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Your roommate could affect your car insurance rates

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(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Julie Anderson frequents many parts of the Valley. Of course, she couldn't do it without having a car and car insurance.

"I mean, like everyone, I need my car to get from place to place,” Anderson told 3 On Your Side. “I need to be able to have insurance on it. I want good insurance. That's why I use them."

Anderson has auto insurance through a company called Ameriprise, which she bought through Costco. Anderson said she's been pretty satisfied with Ameriprise -- at least, until recently, when she got a strange phone call.

"I've had them for years,” Anderson said. “They just called me out of the blue one day, said that they did an address search and these two people were on my report."

The two women that Ameriprise was talking about were friends that Anderson allowed to move into her home temporarily. Anderson said the two women were never allowed to drive her car, and were basically "housemates."

Regardless, Anderson said the two moved out after just a few months.

Still, Ameriprise told Anderson over the telephone that unless she can prove they moved out, they were going to be increasing her annual car insurance premium an extra $2,000.

Anderson told 3 On Your Side that she was confused. If she allowed these two housemates to drive around her car, she would understand why they'd be added to her policy. However, the two women had their own cars.

An Ameriprise representative even called Anderson when she was talking to 3 On Your Side, and demanded that she at least provide them a letter saying the women had moved out.

“Absolutely,” the representative told Anderson on the phone. “We need you to sign a statement saying that Holly and Melissa do not live in that household and do not operate any insured vehicles.”

“Okay, I can do that,” Anderson replied. “But before when I called, you guys said I had to prove that they didn't live here.”

“But what I can see here, a signed statement would work as well," the representative said.

Anderson sent in that signed statement, so her insurance rates won't be going up.

"We are glad we were able to clear this up and bring it to an amicable resolution for the client,” Ameriprise said in an email to 3 On Your Side. "Consumers should make sure anyone living in their homes is properly insured."

Ameriprise claimed it's a standard practice in the insurance industry to investigate drivers who live in a home. When they discover valid drivers do not have auto insurance, someone's going to be responsible. In this case, it was Anderson.

"I don't think it's fair,” Anderson said. “Whether they live here or not, it doesn't mean they're going to drive my car. It shouldn't affect my car insurance."

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