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car insurance conundrum
September 25, 2006 9:14 PM   Subscribe

My son has an apartment in San Francisco. He works in Marin and uses our(his parents) address for stuff. He also spends time at our house.Is it ok for him to use our address for his car insurance or must he use his rented address(which would also cost more)?
posted by ellke to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
 
Legally, he has to use the address where the car is primarily "garaged." If he parks in San Francisco a majority of the time, he has to list that address.
posted by autojack at 9:15 PM on September 25, 2006


Yeah, I've always been asked for the mailing address and the "garaged ZIP" separately.

Also, keep in mind that if he's doing this fraudulently and they investigate, his coverage can be voided when he files a claim.
posted by trevyn at 9:30 PM on September 25, 2006


He has to use the address where the vehicle is kept/used the majority of the time, for the reasons previously cited (of course, it would be difficult for his insurance company to prove that he had misrepresented his address on purpose - people "forget" to report address changes all the time - so unless they had reason to suspect that he wasn't being honest, they wouldn't be likely to deny a claim; however, they would likely update his address, charge a very large amount of back dated premium, and drop him for 'rate jumping' afterward, if, as previously mentioned, they were suspicious). The address update can be done any time, too (not just as the result of a claim).

To be fair, there's a reason that it's more expensive to insure a vehicle in San Fransisco, and insurance companies have to rate for the risk presented.
posted by mewithoutyou at 10:19 PM on September 25, 2006


Drat, my spellcheck was missing. San Francisco.
posted by mewithoutyou at 10:21 PM on September 25, 2006


Receiving mail at an address is one thing. Saying you live there to save money is, uh, fraud. Whether he gets away with it or not.
posted by JamesMessick at 3:54 AM on September 26, 2006


[It's fraud.] Whether he gets away with it or not

And in these days of Choicepoint, the chances of getting away with it is slimmer than you'd think. What address did his employer put on his W4 and the end-of-year W2? Does he have any credit cards that come to his SF address? Bank Account? Car Registration? Drivers License? Utility Bills? Voter Registration? Phone?

Unless he gets essentially all his mail at your address, he's going to have a very hard time maintaining the facade of not living in SF (without prior planning). And since the insurance company has a financial interest in doing so, you can bet that they'll be checking periodically (rumor has it that they check more frequently now that paperless billing is more common, and it's easier to fradulently claim a bogus address)
posted by toxic at 5:17 AM on September 26, 2006


Another question: Is it ethical? When people do this, the end result is higher average premiums for the rest of us because the insurance companies end up paying out more than they had calculated.
posted by Miko at 7:58 AM on September 26, 2006


The question of whether or not it's ethical has alot to do with whether or not you think that the (usually) mandatory extortion program called "auto insurance" is ethical to begin with.
posted by jaded at 9:33 AM on September 26, 2006


In any case, it's soon to be a moot point (at least in California) since new regulations around auto insurance will be going into effect that directly address this issue, namely by not allowing insurance companies to charge more or less based on zip codes.
posted by Mrmuhnrmuh at 12:49 PM on September 26, 2006


The question of whether or not it's ethical has alot to do with whether or not you think that the (usually) mandatory extortion program called "auto insurance" is ethical to begin with.

Not really. Insurance is required by law, and in the eyes of the law, we're all equally obligated to obey it and all equally vulnerable to penalty if we don't obey it. That is fairness. If a person has an ethical opposition to the existence of auto insurance, then he or she should not have any at all, rather than commit fraud to get a lower rate. This means driving without insurance. if caught, the penalities for that are high fines and even jail time in most states. The civilly disobedient ethical choice is to accept that risk, not to assume privileged status over others by using personal connections to avoid equal treatment under the law.

However, there is another ethical problem with that choice, in that if he or she is in an accident and injures someone else or someone else's property and is unable to pay, the other person will have an unfair burden of cost. Even if the uninsured person is eventually forced by the courts to pay, the process will be slow and the payment won't be timely. This is the reason insurance on a dangerous and fast-moving owner-operated multi-ton projectile, which a person is free to purchase and use or not, is required by law.

Glad the question is moot, though.
posted by Miko at 2:22 PM on September 26, 2006


To be nit-picky about it, insurance per se is not required. Though I'm obviously not familiar with the regulations in every single jurisdiction, AFAIK it's always something like you are required to have coverage for $X in damage to the property of others. You could, for example, put up a bond for $X rather than buy insurance. (Here in Ontario, Canada, X = one million. When I lived in NY state, it was $50K there, so the bond idea was more feasible there)
posted by winston at 8:25 PM on September 26, 2006


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