Why I Love Getting Billed For Auto Insurance (No, Seriously!)
When it comes to enjoyable activities, paying bills ranks right up there with contracting the flu and tearing off a toenail. However, I was recently reminded of why auto insurance is one of the monthly debits I actually don’t mind.
During a recent wintry evening, the wife and I were finishing up work at the coffee shop of our local bookstore when we noticed it was snowing. Not having a clear idea of when the precipitation had started, we figured it was time to pack up and get moving. I was out ahead of her car by a quarter of a mile or so when she called.
I picked up the phone to hear the sobs stuck in her throat and knew it was time to turn around. Through what I was sure were tears she said that someone had just hit her.
I turned the car around and was on the scene in about two minutes.
Most of the wrecks that I’ve experienced in my lifetime were in parking lots or intersections. I’ve never had a wreck that was my fault, and all of them had some outlet where I wasn’t the centerpiece of attention — where I could pull away from traffic and take care of business.
This was the first time I found myself parked in the middle of a four-lane sea of twisted metal trying to make sense of things as rows of angry, honking cars passed. I realized rather quickly my wife was okay — her nerves were just rattled, as were everyone else’s. (It was a three-car accident.)
As details began to emerge, it came out that she’d been in her lane going at a reasonable speed when a car from the oncoming traffic hit a patch of ice and skidded across the highway, slamming into her vehicle, which knocked her into the wrong lane where she struck another oncoming vehicle.
Soon, the chaos became a little easier to understand, and I had enough information to give our insurer a call. Taking a cue from that call, here are the main reasons I love paying my bill:
Within 10 minutes, I had a representative on the phone, in spite of the fact that it was past the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. operating hours. I’m not sure when or for how long companies have offered 24/7 service, but it’s a life saver.
Once I got on the phone with my representative, she patiently walked me through the accident, asking relevant questions as needed, until the full picture started to emerge. If there was something for which I had no answer, she didn’t sweat it, only setting my mind at ease and moving on to the next item. Furthermore, she continually repeated the information back to me so I could make any corrections or clarifications along the way.
When we were finished, she arranged for a towing service to come take my wife’s car and pinpointed the place where the car would be and when it would be there. She also told me when I could expect the phone call from my towing service, and I got it, right on the dot.
The next day, a claims representative — the one the rep from the night before had told me about — called my wife’s number and got the rest of the details from her. This was a weekend, and by Monday evening, my wife had a rental car and the full details of what to expect regarding her car’s fate — whether it would be totaled or fixable, where it would be, when to expect a call with an estimate, etc.
Now, some may say, “Nothing new here. That’s what an insurance company is supposed to do. It’s what you’re paying for!”
Yes, that’s true. But how often do customers forget? Auto insurance too often becomes just another bill, or just another creditor out to take more of “our” money while offering nothing in return.
We will all experience some need for auto insurance to varying degrees within the span of a lifetime, and when a company delivers on its promises, that’s peace of mind to which it’s hard assigning value. All I know is that when we found ourselves frozen in the middle of that snowy four-lane, our world was frozen along with us. But thanks to this particular bill, life has gotten back to normal. That’s something that can’t be said for every check I sign each month.