Friday, May 23, 2008

The next installment in my "Stop the Madness" Campaign

(In really small print beneath the title "Aka Stupid Conversations I have had")

Today I finally got around to calling our insurance company and telling them to remove the vehicle we sold last month from our policy.

The young woman on the other end immediately got tense and I have no idea why. "Are you planning to replace it with another car?"

"No," I replied and explained our campaign to save money.

She grew even tenser. "Well, you do realize that you'll lose the second vehicle discount, right?"

"Uh. Okay. Exactly what does that mean in terms of dollars."

She clicked around on her end and came back with a sum that was twice what I've been paying on our Cutlass. Basically, my six month auto premium went up instead of down

I was sure I'd misunderstood. "Wait. Why am I now paying twice as much on the same car?"

"Well, because you have a teenage driver on it."

"I know how much he cost me before when we had two and that doesn't add up twice the premium."

She grew edgier, as did I, as she explained to me, more or less patiently, that having a young driver on the vehicle was what drove up the price and then asked at the end if "That made sense".

I replied, a lot less patiently, that I understood exactly what she was telling me and added that we sold the Bronco because it was a gas guzzler and planned to save a few dollars on insurance as well. I also told her that being penalized because I only had one car wasn't going to make sense no matter how many times she explained it to me.

I ended the conversation as politely as I could, but there was no question about it; I was an unhappy customer.

I went to my computer and googled for cheaper insurance. I was fifteen minutes and five quotes into my search when the phone rang again.

The suddenly extremely polite insurance person was on the other end.

It seemed she'd forgotten some routine discounts when entering our information and she had a new quote for me. My six month premium was suddenly two hundred dollars less. Would that work?

Yes, I said. That even more of a savings than I'd hoped for. For now, I'll just tuck the quotes aside.

Once upon a time I held tightly to the southern philosophy of being polite unto death (be it yours or the other persons'--doesn't matter if you shoot them or not, only that you were nice about it). I'm embarrassed to confess that I am not good at this anymore. I have to guard against going from zero to a hundred at some representative's expense. I'm quicker to argue, quicker to complain, quicker to demand better service. My patience with getting . . . sorry . . . screwed . . . has run out.

So the good news is, my insurance costs less, but I may have to go practice my southern manners.


Debby said...

Insurance really has got to be the biggest racket, home, auto, all of it. Basically, if I don't get the answer I want to hear, I tell them I'm looking elsewhere. Generally speaking you get the answer you want to hear, or close to it, in pretty short order.

Mary O. Paddock said...

I'm convinced that it is exactly that Debby. The other big "rackets" are electric companies and water companies (Ours is petitioning the state water board to let them raise our bills a 101%--after they raised it 50% a year ago. Our electic company raises their rates every time gas prices go up and we're already paying more for power than the customers in other electric company in the next county over are). Unfortunately they have what we need and they can charge what they want for the service. I'm beyond tired of this and am struggling to stay patient with people who are only trying to do their jobs.

Scotty said...

I'm with you, Mary - I try hard as all get-go to be polite but some folks, some times, just don't warrant that basic civility (well, they do, unless I'm in a mood not to give it, I mean...)


alice said...

I completley understand this loss of patience. I had put it down to aging. (Me, not you!) I am far less tolerent than I used to be. My husband says I am still polite, and very direct. I don't feel it.