Insurance. It’s a staple within the realms of responsible personal finance, but one I absolutely despise. I hate the idea of insurance, the process of claiming insurance and generally speaking the companies which offer insurance. Every month I write a $600 check for my families health insurance, I grind my teeth on the way to and from the mailbox. Be that as it may, I understand that without insurance, I’m taking risks I cannot afford to. And so, I currently spend $1,100 on a total of four different insurance policies.
When I turned 18, I started with buying my own auto insurance. After turning 22, I purchased my own health insurance (as my job(s) did not provide it). At 28, I purchased my first home and started paying home owners insurance and one year after that, I purchased a term life insurance policy. During my 13 year insurance career (prior to last month), I’ve filed a total of three claims, and each time, my claim was denied. A brief history …
- Geico Auto Insurance – While at work and my Mustang parked in the parking lot, it was smashed into by a hit and run driver. I had comprehensive and liability insurance (which was the minimum in the state of Florida) and I filed a claim. Of course, because my car was hit by another car, I needed collision insurance, and as such, my claim was denied. $2,200 out of pocket to fix that one.
- Geico Auto Insurance – Four years later, while my beloved Mustang was having it’s breaks fixed and tires changed, I rented a car from the Ford Dealership (through Enterprise). Unfortunately, Enterprise had just three cars available; two mini-vans and a pick-up truck, so I rented the truck. While driving it through the parking garage, I swiped a cement support beam trying to park the truck into my very small apartment parking spot. Having used my Visa to rent the truck, I figured I was covered … nay nay. Credit card rental car insurance coverage only exists for standard two door and four door sedans. It does not include luxury cars, vans or … PICK UP TRUCKS. A wonderful $4,200 lesson.
- Progressive Home Owners Insurance – I moved to Connecticut, from Miami in 2012 and three months later, we were hit by Hurricane Sandy. Heavy, heavy winds knocked up against our house and I thought we survived with nothing more than a refrigerator that frizzed out from a power surge (a $400 control panel fix). Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that the flu to our fireplace cracked, because when my wife and I lit a fire a week later, we nearly burned the house down. We immediately reported the damage to our insurance company, who sent an adjuster out to view the damage, along with a “chimney expert”. In what was no surprise to me, our claim was denied, as the expert suggested that the wind likely didn’t cause the damage, but poor workmanship when the fireplace was constructed. Keep in mind we had used this fireplace a few times before without incident, and the house was built in 2006. That $9,000 worth of damage has yet to be fixed, so we look at it everyday with “what could be”. But hey, on the bright side my home-owners insurance policy went up 50% after the Hurricane, so at least my insurance company didn’t walk away empty handed.
Progressive Auto Insurance Review (A+)
Fast forward. My wife and daughter were visiting friends in Miami and were due back home at 11:30 at night. My job was to pick them up from the airport, a trip that generally takes 40 minutes. Ten minutes into the trip, while driving north on Route 9 (a two lane highway), a deer ran from the woods, into my lane of traffic (the right lane). I had a split second decision to make, either slow the car down from my current 65 MPH rate of speed, swerve left into the other lane, or swerve right into the shoulder / brush.
I chose not to swerve, and simply smashed the brakes. The deer ran, but ran too late as I hit the back half of her with the left side of my vehicle. Smashed is how I would describe the vehicle after impact, with the hood of my 2012 Kia Forte one foot higher than it should have been (level with the windshield). I pulled over to assess the damage and to my amazement, even though the card looked terrible, the tire was fine, the car had complete control, and nothing was leaking (although the headlight was dragging on the ground). I tucked the headlight next to the engine (Ha!) and motored on the airport.
For those wondering why I didn’t turn around and go home, or call for a tow (and report the crash, and accident), I don’t own a cell phone and both my wife and daughter were sick coming from Miami. We own just this one car, and with it being so late at night, I had no other way to get them home. I trudged on. Making it to the airport, I loaded my family into the Forte and we slowed drove home. After getting home, I called Progressive to report the accident. The claims agent took down all of my information and informed me I would get a call from the adjuster in the morning with more details.
The next morning, I received that call and we agreed that the car should be towed to a Progressive Service Center for inspection and repair (the next morning, the car was leaking fluids). Hours later, the car was towed and I received an email from my adjuster with all of the next steps. A few days later, I received an email with the estimate on the damage ($7,000) and the estimated day it would be fixed.
Over the next two weeks, my adjuster routinely checked in with me to update the progress on my vehicle, and a day before the estimated completion date, I was called and told the car was read y to be picked up. In my Enterprise rental car (I never learn), we drove to the Service Station to pick up my very tough 2012 Kia Forte. At the Progressive Service Station we were treated to free hot chocolate, individually wrapped Rice Krispies Treats and even some to take home. The visit took no more than 10 minutes from start to finish to get in and get out, and I happily paid my $500 deductible. As an added bonus, we planned to drop our rental car back at the Enterprise we picked it up from, but Progressive said they have an Enterprise kiosk, and we could leave the car there.
From start to finish, the process really could not have been smoother, and in this particular case, I’m very thankful I have Progressive as my auto insurance provider. I’ve taken advantage of their Snapshot program, and now I’ve seen what it’s like to finally have an insurance claim accepted. Feels much better to write a small check at the end of the day rather than a large one.
Do you have an experience with Progressive auto insurance that you’d like to share below?