My car insurance is affordable -- I "bundled" it with the loan-required homeowner's insurance when I bought Roseholme Cottage, in fact, which meant changing from the extremely responsive insurer I'd had for many years to another and larger outfit. I didn't think it would be much of a change; my coverage was the same and after all, insurance is insurance, right?
As it happened, I was driving a succession of Hyundai Accents at the time. People kept hitting them. It's a small car, with a somewhat generic shape; perhaps other drivers thought it was farther away than it was.
The first wreck was on my old insurance. They offered what they called "concierge" service, which is basically hands-off: you give up control of things like what body shop gets used and where your rental car comes from and in return, you get zero hassle; they get you in a rental ASAP and your old car goes away to be fixed or totalled. It was great!
The next wreck was on my new insurance. Let's call the company "Agricultural Prison." They say they're your good neighbor. They're more like paranoid Mrs. Kravitz across the street. First question from them was "Where do you want it taken?"
"A body shop," was, as it happened, not the answer they were after. When I pointed out they dealt with a lot more body shops than I did, and that I would happily accept their judgement,* they demurred. They didn't want to "endorse" any particular shop; they wanted me to "make my own choice." Because after an accident, who doesn't want to be spending time researching auto-body shops?
Car rental was equally burdensome. The rental company's agent turned surly when I told him the name of my insurance company; the insurance company promised to fax him required documentation but he wanted my credit card and approval on file, and I went along because I was working swing shifts while moving into Roseholme and I needed a car, quickly. Twelve hours later, I got an angry call from the rental company -- where was the insurance documentation? They wanted it or their car back, stat! It was early in the morning and I had just got off work; I was on a short turnaround with only ten hours between shifts and I needed sleep desperately. I pointed out they had my credit card, I didn't have time to sort this out and they could just change the terms to an ordinary rental until we sorted things out. Two hours later, while I was asleep, two of their minions took the rental car, dumping my toolbag (with about a thousand bucks of specialized hand tools inside) and briefcase on the front porch and hammering on the door before zooming off. I called the rental company and got a lot of backtalk; I worked my way up to the regional V.P. and after a lot of trouble, got an apology and a much nicer rental delivered to my door after that day's work. The insurance company had dropped the ball and the rental company, with a long history of being ill-treated by them, had acted with an excess of haste and zeal.
For some damn reason -- it's bundled with my homeowner's policy, after all -- I stayed with the insurer. I should have dropped them like a stinking hot rock with leprosy.
Fast-forward to yesterday. The first thing my auto insurer told me was that I should "work it out with the other person's insurance company myself." When I pushed back, they claimed they were trying to save me the $500 deductible, because "you might not get that back for up to a year." They were a little reluctant to help even after I told them $500 was a small loan to make if it meant I didn't have to spend hours on the phone sorting this out, but they set me up with a rental and made arrangements to have my car taken to their inspection center.
Well, I thought they'd set me up with a rental, delivered to my work. They told me to expect a call from the rental company. When that didn't come, I called the rental people myself. They knew from the claim number that I needed a car, but didn't have my phone number and didn't know I needed it delivered. And -- whattaya know, the local rental office was closed already.
I'm just a little bit annoyed. This company is the shoddiest bunch of second-rate slackers I have encountered, and they're consistent about it. It's been ten years since their first poor performance and they're not doing any better this time around.
They aren't there like a good neighbor. They're more like acne or hemorrhoids.
* My mother was an insurance adjuster for years and did a lot of auto work during that time. The adjusters know which shops do good work and which are rip-offs, and while they are paid to not spend any more than necessary, they're also paid to retain you as a customer: a good insurance adjuster will get you a good value-for-money on car repairs -- oh, nothing extra, not a bit, but if they're honest and good at their job, the repairs will be be good and honestly priced. Contrarily, "Agricultural Prison" insurance is cheap and understaffed, and if they can avoid one of their adjusters getting involved, they will. And pocket the savings.
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