The Great American Scam

This weekend we’re staying at my wife’s aunt and uncle’s in Omaha, NE. They live in a pretty nice neighborhood and right across the street from the Zebra pen of the Henry Doorly Zoo. But for some reason, last night someone thought it would be funny to smash the driver’s door window of my wife’s car in. It would seem simple enough to fix this, but we have insurance so it became a huge mess. First we called the police and were told that they would get back to us in 36 hours (I’m figuring they won’t do a thing, but we have to call them for our insurance company). Nice turn around, guys; it’s a rainy day, so we took pictures and covered the window. They’ll have to deal with that because I’m not waiting for them to show up and have the upholstery ruined. We got a call a couple of hours later telling us the police department was handing it over to “the investigators”. Sounds like bureaucratic nonsense to me.
Then I called the insurance company and found out that since the damage is only around $200 dollars, they won’t cover the damages (our deductible is $250). That’s great. We pay $75 a month for what? Oh, right, because the state of Iowa requires it. If we would have taken that $75 and stored it in a savings account over the last 8 months we’ve had the insurance on her car, we would have had enough money to pay for the damages. Instead, we have to pay $75 this month PLUS the additional $200 to the insurance company’s preferred auto glass company (which means they probably get a kickback from that as well). Sounds to me like I’m in the wrong business… I need to get into the legal scam business.
To top it all off, none of the “preferred auto glass” companies are open today (Sunday) or tomorrow (Memorial Day) so we have to wait until we get home to fix this which means a 4 hour drive with a plastic window.

9 Replies to “The Great American Scam”

  1. This may sound stupid, but if they’re not going to pay for it anyway, do you really need to be subject to their whims of auto-glass companies?

  2. @dave: no, he doesn’t. only damages covered by the insurance have to be done at "authorized" shops.

    and the insurance companies usually don’t get kickbacks, but they get a heavy discount on repair costs. which only affects them if they have to pay, i.e. larger repairs.

    don’t know your state’s legislature, but normally, required insurances are in place for the benefit of others YOU might harm using the car. just think of getting totalled by someone without the money to pay your damages… not nice

  3. I have to go to the auto-glass company my insurance company wants me to go to so the warranty is covered by them.

  4. If you are paying $75/month, you must be paying for full coverage. If you don’t want to pay that much, just get a limited liability policy and save the difference like you say in your post.

  5. Tell me how much of a "scam" compulsary insurance is when your car is totaled, or a loved one seriously injured, by an uninsured driver… or when you do the reverse to someone else and get sued for medical expenses and damages that keep you in debt for decades.

    And just to give ya a little perspective, $75 a month for a $250 deductible is the lowest price for car insurance I’ve ever heard. That’s because I’m in the northeast where these things cost 3 to 10 times more, and a deductible below $1000 for anybody under 30 is a fantasy.

    If you want to be prepared for little crap like this, throw an extra 20 bucks a month into a ‘car incidentals’ fund – and count yourself lucky as still paying FAR less than anybody in my state or any state that touches it…

  6. Most insurance companies won’t tell you this, but it usually only costs a couple extra dollars a month to get full-coverage with 0 deductible. You should look in to it.

  7. Interesting, I have and aunt who lives close to the Zoo in Omaha (L Street and 22nd). And they have this problem every once in a while (smashed windows)…
    I guess that cameras would be helpful here…

    Sorry to hear it happened to you..


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