Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bad Day, Part 2

Why? Why am I paying money for services that don't support me when I need them? Why do I pay for a locked garage that lets people break into my car anyway? Why do I pay such high rent to a place that has no actual security and a front desk that can't answer basic questions or provide basic assistance in an emergency to residents? Why do I pay for insurance that uses a new math to turn my $250 deductible in to $420+ out of pocket expenses (and I'm not done replacing what was stolen)? Why do people try to rip me off?

It turns out that my stolen back-pack and said contents are not covered by my auto insurance. Instead, they are covered by my renter's insurance (which is with the same company). I also decided to get my windshield replaced (since it's had a crack all the way across for a while now) while I was getting my driver's side window repaired. For those keeping track at home, that's three claims in one day, two of which were for the same incident. None of the associates I talked to today reminded me that each claim had it's own deductible. So instead of this mess costing me $250, it could have potentially cost me $750 dollars. The insurance company will pay me absolutely nothing, especially since my backpack theft is so conveniently covered by a different policy and therefore doesn't bring the cost of the incident above my deductible, which is effectively $500 for the incident (I'm kind of pissed about the windshield, too, because if I'd realized the deductible was per claim instead of per year like it is with health insurance - way to be consistent with terminology, insurance industry - I wouldn't have bothered. But I was honest about it being a separate incident. Honesty is costly).

On top of that, the glass repair center I went to wanted to charge me the full deductible for both glass repairs, despite the fact that each repair cost less than the deductible. I refused. He dumped the claim forms in the trash. I paid the actual cost, which was still more than my cost would have been had it been covered by a single claim.

I called my insurance agent to ask why my insurance costs me so freakin' much if it doesn't actually, you know, help me. Turns out, I was only saving $14 a month by having a deductible. You better believe my deductible is now zero. I reduced other things to bring down my cost, but I'm still paying a ludicrous amount. I refuse to go through this B.S. again. It will now take me fifteen years to pay the insurance company as much money as I lost on this.

The windshield and the window I can almost understand (though it still makes me angry). But why on earth does a single incident require two separate claims? The bag was not stolen from my apartment. It was stolen from my car.

And now I'll have the two insurance agents who read this telling me why this is all a perfectly legal shell game.

So tell me: does the fact that I made three claims that will pay me nothing still count against my premium? Because I don't feel like getting robbed again just because I did what I thought I was supposed to do. Being punished for being a good person is starting to wear a little thin.

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So, my Dad forwarded me an e-mail about the horrors of keeping a GPS in your car - i.e., making yourself a target for criminals who can then use said GPS to find your home and steal even more stuff. I think such tales severely over-estimate the intelligence of criminals.

Case in point: I got to my car this morning to find my driver's side door smashed. I had a car charger plugged into my cigarette lighter, but nothing plugged into the charger. The moron who broke in ripped the charger out of the lighter (but left it behind), couldn't figure out how to open my center console and so only found a tire gauge and some AAA batteries in the top layer, didn't even bother looking in the glove compartment as far as I could tell (the GPS wasn't in there, either. Just the mount. It would take someone many, many valuable minutes to find where I hid that thing. It was still where I put it.), and - in hopes of getting something for all his hard work - stole my 15-year-old backpack where I keep my basketball shoes (size 3 1/2) and football gloves (children's small). There was also an X-Files long-sleeve shirt in there, but I have two of those anyway. I'm sure he'll have plenty of use for those things. If he's eight. :P Moron.

Oh, but the fun does not stop there, friends! No, no. I went to the front desk of my apartment and told them what happened. The guy at the desk (who's wearing a badge labeled "Security") just kind of shrugged and blinked at me like "what do you want me to do?" So I called 911, then asked the guy at the desk if there was a vacuum cleaner I could use to clean out my car or if he knew a number I could call to get it fixed. Again, shrug and blink. Frustrated, I went back upstairs to take care of police and insurance reports. When the police officer asked me if there was security at my apartment, I laughed and cried. My insurance put me on a call back list, so I went back downstairs to ask AGAIN for a vacuum cleaner, because surely maintenance has something, right?

The guy at the front desk was not happy to see me. He looked about ready to yell at me, then thought better of it and instead said something about everybody has their job and he's just security. That set me off. "Yes, you're security, and I'm telling you that my car has been broken into but you act like you don't give s#!$." Yes, I said the word. Out loud. With a raised voice. I pay $50 a month to park in a locked garage to prevent just this sort of thing from happening, and I pay a hefty rent that goes toward paying this guy to sit at the front desk. I've worked those sorts of jobs. I know it's not exciting and I don't envy dealing with unhappy customers. But I had been calm up to that point and, it seems to me, reasonable in my expectations of help of SOME kind. Your job, dude, is to help the people who live here. Never mind that the word "Security" on your shirt implies that you should have some interest when a resident experiences a breach of security. You shouldn't hear someone say "my car got broken into" and act like they just said it's cold outside.

Anyway, he disappeared into the back and came out with the head of maintenance, who was considerably more helpful. He even gave me a cushion to sit on so that I could drive my car the short distance required to get within reach of their shop vac. My car is now cleaner than it has been in months. I now have a plastic bag for a window. Hopefully, I can get that taken care of this afternoon and still have time to buy new basketball shoes before practice tonight.

But if you see anyone wearing a small pair of blue and white basketball shoes and carrying an old black backpack, let me know.

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