The Secret That Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know

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The Recap
A few weeks back I wrote up a post about how my car was broken into and $1500 worth of stereo and video equipment was stolen out of it. The first thing I did was call the police station, who clearly had bigger fish to fry, and just gave me a case number to relay to Geico. Geico in turn said they covered the car itself, not the products IN the car, and offered to pay for my broken back window.
They sent me on my way and told me to call my homeowners insurance of Allstate.I figured both of them would be able to come up with the $1500 total I had taken from me from my own driveway. Allstate said they would cover everything, as long as I paid my $750 deductible first. I figured that was better than nothing, and started to list off my things stolen, one of which was NOT my stereo. My stereo is $750 itself, making the remaining $750 what my deductible would cover. Basically, take a hike.

This is where my story continues from the previous post…

So I figured I was being nice to Geico by not claiming the “small stuff” that they perpertraitors did to my car. They first tried to get in with a coat hanger, resulting in a few scratches in the middle of the window on both passenger side windows. Secondly I didn’t claim the chips to my paint when they pried the window out with a screwdriver on both the passenger side windows.

I called Geico back a second time to no avail as they sent me back to Allstate.

Third time I asked to speak to a supervisor and was sent packing and told to call the next day.

Finally some resolve
Finally, on the fourth call back I got a person that was willing to hear me out. I mentioned to them that they took my after-market stereo (and I knew they’d say it wasn’t covered) and so I told them I wanted to be compensated for the FACTORY stereo system that was in there originally; they obliged. Gee, thanks.

Next I told them that since they wouldn’t cover the after market video and stereo that I was going to bring up the scratches I found the next day, as it was dark when I originally saw it. They said I didn’t report it originally, and I said that I didn’t notice it until the window repairguy pointed them out when they fixed my window. They told me to go in to an assessor a week later.

When I got to the assessor, I showed every scuff and scratch that they caused, no matter how small, knowing I wouldn’t repair them because THAT stuff didn’t matter to me, the big stuff was the stuff that mattered. YOU try driving around with 2 toddlers and not having to turn around every 50 seconds to give them a new toy. That DVD system was a blessing from above! Feel free to insert your bad parenting quip here.

Anyway, they paid me nearly the $1500 in scratches and dings that I wasn’t going to say anything about, and nearly making up the cost. I didn’t fix the scuffs, I fixed the stereo equipment. Long story shortened to 2 words. “Call back.” Or maybe “be persistent.” Either way, stick to your guns. They’re not going to GIVE you money, they’re running a business too. My mother told me about a 60 minutes episode she watched a while back saying that insurance companies hired people originally to give an initial “no” to everyone that called. It makes sense because 80% of the people would just take it in the short and not call back, saving the insurance company $$$.

Item of note
If you get aftermarket equipment installed in your car, be SURE to call your insurance company immediately and tell them to insure it. They won’t ask you initially if you have aftermarket parts until you get it ripped off once. Another good business practice I guess.

Filed Under: adviceCompensationDebtfinancial educationFrugalInsurance