Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Insurance Fraud? It Should Be

I'm pissed at my insurance company (and all other companies in general, but this one in particular).

About 2 months ago, my car quit working. I parked it in my driveway, and just let it sit for a while, planning to get it fixed eventually, but not really needing the car right away. So I changed my insurance on it to a Comprehensive plan only, saving myself about $50 a month. Since they had already billed me for the next months service, I had a credit on my account. So far, no big deal.

About one month ago, I was going to rent a car and drive to Canada (which is in itself a long story, and to be told another time). Instead of paying out a ton of money for crappy rental car insurance, I changed my policy back to the original amounts for the weekend only (three days) just to be insured while driving a rental car. They assured me that this would cost about $15 for the weekend. As it turns out, I didn't go to Canada due to a slightly enlarged spleen. But I did change my policy back to the Comprehensive coverage only after the three days, and when I could see straight again.

Two days ago, I got a note from my bank saying that I had $130 in overdraft fees. This certainly annoyed me, especially since I had no idea why I should be paying anything out of that account, since I had a credit in my insurance and no other bills coming due. As it turns out, during those three days, the insurance company sent me a bill for the full coverage amount (and took it out of my bank account since I have automatic payment). Basically, I paid $60 for three days worth of coverage, and then they were nice enough to put another credit on my account.

What really pisses me off is how readily companies will take money out of a bank account, and how much of a fit they will go into when they have to put it back. I know that it isn't the bank's fault, because it is much easier (and takes less clearance) to put money into an account than to take it out. In essence, my insurance company pre-paid themselves for their service that they hadn't performed yet, kept the money as a "credit" on my account when I changed my policy (which is like saying "I'm going to keep this money safe for you, even though technically it's mine"), billed me again, caused me $130 in overdraft fees, but then were nice enough to give me another "credit" for my own money, minus the fees. Sweet. Now that is a deal if I've ever heard of one.

And it isn't just insurance companies that do this: cable companies, cell phones, land lines, etc. Everyone gets paid up front for a service that they haven't performed yet, and may not perform. I think that I am going to try to do this at work. I can imagine how well HR will take it when I tell them that I want my paychecks up front, with no guarantees that I will be working those hours, and any money over the amount that I work will be applied to the next paycheck and not given back to the company. I think that they will like that.

1 Comments:

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Freedom Dumlao said...

I'd bet you can get those overdraft fees back. I work for a bank (as a manager) and if one of my clients told me what happened to you, I'd give them back. Just don't call the 800 number, they are lousy at every bank, and really they tend to say 'NO' more than they have to. I wrote an article that includes info on how to get these back if you want to check it out it's at http://www.freedomdumlao.com/the-truth-about-overdraft-fees

 

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