Chiropractor pleads not guilty in car insurance fraud case

SALEM, Mass. (AP) - A Haverhill chiropractor has pleaded not guilty to fraud and larceny charges for his alleged role in an auto insurance fraud ring.

Prosecutors say 40-year-old Troy Wheelwright of Amesbury was involved in a ring that staged four car accidents between October 2002 and February 2003.

Wheelwright was arraigned Tuesday in Salem Superior Court on a variety of charges, including motor vehicle insurance fraud and larceny over $250. He was released on personal recognizance and ordered to surrender his passport.

Six other alleged members of the ring, including another chiropractor, are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

Wheelwright is due in court again on May 20 for a pretrial conference.

Car Insurance Coverage Questions

Ask your insurance agent these questions - it helps to understand the types and extent of coverage you have. There are a lot, but you’re paying a lot.

Want more questions about accident coverage and possible rate increases? Read our article Accidents - Ask Your Insurance Agent for an additional list of questions to ask.

What is ...
Who or What is Covered?
How Much ...
Accident, Damaged, Stolen

What is ...
What is a deductible?
What is Personal Injury Protection and how do I know if I need it?
What is included on an umbrella liability policy and when do I need one?
What is the difference between liability, comprehensive, collision and full coverage insurance in terms of financial costs and also in terms of extent of coverage?
What is the difference between cancellation and non-renewal of a policy?
What is the amount provided for medical payments and personal injury payments? Is this a reasonable amount? What is the national average for this? What is the state average for this?

Who or What is Covered?
Describe the different levels of coverage that are available for my car's make and model, and for my family situation.
Who is covered under this policy? Are other licensed drivers (friends, family members) covered if they drive my car?
How do I insure my teenage driver? What factors can reduce or increase the cost of his/her insurance?
If I use my car for my business, is it covered under my policy?
Can I take cars on and off my policy? For instance, if I have a car I only drive in the summer, can I put it on insurance for only June, July and August? What kind of lead time does the insurance company need?
Does the policy include roadside assistance?
If not, does the company offer it, how much is it and what geographic areas does it include?
Are there certain times that are/aren’t included?
Are there services that are/aren’t included?
Uninsured, Licensed, Non-Licensed Passenger, Driver

Are other licensed drivers covered if they drive my car? What about non-licensed drivers?
Are passengers covered? For how much? Is that amount enough/does it fit with recommended averages by your firm?
Rental and Leased Vehicle

Are leased or rented vehicles covered under this policy?
If I choose not to add this coverage, do I need to get insurance that a rental car company offers when I rent a car?
Does this insurance policy cover me anywhere in the country? What about outside of the country?

Accident, Damaged, Stolen
Are personal items in the car covered in case of an accident or theft? Do I need a rider on certain items if I’d like that option?
If I am in an accident, does the policy include legal fees if I have to go to court? If not, how is that paid for? Is that an additional charge?
In your experience, if my vehicle is damaged, how quickly can I expect to see an adjuster?
If the adjuster determines that the car is repairable, can I choose to take a check (less than my deductible)?
If my car is damaged or stolen, will the policy pay for a rental vehicle until I get my car back?
Does this policy offer a percentage or full reimbursement?
If not, how much more does it cost to get that?
Am I covered if the damage to my car was due to an uninsured or under-insured motorist?
If my car is damaged as a result of a non-collision event (such as a fire at my home or natural disaster), is it covered?
What situations DOESN’T my insurance cover? Is there something I’m missing?
Read our article Accidents - Ask Your Insurance Agent for an additional list of accident coverage questions to ask.

How Much...
How much insurance do I need if I have one car, two cars, etc.?
Tell me where I fit in with national averages – am I paying average, more, or less, and what factors into your answers?
Are there certain models of car that cost more to insure? Do I have one?
What vehicles get the lowest insurance rates?
If I owe money on my car, does that affect how much insurance must I carry?
If I have a lower deductible, how much are my payments? With a higher deductible, how much are my payments?
What are my payment options? Annual payments, bi-annual, monthly, etc.?
What coverage is available for a "basic" auto policy? How much is that?
Please give me a breakdown of the benefits I have, and how much it will be to insure myself at the level I’m comfortable with.
What factors increase a policy cost? What can I do to decrease the cost of my policy? (Safe driving record, increase deductible, multiple policies [car, home, etc.]? Other?)
What discounts do you offer? Many insurance companies offer a discount if you insure multiple cars with them, or have multiple policies (home, theft, auto, business, etc.)
What does my zip code have to do with my car insurance?
What is the length of time that the policy is in effect? What can result in the policy being canceled or premiums raised?
What do I do if can’t get insurance through traditional private insurance companies?
Visit your insurance company’s site for background information, descriptions and definitions of insurance terms. For any question, tell the agent to discuss options available to you, what situations warrant certain kinds of coverage and how much services add to your policy. They are always happy to help.

Consumers Guide to Auto Insurance

Page 1
InsuranceInsuranceAutoAutoConsumer’s Guide toLOUISIANADEPARTMENTOF INSURANCEJames J. Donelon, Commissioner of Insurance
Page 2
Some of us spend up to a quarter of our income each year oninsurance. Yet many do not take the same care when buying insurancethat we take with buying the cars we are insuring. Many of us tend tojudge insurance by the cost of the premium, calling five or six produc-ers (agents) and picking the cheapest policy.We would never dream of calling an automobile dealership, ask-ing for the price of the cheapest car, and then choosing the car sightunseen just because it cost the least. The same should be true for ourauto insurance.No matter how low the premium might be, an inexpensive policydoes you absolutely no good if the insurance company cannot coveryour claim when your car has been involved in an accident.Whatever your insurance needs, you should choose a companythat is financially sound, has a history of providing good service, andcharges a fair rate. This guide will help you find the auto insurancecompany that is right for you.A message fromCommissioner of InsuranceJames J. DonelonThis public document is published at a total cost of $1,758.16. Fivethousand copies of this public document were published in this sixthprinting at a cost of $1,750. The total cost of all printings of thisdocument including reprints is $11,192.78. This document was pub-lished by Consolidated Graphics, 10848 Airline Hwy., Baton Rouge,LA 70806 to inform consumers of their auto insurance options un-der special exception by the Division of Administration. This mate-rial was printed in accordance with standards for printing by stateagencies established pursuant to R.S. 43:31. Printing of this mate-rial was purchased in accordance with the provisions of Title 43 ofthe Louisiana Revised Statutes.Department of Insurance2006
Page 3
What’s InsideWhat do I do first? __________________________ 2Insurance buying tipsFrom our consumer hotline __________________ 3What insurance do I have to buy? _____________ 4Liability coverageWhat about other coverages? _________________ 4Medical payments coverageUninsured motorist coverageUninsured motorist property coverageTowing and labor coverageCollision coverageComprehensive coverageLouisiana Automobile Insurance PlanRental reimbursementWhat if I don’t have proper coverage? _________ 7Does my coverage fit my needs? ______________ 8What factors affect my premium? _____________ 8What kinds of discounts can I get? ____________ 9What if I am involved in an accident? _________10Cancellation and nonrenewal _________________10Automobile insurance worksheets _____________12
Page 4
Louisiana Department of InsuranceWhat do I do first?Shop around for the policy that is right for you.Do not buy the first policy you hear about.Get quotes from several companies before you sign anapplication and pay a premium.Be aware of insurance scam artists and unauthorizedinsurance operations.Buy only from authorized insurance companies andproducers. Unauthorized insurance operations are illegal andtheir policyholders are unprotected if the company goesbroke.If you would like to check on a company, call theLouisiana Department of Insurance. See page 11 for all ofthe information you need to contact us. We can answermany of your questions including the following:Am I buying from a legitimate company?Ask about a company’s or producer’s licensestatus.Will the company be around to pay myclaims? Ask for the company’s financialletter grade from at least one nationwiderating firm.inding auto insurance that meets yourneeds does not have to be difficult.F2
Page 5
Consumer’s Guide to Auto InsuranceWill my teenager becovered when he goes tocollege out of state? Ifyour teenager is not takingpermanent residence inthat state, most companieswill not require you to makeany changes to your policy.Is there another way to shop around for auto in-surance other than calling every company in the phonebook? You can start by getting your free copy of the“Auto Rate Comparison Guide,” published by the Depart-ment of Insurance. It compares auto rates among the state’stop insurers. However, you may find that a company notincluded can best provide the coverage you need.If I let my friend drive my car and she has an acci-dent, will she be covered? As long as your friend has theowner’s permission to drive the car, she is covered underthe owner’s policy. The exception would be a person whohad been excluded from coverage under that policy.Does the company treat policyholders fairly? Ask abouta company’s and a producer’s complaint history and com-pare it with others.From our consumer hotline:3
Page 6
Louisiana Department of InsuranceUnder Louisiana law, you must carry liability cover-age on any automobile you own. This coverage pays forproperty damages or personal injury for which you may belegally responsible, up to your policy’s dollar limits. In Loui-siana, each vehicle is required to have 10/20/10 liabilitylimits. Those limits provide payments of $10,000 for bodilyinjury to one person, $20,000 for bodily injury to morethan one person in a single accident, and $10,000 coveragefor damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property.Liability insurance covers bodily injury or prop-erty damage caused by you, your family members, and oth-ers driving your vehicle with your permission. You and yourfamily members are also covered when driving anotherperson’s automobile including rental private passenger ve-hicles. Company cars and other non-owned cars regularlyavailable to you are not covered.Medical payments coverage pays for medical ex-penses for a designated period of time following the acci-dent, up to your policy’s dollar limits and it includes funeralexpenses. Payments are made regardless of who is to blamefor the accident. Medical payments covers you, your familymembers and other passengers in your car.What insurance do I have to buy?What about other coverages?4
Page 7
Consumer’s Guide to Auto InsuranceUninsured/Underinsured motorist coveragepays benefits to you if your car is hit by a driver who hasno insurance or too little insurance to pay for the full amountof your injuries. Any bodily injury you or an occupant ofyour vehicle suffers due to an accident caused by anotherdriver is covered under this policy. Hit-and-run drivers maybe classified as uninsured motorists if there is a disinter-ested witness to the accident.You may choose to purchase uninsured motoristeconomic-only coverage. This coverage is the same asuninsured motorist coverage except that it covers only theactual costs of injuries to you and the occupants of yourvehicle. Pain and suffering are not included under this cov-erage.Uninsured/Underinsured motorist propertydamage coverage provides for repairs to your vehicle ifyou are in an accident with an uninsured driver. A $250deductible applies under this coverage, and your recoveryis limited to $10,000 or the actual cash value of the vehicle,whichever is less. If your policy includes collision insurance,this coverage is not available.Towing and labor coverage pays for towing costsand labor costs when your car is disabled. Most automobilepolicies limit this coverage to $25 per tow, and some com-panies will not write towing and labor coverage for oldercars.5
Page 8
Louisiana Department of InsuranceComprehensive coverage pays for specified dam-ages to your automobile, such as those resulting from fall-ing objects, fire, explosion, vandalism, theft or additionalnamed causes other than collision, subject to any exclu-sions or limitations specified by your policy. The deduct-ible, the amount you must pay out of your pocket for aclaim, can range from $0 to $250.Collision coverage pays for damage to your carthat results from an accident. You can collect under yourown collision coverage, whether or not you were at fault.Collision coverage is always sold with a deductible.Many people drop their collision and comprehen-sive coverage when their cars are about five years old,because they may be worth only a few thousand dollars. Ifyou borrow money to buy your car, the bank or otherlender may require you to carry comprehensive and colli-sion insurance until the vehicle is paid for.The Louisiana Automobile Insur-ance Plan allows companies to write autoliability insurance for persons who havebeen turned down when they tried to getcoverage through the regular channels. Thisassures the availability of insurance to ev-eryone licensed to drive in this state.Rental reimbursement provides coverage for arental car for you if your car is damaged by a covered haz-ard or accident.6
Page 9
Consumer’s Guide to Auto InsuranceLouisiana law requires that all registered owners ofan automobile carry liability insurance. Uninsured motor-ists are subject to penalties such as fines, limited recoveryof damages, and impoundment of the uninsured vehicle.Motorists who fail to provide proof of insurancecan have their vehicles immediately impounded or havetheir license plates removed and a yellow sticker affixed tothe back windshield of the vehicle. The motorist is thengiven three days to provide proof of insurance to the Of-fice of Motor Vehicles. After three days, if the motorist isstopped again, the officer can impound his or her vehicleuntil proof of insurance is given and all towing and rein-statement fees are paid. The fines range from $75 to $100on the first conviction, $100 to $250 on the second con-viction and up to $700 on each conviction after that.The law known as “NoPay, No Play” prohibits unin-sured motorists from collectingthe first $10,000 in propertydamages and the first $10,000in personal injuries regardless ofwho causes the accident. This law also includes a provisionthat may allow you to waive your right to make a legalclaim for pain and suffering if you buy economic-only un-insured motorist coverage.What if I don’t have proper coverage?7
Page 10
Louisiana Department of InsuranceDon’t hesitate to ask questions about what your policycovers. Start by asking your producer what “full coverage”means, and take it from there.If your car is older and paid for, you may decide not tocarry collision and maybe even comprehensive coverage.Look at the cost of your annual premium compared toyour car’s “Blue Book” value, minus your deductible.If you belong to an automobile club, you may alreadyhave towing and labor coverage. Check to be sure.You may not need medical payments coverage for your-self if you have health insurance. However, medical cover-age will also pay for injuries to your passengers.Your age. Generally, single male drivers under 25 andfemale drivers under 21 have much higher insurance coststhan other drivers.Where you live. Urban areas have a higher incidenceof accidents and auto thefts than rural areas, so urban ratestend to be higher.Type of car. Luxury, sports and high-performance carshave the highest comprehensive and collision rates.What factors affect my premium?Does my coverage fit my needs?8
Page 11
Consumer’s Guide to Auto InsuranceYou are often eligible for adiscount under a “multi-car”plan if you insure two or morecars with the same insurancecompany.Your deductibles. A deductible is your share of thecost of comprehensive or collision coverage. If you optfor a high deductible, your premiums will be lower. Forexample, buying collision coverage with a $500 deductiblewill cost less than the same coverage with a $250 deduct-ible.Your driving record. If you have a good driving record,some companies offer a discount. Tickets and at-fault acci-dents can mean higher premiums.You may get an auto insurance discount if you have lifeor homeowners insurance with the same company.Most Louisiana insurance companies will give discountsto full-time students with a B average or higher. Farmersand senior citizens may also qualify for discounts.Some companies may reduce your liability and collisionpremiums if you take a defensive driving course. Teenag-ers who have taken driver education may get a similar dis-count.What kinds of discounts can I get?9
Page 12
Louisiana Department of InsuranceCancellation and NonrenewalCall the police immediately.Make sure you get the other driver’s name, address, tele-phone number, license plate number, driver’s license num-ber and insurance information. Give the other driver thesame information about you.Notify your insurance producer or company.Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report for yourrecords, whether or not you are at fault.You may be entitled to a discount if you have extrasafety features on your vehicle. Examples are anti-lockbrakes, anti-theft devices and air bags.What if I am involved in an accident?When you purchase a new auto insurance policy, theinsurance company may cancel it within 60 days. If it iscancelled for nonpayment of premium during that time,the company must give you a 10-day notice. If it is can-celled for any other reason, such as a traffic violation or anat-fault accident, a 20-day notice is required.A company cannot cancel your auto insurance policyif it has been in effect for more than 60 days or is a renewalunless:10
Page 13
Consumer’s Guide to Auto InsuranceYou fail to pay your premium.You file a fraudulent claim.You or a member of your household has a driver’slicense or motor vehicle registration suspended dur-ing the policy period.After the 60-day period, if a company cancels yourpolicy because you fail to pay a premium, it must give you a10-day notice in writing. For any other reason, you must begiven a 30-day notice in writing by certified mail. If yourinsurance company decides not to renew your policy, itmust provide you with notice 20 days prior to the policy’sending date. Your company is required to give you thereason for cancellation or nonrenewal if you request it inwriting.Within 30 days of cancellation, the company mustrefund all unused premiums that did not pay for coverage.How to contact the Louisiana Department of InsuranceToll Free, statewide: 1-800-259-5300E-mail:Baton Rouge: (225)342-0895public@ldi.state.la.usLocation: The Poydras Building1702 N. 3rd StreetWeb site:Mailing Address: P.O. Box 94214www.ldi.state.la.usBaton Rouge, LA 70804-921411
Page 14
Louisiana Department of InsuranceSHOPPING FOR AUTO INSURANCE:AUTOMOBILE WORKSHEETUse this worksheet for a place to record information a producer orcompany will need to give you an accurate premium quote.1. VEHICLES TO BE INSURED:Miles to Work2. PRINCIPAL OWNER AND OPERATOR OF VEHICLES:_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________3. DRIVERS TO BE INSURED ON THE POLICY:4. ACCIDENTS OR MOVING VIOLATIONS OF EACHDRIVER DURING THE PAST THREE YEARS:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________5. CHECK DISCOUNTS YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET:Defensive drivingDriver educationAnti-theft devicesHigh GPA for studentsMake/ModelYearVehicleIdentificationNumberAuto #1Auto #2Auto #3__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Name_________________________________________________________________License #__________________________________________________________________________Age___________________________________________________________________Sex_______________________________________________________________________________Marital Status________________________________________________________________12
Page 15
Consumer’s Guide to Auto InsuranceSHOPPING FOR AUTO INSURANCE:COMPARISON CHARTUse this chart to record coverages you want and the prices quotedby each company you contact.ANNUAL PREMIUMSCompany 1________________Company 2________________Company 3_________________COVERAGE:LIABILITYBodily Injury$_____per person$_____per accidentProperty Damage$_____per accident$____________ $______________ $______________COLLISION$_____Deductible: $_______________ $_______________ $_______________COMPREHENSIVE$_____Deductible: $________________ $_________________ $_________________UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORISTBodily Injury$_____per person$_____per accident$____________ $_____________$_____________Property Damage$_____per accident$_____________ $_____________$_____________OTHER COVERAGES:_______________________________________________$_____________$______________$_____________$_____________$_____________$_____________$_____________$_____________$_____________TOTALALLCOVERAGES:$_____________ $______________ $______________13

What are the penalties for driving without insurance? I know someone that got pulled over for the 3rd time in 10 yrs and he didn't have insurance. Wha

The penalty for driving without insurance varies from state to state. In some states, your vehicle tag can be seized and your car impounded. In addition, some states impose heavy fines for those who drive without auto insurance. Limited sates fine a fee of $150 to $500 for driving without insurance.

The consequences can be far more serious if you are involved in an accident and do not have insurance. You may have to comply with the financial responsibility laws (SR22, SR22s, SR16) including having to pay for any injuries or damages out of your own pocket.

CarInsurance.com understands that state complacency allows for states to not uphold the laws of the land. As you will understand from our comments, the states don't consider this offense as a serious offense.

For every dollar you pay in insurance premium a portion goes towards those states that aren't aggressive toward uninsured drivers.