An excess payment, also known as a deductible, is a fixed contribution that must be paid each time a car is repaired with the charges billed to an automotive insurance policy. Normally this payment is made directly to the accident repair "garage" (the term "garage" refers to an establishment where vehicles are serviced and repaired) when the owner collects the car. If one's car is declared to be a "write off" (or "totaled"), then the insurance company will deduct the excess agreed on the policy from the settlement payment it makes to the owner.
The Progressive Corporation launched Snapshot to give drivers a customized insurance rate based on recording how, how much, and when their car is driven. Snapshot is currently available in 46 states plus the District of Columbia. Because insurance is regulated at the state level, Snapshot is currently not available in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and North Carolina. Driving data is transmitted to the company using an on-board telematic device. The device connects to a car's OnBoard Diagnostic (OBD-II) port (all petrol automobiles in the USA built after 1996 have an OBD-II.) and transmits speed, time of day and number of miles the car is driven. Cars that are driven less often, in less-risky ways, and at less-risky times of day, can receive large discounts. Progressive has received patents on its methods and systems of implementing usage-based insurance and has licensed these methods and systems to other companies.
To initiate the process, insured is required to submit a detailed estimate of loss to the insurance company. Independent automobile surveyors with engineering background are given the task of assessing the reason and extent of loss. They carefully inspect the damaged vehicle and submit their survey report with the insurance company who will review and examine it in accordance with the recommendations mentioned therein The usual practice is to authorize repairs with the repairer to whom letter is issued in this regard.
On 1 March 2011, the European Court of Justice decided insurance companies who used gender as a risk factor when calculating insurance premiums were breaching EU equality laws. The Court ruled that car-insurance companies were discriminating against men. However, in some places, such as the UK, companies have used the standard practice of discrimination based on profession to still use gender as a factor, albeit indirectly. Professions which are more typically practised by men are deemed as being more risky even if they had not been prior to the Court's ruling while the converse is applied to professions predominant among women. Another effect of the ruling has been that, while the premiums for men have been lowered, they have been raised for women. This equalisation effect has also been seen in other types of insurance for individuals, such as life insurance.
Two of the most important factors that go into determining the underwriting risk on motorized vehicles are: performance capability and retail cost. The most commonly available providers of auto insurance have underwriting restrictions against vehicles that are either designed to be capable of higher speeds and performance levels, or vehicles that retail above a certain dollar amount. Vehicles that are commonly considered luxury automobiles usually carry more expensive physical damage premiums because they are more expensive to replace. Vehicles that can be classified as high performance autos will carry higher premiums generally because there is greater opportunity for risky driving behavior. Motorcycle insurance may carry lower property-damage premiums because the risk of damage to other vehicles is minimal, yet have higher liability or personal-injury premiums, because motorcycle riders face different physical risks while on the road. Risk classification on automobiles also takes into account the statistical analysis of reported theft, accidents, and mechanical malfunction on every given year, make, and model of auto.
In September 2012, it was announced that the Competition Commission had launched an investigation into the UK system for credit repairs and credit hire of an alternative vehicle leading to claims from third parties following an accident. Where their client is considered to be not at fault, Accident Management Companies will take over the running of their client's claim and arrange everything for them, usually on a 'No Win - No Fee' basis. It was shown that the insurers of the at-fault vehicle, were unable to intervene in order to have control over the costs that were applied to the claim by means of repairs, storage, vehicle hire, referral fees and personal injury. The subsequent cost of some items submitted for consideration has been a cause for concern over recent years as this has caused an increase in the premium costs, contrary to the general duty of all involved to mitigate the cost of claims. Also, the recent craze of "Cash for crash" has substantially raised the cost of policies. This is where two parties arrange a collision between their vehicles and one driver making excessive claims for damage and non-existent injuries to themselves and the passengers that they had arranged to be "in the vehicle" at the time of the collision. Another recent development has seen crashes being caused deliberately by a driver "slamming" on their brakes so that the driver behind hits them, this is usually carried out at roundabouts, when the following driver is looking to the right for oncoming traffic and does not notice that the vehicle in front has suddenly stopped for no reason. The 'staging' of a motor collision on the Public Highway for the purpose of attempting an insurance fraud is considered by the Courts to be organised crime and upon conviction is dealt with as such.