Losing a spouse is one of the most painful and traumatic events a person can go through. While you are grieving and attempting to navigate life without your spouse, you may find yourself suddenly facing money difficulties. If your spouse was the major breadwinner in your family, the loss of his or her income alone can be devastating. In addition to the loss of income, you may also be struggling to pay medical expenses and funeral costs.
During this tragic time, however, insurance companies are less than sympathetic. In fact, a new study has found that auto insurers actually raise the car insurance rates of widows after their husbands have died. The Consumer Federation of America found that most major auto insurers actually varied their rates depending on the marital status of the driver. They discovered that when a husband died - insurance companies actually raised the rates of their widow drivers. Their claim? That married drivers are safer drivers. Yet, there are no published studies to back up these claims.
To run the study, the Consumer Federation of America studied six major insurers in 10 cities across the United States. 4 of the insurers, Geico, Farmers, Progressive, and Liberty, raised rates on state-mandated liability coverage for widows a whopping 20%! The 5th insurer, Nationwide, raised rates on widows occasionally - but not always. The 6th insurer, State Farm did not vary the rates because of the change in marital status. In fact, State Farm’s rates were the same regardless if you were married, single, divorced, or in a domestic partnership.
To obtain this information, the Consumer Federation of America developed a hypothetical insurer - a 30-year-old female who had been driving accident free since she was 16. They even went so far as to give her employment as a bank teller and she drove a reasonably priced 2005 Honda Civic. They then contacted the 6 major insurers in 10 large cities: Baltimore, Tampa, Louisville, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Oakland, Portland, Phoenix, and Minneapolis. They then obtained quotes based on the minimum liability coverage required by those states for the hypothetical female driver. All characteristics were kept the same - and the single variable altered was marital status.
Armed with this information, the Consumer Federation of America is calling for state insurance departments to investigate the issue and eliminate the “widow penalty” altogether.
After a Wrongful Death, an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you have lost your spouse because of another person’s negligence, the long-term ramifications of that loss may seem incomprehensible. In addition to learning to live your life without your loved one, you may face higher expenses, insurance rate hikes, and other ramifications that are unforeseen at this time. As such, it is helpful to have an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side from the very start. Your wrongful death lawyer can fight aggressively for you and your family - to ensure that you have the money you need to put your life back together again.
Your attorney will be able to review your expenses, loss of income, medical bills, & insurance premium increases to help ensure that you receive the maximum compensation. Insurance companies will try to low-ball you - even while you are grieving. Their only goal is to lower their liabilities and increase their profits. With an attorney on your side, you can expect to receive up to 40% more in a settlement.
Unfortunately, grieving spouses don’t always realize that there is someone on their side - and insurance companies will take advantage of this fact. They may pressure you into signing a settlement without first realizing how much damage has truly been done. They may even pressure you by using a hard “take it or leave it approach” or by insinuating that your spouse was partly to blame for the accident as well. This is unfair and should not be tolerated.
Contact Our Experienced Denver Wrongful Death Attorneys
No amount of compensation could ever make up for the loss of your loved one. But you and your family should not have to struggle financially because of another person’s negligence or carelessness. Our caring and compassionate Denver wrongful death attorneys are here to help.