The Cool House: insurance
Showing posts with label insurance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label insurance. Show all posts

Friday, August 01, 2008

Lobster Day: what went down

Here was the plan:
1) Drive 45 minutes on the Long Island Expressway (east) to get The Guy's neck checked by Insurance Doctor. This was necessary because he'd had 12 sessions of physio after the accident. The car insurance medical assessor assigns a doctor that is impossible to reach unless you have your own car and have the means to put gas in the tank. The letter inviting The Guy to the appointment made it clear that YOU MUST VISIT AT THE APPOINTED TIME. NO EXCEPTIONS. FAILURE TO DO SO MAY RESULT IN YOUR CLAIM BEING DENIED!
2) Continue on to the Lobster Roll, eat lunch
3) Call at Tanger Outlet and buy rug for master bedroom
And here's what actually happened:
We arrived at the doctor's office 15 minutes early. The room was filled with people completing their info sheets. Sample questions: What is your date of birth? How old are you? Are you a minor? I'm not even kidding. An hour later we were still waiting and so was everyone else. It was hot. There was no water. People started getting restless. Questions were asked. Voices were raised. Accusations were leveled. Things got tense. Groups formed; some people were angry, others defensive. While interesting from a sociological standpoint it was not a good situation.
Someone came out from the back office, left and returned bearing boxes of donuts, coffee, juice and water. The crowd was placated. People were seen. Two hours after The Guy's initial appointment he was called in. Four minutes later he was out with a recommendation to continue the physio for another twelve sessions. That means he has to go through this again in six weeks. Not necessarily at this doctor's office. I will not be accompanying him.

The Guy had to make a business call. I shopped for the rug while he worked. I scored the softest cream rug at Pottery Barn, a cardinal red throw, a bathmat, huge candlesticks, paper napkins. A bunch of stuff, in fact. The Guy finished his call just as I was checking out. It was 3:30. We were STARVING.
Twenty minutes later, a shared plate of puffers and a glass of chardonnay before us and lobster rolls ordered, The Guy announced we'd have to hurry as he had to go out to dinner at the other end of Long Island. At a lobster restaurant.......
So dear readers, I got indigestion. The Guy got puffers, lobster roll and a 1 1/2 lb lobster in the space of three hours. He didn't seem to suffer at all.
I feel a little cheated.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Totaled or Totally Repairable?

Turns out the car might not be totaled after all. On the twelfth day after the accident, 10 days after we had been notified that an assessor had been appointed and six days after the dealer had told us to pick up the plates because it was a write-off I got a call from a very determined assessor who hoped we hadn't bought a new car yet because as far as he could see it just needed two new doors.
The car is apparently at an unsecured car auction place somewhere in the Tri-state area and he needed our permission to tow it to a "very good car shop in Medford" which they "use all the time" so someone could make sure that's all it needed.
Hmm, I didn't used to be a suspicious gal (OK, that's a big, fat lie. I'm cynical by birthright and inclination.) but something changed over the past few years. Maybe it's the way the Administration plays fast and loose with the Constitution; maybe it's the lack of a democratic process in Albany or maybe it's just a reaction to that damn insurance bill but something doesn't seem quite right. It's a lease car and I'm not named on the lease so I couldn't help him and The Guy is in meetings in another part of the country and couldn't be reached but the assessor insisted he should call him back "any hour of the day or night".
Really? If you can be reached any hour of the day or night, shouldn't you have gone out to see the car before it was released by the dealer's shop? Just saying. Oh, and am I the only person who when faced by the "I've been doing this job for thirty years" comment wants to yell back: You should have got the hang of it by now OR You're only as good as your last job OR Tell it to Obama!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Allstate: Those hands are mighty expensive

I'm looking at the slightly bedraggled pink peonies I picked out of the yard today. The ones that were knocked to the ground by the 5 minute tempest that blew through last night. And I'm trying to stay calm because in front of them is this year's house insurance bill from Allstate.
The insurance firm's desire to get out of property insurance in certain states has been well-documented - see here, here and here and most damningly here, and they are not writing any new policies on Long Island. If you go online to get a quote from them this is the message you receive "We cannot currently provide an online property insurance quote in the county you have indicated. For more information please contact your local Allstate Agent".
But just refusing to take on new customers isn't enough for Allstate, if you want out there are ways. NYS law doesn't allow insurance providers to cancel more than 4% of their policies in any one year so I'm convinced that they are trying to get existing policy holders to switch to another provider by pricing them out.
Existing home owners would include us. We've been customers for 8 years. Our premiums rose a little for the first four years. Then the increases started to get really big. For the coming year the policy will go up by 30%. Not 3%, which would be in line with inflation, and in other countries where policies are index linked is mandated by law, but THREE ZERO PERCENT! This means that in the four years we have lived here the premium has increased 100%. It's gone from shocking to outrageous to unaffordable.
So what happens if you contact your Allstate agent to complain? He tells you that for the last two months almost every call has been from policyholders complaining about the increase in their premiums. He looks at your deductibles and informs you that there is nothing he can do: you have taken the maximum allowed. He suggests you shop around, because he knows no-one else will take you on as a customer.
So you sadly look at the peonies, feel grateful that this was the only damage sustained yesterday, work out ways you can decrease your outgoings to pay for the insurance and, should there ever be hurricane damage to your house, the $40,000 you will have to pay upfront before Allstate will cut you one check to start rebuilding.