Insurance Companies: my experience and conclusions…

Insurance, especially car insurance are obligatory now a days. All goes well until you have a big accident.

In my experience as a driver, I had a run over, a hit and run and 2 big losses (insurance was a full coverage plan). Next I will explain each case and how it was handled by the insurance company.

1. A drunken girl ran out to the street i was driving by, she rolled over my windshield and broke it with her butt. Police and the insurance guy did all the paperwork and took pictures. The next day, I was offered legal services (included in my insurance plan) to represent me in court, I won. All went well, however when I claimed for the windshield replacement, the insurance company simply told me that they will not pay for it. I had to take money out of my pocket to pay for the new windshield, but also had to pay the insurance $300.00 fee for their assistance which was never returned to me when the case was closed as they told me.

2. Hit and Run: After having dinner in a restaurant, when i got to the car i noticed that the rear bumper was falling, the tire was completely destroyed, and the whole right side of the car was just a mess, including the door. In the building where my car was parked outside, some guys saw what happened and came down to assist me and give me the pictures they took of the garbage truck that had hit my car and was gone a few minutes later.

When i went to the Insurance company, the fee i had to pay was 700.00. It took them more than a month to send me the tow truck to pick up my car and take it to the repair shop to fix it. MORE THAN A MONTH. The lawyer was visiting the offices of the Trash Authority (Autoridad de Aseo), yet he never found the truck that hit me. How is it possible that you can not see records of what truck worked that day, on a night shift in that area? The trucks have no registration plate number, however, they have some numbers painted the red which distinguish them (those numbers appear in the photos given by the witnesses), to which people in their office said that it is not a license plate number and they cannot find the truck. After several months of dealing with this nonsense mess, neither the insurance company nor their lawyer could do anything. Within months the car was fixed and returned to me, and months later I suffered a big accident, lost the car and they had to pay me the the sum insured.

3. When i bought another car, I got a full coverage plan with other company, Payed the whole year in advance ($960.00).

When I suffered another big accident on a sunday night crashing into a truck that was parked in a curve without any lights (police sanctioned the owner), the ambulance took me to the hospital and the car was taken to a lot owned by police. When I recovered from my injuries, I went to the insurance company to deal with the case and it was another nonsense adventure to get my car out of that lot and take it to one of the company lots with their tow truck. I had to pay all the expenses for the days the car was there (approx. 70.00), the insurance did not covered it. From there, the car was declared a total loss, the process was long and tedious, I was treated like I was guilty, they did all the research trying not to pay me the sum insured. When they were proven that it was not my fault, it took them 3 months to pay me. The car had used only six months of the insurance but they did not return me the other six months of the insurance that i had paid and would not need anymore, and still i had to pay another fee for assistance. Lesson learned: Never pay full year in advance.

4. Currently I have another car which is insured with a third company, full coverage that costed me 1,000 which i have been paying every 2-3 months. As my payment method was different this time, sometimes payed a couple of months in advance, another month i was late, i went to their office one day and asked them if it was ok to be late for a month cause i was planning to pay the rest of the insurance the next month, they told me not to worry, as long as it was completely payed by the month it expires. A week later, I started receiving calls from my broker and the company claiming that I was late in paying and the insurance will be suspend and then cancelled. I explained what I had been told in their offices but both, the company and and the broker cleaned their hands telling me that I was the one who had misunderstood everything. I have never been sent an account statement or monthly email reminder as other companies do. This month this insurance finally expires.

Conclusions: I decided to hire another company, the minimum insurance required by law which will cost me only 150.00 per year, driving carefully and parking in safe places. If I have an accident, I prefer to assume the costs that will be lower than the full-coverage plan and their fees together, and most importantly, the process would not be so stressful and would be much faster.

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