Smoke & (Broken) Mirrors: Why Auto Insurance Commercials are Never about Injury Claims

Automobile Accidents | insurance company

June 22, 2018

Insurance Commercials

There’s just no way of escaping automobile insurance commercials on television. Right now, some advertising agency somewhere in the United States is being paid obscene amounts of money to produce a commercial for an auto insurance company that’s funnier, more original, and sticks in our heads more than the competing commercials. And I’ll give them credit, some are pretty memorable.

But, there’s something about each and every one of these hundreds of commercials that’s the same. You might have already picked up on it before, but if you haven’t, you’ll probably notice it each and every time from now on. (It’s almost like having your spouse ruin a song for you with their version).

Here it is: not a single commercial involves a claim for personal injury. They only involve property damage claims.

There. Ruined it for you.

Seriously, why is it that automobile insurance companies are so proud of how they “quickly and fairly” get your car fixed or replaced, but are so shy about promising they’ll take care of your body?  After 18 years of practicing law, I have a few ideas. First, paying to replace or repair vehicles is easier and cheaper for insurance companies. There’s just less to fuss about. Second, auto insurance companies are way more likely to fight harder and pay less when it comes to injury claims because injury claims are potentially much, much more expensive. Third, because each commercial promising to “do the right thing” for people who are physically injured would be “Exhibit A” in court when the insurance company inevitably fails to keep its promise.

As citizens of Washington State, it’s important to remember that we have some of the more effective “bad faith” laws in the entire country, designed to keep our own auto insurance companies from taking advantage of us when we’re physically injured. Whether it’s the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA), or consumer protection laws, we’re fortunate to live in a place where attorneys and their clients can actually push back when bad faith takes place. Even something as simple as having access to easy information on the website for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner is a benefit.

I promise you’d be shocked by some of the things I’ve seen in my years of practice when it comes to holding insurance companies accountable when someone is hurt. And yet, maybe, just maybe, I would be the one shocked for once if a single insurance company advertised how it took care of one of its own customers who was physically injured.  Until that time, let the funny but useless commercials roll.