to determine needs, why good credit matters and how to shop for insurance. He also outlined how poor credit could almost double what a consumer pays in premiums.

Santiago provided great insight into the importance of selecting a policy, explaining that consumers can save as much as 32 percent if they shop around. Santiago also told participants about the various factors that drive premium costs up, including driving record, usage, coverage, deductibles, vehicle type, age and gender, residential location, marital status and credit score.

Santiago had the participants engage in an activity where they examined five vehicles and ranked which were the most and least expensive to insure. After the participants ranked the vehicles, he discussed why each vehicle received its specific ranking. For example, a sporty convertible would be more expensive than a minivan to insure because of expensive repairs, more vandalism and more theft. The minivan would be less expensive because it has more safety features and (presumably) gets better mileage.

Williams then went on to tell participants about the two major sources of auto insurance loss reports: the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) and Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO). Underwriters look at the reports generated by these companies to determine rates and coverage, and the information contained in each report stays on a consumer’s record for five to seven years. Consumers may obtain one free copy of these reports annually, dispute inaccuracies and, in the event that an entry cannot be removed, have the right to submit a 100-word statement providing their side of the story.

Williams concluded the training by discussing policy cancellation and how to manage premium costs. Consumers have a right to cancel their insurance policy at any time, but Williams advised participants not to cancel a policy before they have another because the lapse could cost the consumer more money. Williams also covered reasons why an auto insurer might cancel a policy, including fraud, false information, non-payment and driver’s license suspension. She also provided tips to manage consumer costs, including shopping around and increasing your deductible.

Community groups that are interested in including the Auto Insurance module in their education programs may download it for free or order free printed copies of the multilingual publications, in bulk.




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