Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cutting the ties that bind

It all started with Allstate, the "You're in good hands people". Long story short we got an escrow analysis notice saying our monthly mortgage payment was going up $71 bucks a month.
What?? We have a fixed mortgage... what gives??

Turns out Allstate- for no particular reason & just for the hell of it decided they would jack up our homeowners insurance rate by 73%.  What???

We've been with them for over 20 years, and never filed on claim. We don't live in an area hit hard by a rash of natural disasters, no reason for such a huge leap. I called them & asked if this was an error.
Nope. I asked to speak with the manager. He was not there. In fact all successive calls later he was never there or available. My last call to them, when I asked to speak with the manager, you guessed it, he was, once again not there.

Is he EVER there? Does he really even exist at all?

No matter, when he could not respond & worked my way up a nationwide chain of command. My calls were bounced from Virginia, to Illinois to the Pacific NW regional manager. Finally, some dude named Josh sent me a letter of explanation. The explanation-- was the rate hike was due to the fact we live in a region.

Ohhh because we live in a region??? If he was going to pull explanations out of his ass, he could have come up with something better, like they consulted the magic 8 ball & the answer was "73% rate hike"
or "Yes".

We had already decided rather than wasting any more time on their pinball method of answering the question, that we should spend our time getting out of their jacked up rate deal.
Worse-- when I called the local office, the clerk tried to up sell me. If I'd just buy more product, maybe I could get our rate down.  Listen lady your company just jacked up our rate by 73%, don't even try to sell me anything right now.

Later she asked Why did we drop our Allstate insurance?
Because if your goal is to raise the rate so high you lose customers, you are doing a great job.
She wanted to go further into it, I cut her off.
You asked a question, I answered it. This part of the conversation is over. I lost my patience & respect for the company. Don't toy with my house being covered & give me some jive answer about a mysterious regional rate hike answer. I just want my prorated refund & that's it.

While we were at it, we were not happy with our State Farm Car insurance guy either. Spitting image for Ned Flanders, complete with occasional religious lectures. Believe me, when your car was double rear ended & totaled on the freeway & you have whiplash, the last thing you want from your insurance agent is to get a religious lecture. You want your rental car & a reasonable settlement.

So we delved into the world of insurance. A surreal place where for-profit companies pretend to care, when really they are only interested in taking your money, but are legally obliged to deal with claims should they come up.

Good Hands, There for you.... pick your slogan, it's all bullshit. What they are good at is adding on little fine print reasons of why & what they won't cover.

So we dumped them both & wound up going with a different company. But even then, the new insurer may demand we put on a new roof ASAP. Great!  Just the thing we want to do in the winter in the Pacific Northwest rain forest, where we get over 50 inches of rain per year. We are currently negotiating having them back off till summer when it makes sense to replace a roof that is not leaking. As far as we are concerned, moss on the roof simply adds another layer of protection! Besides, aren't they doing those newfangled "green roofs" these days? Why can't they just consider us to be ahead of the times & get off our backs?

Damn it! Why is nothing ever easy??

While we were on this rampage, we had been working hard all last year to make much bigger than minimum payments, to break out of the shackles of credit card debt. Just paid off & shut down 3 credit cards.
I was rate surfing, trying to get the best APR interest rate & before long we had all these different bills to pay, dealing with banks we did not even like.

I just put the last card in the shredder. It has been paid off & the account closed.

So goodbye Allstate, State Farm, Bank of America & Capitol One.

We're done!


D W JazzLover said...

Know what you mean!! Went through the same hell.. Now Debt free...and no cards...

nonnie9999 said...

i went through so much shit with allstate, which i told you about before. they say you're in good hands, but they only really offer one finger.

Fran said...

DW~ What a relief it is to get out from under all that.

Nonnie~ Great slogan!

That or "Our hands are in your wallet!"