It’s Insurance Awareness Day (I don’t know who comes up with all these days, but they make nice writing prompts) and I thought I’d share some of my limited insurance knowledge. We recently fired our home insurance company because they kept messing up. We thought with the difficulty in paying our bill, getting money out of them in an emergency would be next to impossible.
The home insurance was up in March, so we set about getting it transferred over into our names. We went into the local office and gave them our information and a check for the first payment and they said everything was set. A few days later, they call us and say that actually, they couldn’t do what they’d said they were, so they’d have to refund our check to my boyfriend’s parents who had held the policy prior. (That was OK since we had to pay our car insurance to them anyway) We go in again and set up a whole new policy. They say they’ll get the papers filed and send us the bill. Everything’s set. A few weeks later we get a “THIS IS NOT A BILL” type summaries with my boyfriend’s last name misspelled. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but they’d be carrying this policy with the same last name for 30 years. And it should have been as easy as changing the first name on the documents, but apparently that’s actually very difficult. We asked them to change the address at least 3 times and fix the name spelling as many times. We don’t hear anything from them for a couple months until the agent calls and is all upset because we haven’t paid. We explain that we never received a bill, so she asks us for our address. (Which should be on file!) We give it to her over the phone and she still sends it to the wrong address. We then spend the next week playing phone tag with the agent and finally left her a message that we want to cancel. If getting a policy started and paid for is this difficult, I think we’d be screwed if we needed to file a claim.
In lieu of home insurance, we’ve decided to purchase home protection systems. Alarms, gates, fire suppression units, that kind of thing. Instead of spending $1000 a year on insurance (that probably would leave us high and dry) we’ll take care of ourselves. We live in the middle of nowhere and we don’t have service people like cleaning ladies or gardeners, so we figured it’d work out to protect from only what we need. It’s unlikely that a gardener will lop off a digit, so liability is low on our priorities. You should review and read thoroughly your insurance policies. We were disappointed with the coverage we’d have had if something happened, all the more reason to stop paying for Judas promises from The Three Stooges Insurance Agency (aka: Farmer’s/Foremost). Insurance people are a crafty lot and will do and say anything to get you to open your wallet rather than theirs.
Take my health insurance for example: I pay $258.11 every month, $3097.32 a year to cover my measly $60 of prescriptions a month. Doesn’t really make sense, but if I cancel, I might not be able to get it again. If I can’t get it again, I might find out there’s something wrong with me, and blah blah blah, on and on. The thing that really pisses me off about all this is that when I go to refill my meager prescriptions, they usually hassle me because I’m not refilling the same day I run out of pills. (Pharmacy is a 2 hour round trip, so it’s less than convenient to run into town the day I run out) I generally have to pay the un-covered price or wait with no medication for a few days for them to process it.
Car insurance seems to be the least offensive. I can see the value of it every time some caffeine fueled, makeup-applying, cell phone gabbing crazy person careens in my direction. We do need to revisit our auto insurance, but we’ve got too much other stuff to worry about this year, like putting up gates. (Ah, the joys of home ownership…)
Just understand that with insurance, you aren’t really paying for a tangible product. You’re paying for peace of mind, make sure your company is giving it to you or fire them. In fact, I’m going to call my health insurance today and give them a piece of my mind about the whole refill issue.