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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Insurance

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

Somehow the word insurance is beginning to have a different meaning to me after the events of a few weeks ago. You know what insurance is, the premiums you pay are just a long term pay out for the money you may receive. You pay out a couple of thousand a year for your home owners policy and as long as you donít have a claim then everything stays about the same. Put in a claim and watch those old premiums rise to take in to account what the company paid out for your claim. Iím not aware that anyone out there gives you any credit for the years of premium you paid without having any claims.

Anyway, here is my sad story. A few weeks ago, I dropped one of my sons off at a local store to buy some diapers for my granddaughter. I am pulling through the parking lot about to drive back to the front of the store to get my son, when a car starts backing out into the moving lane of traffic. I canít back up since there is a car directly behind me. I didnít honk since I thought the driver was looking before he continued to back up.

That was my mistake; he just keeps on going and plows into the front of my car. I jump out and look over the damage, thinking he has stopped and is coming back to see what he hit. Not so, he has driven off and is about two miles away when I catch up with him at a red light. I honk several times to get his attention and he finally rolls down his window. I tell him I need for him to pull over so I can get his insurance information since he just backed into the front of my car.

He tells me... ďNo, Iím not going to give you anything, I drive a big car and you should have been able to see me.Ē I told him that you canít back up in a moving lane of traffic and that he needed to pull over. He looked over and saidÖ ďIím not going to give you anything, thatís your faultÖĒ and roars off down the road.

Now, I got his license plate number and call it into the local police as a hit and run. I have yet to hear anything from them. I donít look for them to do anything about this.

I call my local insurance agent and tell them what happened. They give me a toll free number to call in the claim. I do this and then wait.

And I wait. And then I wait some more. In the meantime, I look up the owner of the car through some public databases and find that the driver is 93 years old. I am very glad I didnít get into a physical confrontation with him as I think it would bad to be physical with some 93 year old guy regardless of what he had done to my car. I was able to get his name, date of birth, license number, description of his car, address and phone number. Then I call all of this in to my insurance company for them to use.

Then I wait. Then I wait some more. In the mean time my car looks bad, so I bite the bullet and take it in and get it repaired. The total came to something like $565.00. I call my insurance company again. They tell me that it if I make a claim for this, my deductible is going to be $500, so that means Iíd get a check for a whopping $65 for my trouble. If they are able to find the driver and get his insurance to pay, then I might (note the word, might) get the entire $565.00 back if they placed a claim against the other drivers policy. However they didnít know if they were going to do that or not. I asked them what was the next step and they said they had to assign it to an investigator of claims agent to see if they could find the driver of the other vehicle. I explained that I had in fact, given them all they needed including the guys name, address and phone number. They claimed they didnít have that in my file and so I had to repeat it once again.

I asked what they were going to do with the information I gave them and they saidÖ ďWeíll send him a letter and ask him to pay for the damage.Ē

Hello? I hardly think a 93 year that drives off and refuses to give out any information is going to just roll over and write me a check. The bottom line here is I donít think anything will happen, much less me ever seeing any part of the $565.00 I spent to get my car fixed.

So, that means I paid for coverage that doesnít help, called the police who havenít done anything, gathered all the information necessary to identify the driver who hit me, placed a claim and paid for all of my repairs.

There seems to be a breakdown in this situation and Iíll just bet it happens to many of us each and every day and unfortunately there doesnít seem to be much we can do about it.

Must be a lesson in here, but Iím having a hard time figuring out just what it is.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

January 16, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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