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A post office box adds convenience and security to the receipt of mail. Knowing safely delivered letters remain at the post office reduces concerns about unattended mail in a door slot.
Other box holders might not even currently possess a permanent address. A PO box provides a consistent mailing location for these persons.
Additional responsibilities do exist for PO box holders when purchasing auto insurance. Auto insurance companies necessitate customers follow certain residency requirements when buying and maintaining a policy.
As such, the use of a PO box with an auto insurance company is limited.
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PO Boxes and Mailing Addresses
A PO box should be perfectly acceptable as a mailing address. A mailing address refers to the physical location the insurance company sends correspondence.
A PO box or a private mail box (PMB), however, cannot be used as a permanent address — the actual address in which the policyholder resides — in order to purchase a policy. So, the policyholder must provide a permanent residence address along with a mailing address.
While a PO box or any other alternative address can only be used to receive mail, providing an inaccurate resident address creates potentially serious problems.
Luckily, insurance companies won’t accept a PO box as a permanent address for obvious reasons. A PO box clearly is not a street address.
Passing off a private mailbox as a permanent residence is possible, if ill-advised since a PMB is located at a third-party business’ street address. Regardless, claiming a PMB as a “real” address can be constituted as fraud.
New auto insurance customers might be a bit perplexed at all the emphasis on street addresses. Why do the insurance companies put so much emphasis on residence and physical address locations?
In order to establish a specific rate for an insurance policy, an insurance company takes quite a few factors into consideration. Some of these factors include:
- Prior claims history
- Driving history
- Credit score
- Permanent residence of the policyholder
- Location of the vehicle
Certain locations come with a greater chance of damage or losses with a vehicle. Therefore, the insurance company incurs more risk insuring the vehicle. Premium prices go up as a result. Granted, comparison shopping could cut down on costs no matter where an applicant lives.
When applying for auto insurance, customers must provide an accurate permanent location. At any point the customer moves, he/she must inform the auto insurance company of the change. Otherwise, coverage might not be there when needed.
Persons who acquire lower insurance rates due to providing a false address may very well void their policies. Providing a false address can be intentional or unintentional, but the result can be the same. A policy could be voided.
The following scenario reveals the disastrous consequences of not providing a correct residential address.
After causing a major auto accident, the driver at-fault likely will be sued. Auto liability insurance should cover losses related to any resultant lawsuit.
During the insurance investigation, however, it is discovered the permanent address listed on the customer’s policy is not accurate. He/she used a PO box mailing address to hide a false residence claim in a cost-cutting scheme.
Such material misrepresentation on the insurance application/contract could very well void the policy.
Once voided, the policy no longer exists meaning the insurance company has no legal obligation to pay.
At this point, the insured becomes personally responsible for all financial losses associated with the accident. As bad as the resultant civil consequences are, criminal consequences may follow.
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The Insurance Fraud Issue
Giving false information to an insurance company can be construed as fraud. A false address on an insurance application may even lead to misdemeanor charges in certain states.
Filing a claim for an insurance policy based on false information could be worse. Imagine an insurance company issuing a $10,000 payout only to discover the insured party consistently lied about his/her permanent address all throughout the proceedings.
He/she may be looking at felony fraud charges and serious civil fines.
Since insurance companies take the insured at his/her word and no physical visit to the insured’s location takes place, some choose to lie.
A few may even claim to live in a different state to avoid higher premiums. Unwise cost-cutting strategies create legal traps and hazards. With legitimate discounts and cost-saving options available, customers do not need to make false statements.
Special Circumstances and Moving
Not everyone maintains a permanent residence, though. The insured may rely on a PO box because he/she moves from place to place on a frequent basis. Anyone in this situation could simply inform the insurance company of a new residence each time the location changes.
The mailing address can stay the same, but the current residential address and location of the car should be updated.
What about those with no address who actually live in their car? Direct any questions about this scenario to the insurance company and state DMV. No matter what the specific situation is, inform the insurance company.
Ask for advice and always be truthful and forthcoming. Doing so could prevent any loss of coverage or legal woes.
Follow the Rules
Insurance contracts constitute an agreement between two parties. The insured and the insurance company both must follow the rules and requirements of the contract.
Take nothing including personal information such an address for granted because the insurance policy’s coverage may be jeopardized.
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