Students should protect themselves against fraud

It’s no secret that UH is renowned for its extensive commuting community. Unfortunately, paying for gas, parking tags, maintenance and insurance takes a big toll on students’ minimal budgets.

Students, and Texas residents in general, have the disadvantage of not being informed. Many auto insurance policies disguise their deductibles that could easily shed hundreds of dollars annually.

A 2013 study by nerdwallet.com found that the typical policyholder is overpaying on auto insurance by $368. However if one knows where to look, there are thousands of insurance agencies that offer multiple discounts, potentially saving current drivers money. This is money that could be used towards food, clothing, education and housing.

The insurance communication failure has contributed to the escalating insurance fraudulence, with the National Insurance Crime Bureau estimating that insurance fraud collectively costs Americans $30 billion annually, whereas the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew equaled $17 billion.

Additionally, The Texas Department of Insurance found evidence indicating the average household is paying an additional $200 to $300 every year in insurance premiums to counter the money lost from fraud. This “hidden fraud tax” is claimed to be integrated into the average consumers goods and services.

There are several steps to ensure student drivers are getting the most out of their auto insurance. Edmunds.com suggests taking these precautions: compare quotes from different companies, strive to achieve and maintain good credit, ask about group insurance, low mileage and all other discounts, avoid installments, go high on deductibles and evaluate insurance costs before buying a car.

Auto insurance agencies take into regard driving habits and driving records as well. Insurancecomparisons.org found commonly overlooked or unknown criteria that could save student drivers large sums of money.

Several of these include such thing as whether a student drives less than 35 miles per day, if a student hasn’t been in any car accidents over the last 12 months, if a student has never received a DWI/DUI, if a student has received no speeding tickets over the last six months and if a student can prove that they park their car in a garage.

Despite the hidden information from both insurance companies to enact fraud and the government to balance up the budget due to fraud, there are many ways for students to combat the insurance money vacuum.

Take the steps and save the money.

Opinion columnist Courtney Gigant is a business sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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