a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: The Insurance Thing is NOT Finished After All

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Insurance Thing is NOT Finished After All

SUMMARY: Insurance companies are not your friends.

I finally received my final check from the insurance company a week or so ago and started looking more seriously at cameras and lenses. But wait--my annual renewal notice just arrived--

I'm trying hard not to be brokenhearted, but really-- Travelers Insurance pays me $1400 for a $2500 loss and now my premium goes up by $350/year for the next 5 years? This = $1750! How can this be right? Thought I could maybe afford a replacement camera but guess I can't. Have to save the insurance money to pay insurance premiums.

The lady on the phone was sympathetic but explained, "We're insuring you for a total loss of your home, not smaller losses." She said that (a) I lose the no-loss discount AND (b) I get a penalty for making a claim! Isn't that double jeopardy?

I haven't made any kind of claim in maybe 25 years. And this was someone ELSE breaking into my car, committing a crime against me! And *I'm* paying a penalty?

It is true that my policy says that I get a discount, but it doesn't in fact say how much, nor does it spell out a penalty for making a claim. So I had NO CLUE that it would cost me that much--and in fact it never occurred to me to ask (doh! you'd think at my age I should think of these things with insurance companies)--but it bothers me immensely that the insurance person with whom I dealt never even hinted that it would cost me more in the long run than I would ever get out of the claim.

Here's the catch--now no one else (so far with a couple of samples) wants to insure me except at about twice that much because--ka-ching!--I made a claim! For an amount less than 2 years of premiums!

Today I feel more violated than when the original break-in occurred. Then, I cried a bit here and there. Sometimes these random acts of evil fall on your doorstep and what can you do. Today, I bawled my heart out. Then threw up. Then found that I couldn't do anything for about an hour and a half after the [long] conversation with the insurance company. Couldn't read. Couldn't work. Couldn't think. Couldn't blog. Nothing. Shaking. Betrayed. Stunned. Angry. Shocked. Hopes for a new camera dashed. This is not a random act of evil; this is a systematic, institutionalized screwing of customers.

The other thing that really hurts is--I spent SO many hours getting the claim processed, for which I will never be reimbursed. And now I have to spend more hours checking with other insurance companies and/or trying to get this claim removed from the record, if that's at all possible. Hours for which I will also not be reimbursed.

And no camera. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm sure I'll think of something eventually.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TRAVELERS INSURANCE. Funny that just last night I was commenting to my renter that Consumer Reports rated them the lowest in customer satisfaction for homeowners insurance, and I said I wasn't sure why, mostly I was satisfied with how they handled my claim. Today--well.


  1. And even worse, insurance claims reside in a central database so a different insurer will go look up your claim history to decide if you would be a good risk. And remember too that insurance rates also hinge on your FICO score, so raising your score there can only help. We learned all this when buying a house recently and insuring it. Hang in there!

  2. I'm convinced the entire insurance industry is composed of vampires.

  3. I believe that one of your FB friends suggested getting an actual insurance agent. This is actually a good suggestion. But make sure you get one that works with a variety of insurers. That way you know that he's working for *you* and not for the insurance company. (OK, he's really working for himself, but he needs to keep *his* customers happy by telling them the straight goods up front, not lying to them, not screwing them over, ...)

    Also, a good insurance agent will advise you as to where you can really cut costs on home/car insurance and get better coverage by throwing in an inexpensive umbrella plan. (Just make sure you do your math and ask all the what-ifs before you sign.)

  4. Had an agent. Geico doesn't go thru agents & I got better rates from them. Have done everything advised to cut my rates. This just wasn't a what-if that I had anticipated, shame on me. When we made a claim for a fence destroyed in a storm wayyyy back in the early '80s, it was no big deal.

  5. Man, this all sucks. You are a photographer and you need a camera! Like a librarian needs books. I hope you can figure it all out. Hard lesson though.

  6. Insurance companies SUCK! I hate them! Health insurance is even worse. I'm so sorry you had to deal with all this crap.
    Our insurance broker says that insurance nowadays is only for catastrophic losses and now I can see why.