a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Insurance

Thursday, May 28, 2009


SUMMARY: Settlement for car break-in gets complicated.

I will get money from the insurance company for the things stolen from my car, minus my large deductible. But because the total amount is over a certain limit, they pay me up front only the current cash value (not replacement value) minus the deductible, and then I have 6 months to replace the things, send them my receipts, and get the rest of the replacement value.

I tried to make sure I understood it before we hung up, but now I'm not sure and will have to call her back in the morning. So, let's say that my old camera cost me $400 but its depreciated value is $100. So they send me $100 (plus all similar values for everything else) minus my deductible. If I go out and buy a $600 camera, will they send me the additional $300 or do they apply $500 to the deductible and I still have to go out and buy more until I'm over the deductible? This is a little confusing.

But, yes, the good news is that I will get some money back and, if they don't force me to spend the amount of my deductible (which is large) before I start getting more back, then I'm sort of OK. Won't be able to replace everything by any means. It'll be starting all over accruing camera gear. Even basic little stuff like the remote control, polarizing filter, and lens cleaner start adding up pretty quickly. But if I have to spend the whole deductible amount first and THEN spend more beyond that to get $ back--yikes--I don't have that kind of money!

She's sending me more paperwork with the initial check to clarify everything, and I do have her phone # and email.

I really didn't have in mind spending time researching cameras right at the moment. The one I want is still too expensive--unless I just don't get any lenses for it. (That's a joke...) Sigh.

What I really resent about the jerk who probably spent 30 seconds taking my stuff is that he has taken days and days out of my life--finding info on what was missing, trying to track the original stuff down, talking to assorted folks on the phone about it, reporting it, researching replacements, shopping--on top of the money.

I hope they got what they needed out of it.


  1. Do NOT get me started on insurance.

    As to replacements, here's a tip. If you are looking at buying a camera body that has a "kit" lens as part of the package, talk to the salesperson about NOT getting the "kit" lens, and swapping it for a "more useful" lens.

    When I got my camera, the lens that came in the "kit" was an 18-55mm lens (typical of most kits). Instead, I got an 18-135mm lens, thus being able to put off spending big dollars on a much longer lens. Yes, it'll cost marginally more than the "kit" lens, but still...

    Good luck with the insurance folks. Don't be afraid to ask self-serving questions, as what would you suggest so I can maximize the return on my investment in insurance for all these years?

  2. They can only apply the deductible once. Not to worry.

  3. Have you considered replacing with used equipment? My first real 35mm film camera was a refurbished Canon and it worked great for the 12 years I used it. Probably still works great but I replaced it with digital. Also Amazon sometimes has great deals on new equipment. I bought a really nice good quality Canon telephoto lens for less than 1/2 price.

    You're right though, it's such a pain and so time consuming to research that stuff and it's so expensive that you really have to know what you're buying.

  4. Yeah, the digital camera they stole I bought used and it worked fine. Hm, maybe I shd call Erika and see whether she's tired of her current camera yet. ;-)

    The weird thing is--and it makes me a little nervous--back in Sept. when everything came up for renewal, I switched insurance companies. So, for 7 yrs, no calls to either auto or homeowners. Since Sept., twice for auto (burglary & not-my-fault accident) and home (this car burglary).

    Steph, good suggestion on the lens; that's actually what I did with my first SLR basically. So I'll see what I can find now.