Thursday, 20 April 2006

The bottom of the heap

Well, in case I needed a reminder as to how slimy insurance companies are:
I got the forms from the credit card's insurance company today, with the aim being to file a claim (as I am perfectly entitled to) to cover me for my damaged guitar.
Needless to say, I don't expect much of the insurance company; basically, I expect them to say they will not pay me because of negligence on my side. They would be right, but then again that's the purpose of the insurance policy in the first place, and they have just enough in the way of policy disclaimers to be able to get away with it.
Anyway, the forms I have received today have two problems in them.
The first is a bit of a paradox: They ask me to send them the credit card statement, while also stating that statements printed through the internet are invalid. This will pose a bit of a problem, since their policy also says I have to file my claim within 30 days, and the statement will not be received for the next 40 days.
The second problem is pure insurance delight: In order to file a "legal" claim, I have to have a "certified" entity estimate the guitar and the damage done to it. They don't really say what "certified" means; if it was up to me, I would gladly certify Jo to do it. I guess any guitar repair shop will do, but that will lead me toward another problem: The guitar repair shop that will do it will ask money for doing it, and nowhere in the insurance policy does the insurance company say that they will reimburse me for that expense. Worse, in my particular case the cost of assessment will probably be in the vicinity of the guitar's cost ($150). I'm saying this out of experience: Three years ago a removalist dropped my mobile air-conditioner and broke it; I claimed against their insurance, and they forced me to get an assessment at the cost of more than $200 (although in that case the estimator had to pay me a visit). The difference was that I was fully reimbursed for those $200.

Overall, this affair goes to show that you don't really get much in the way of freebies nowadays. Both the bank issuing me the credit card and the insurance company they have associated with are, to put it bluntly, scum.
And so I can only reaffirm my old opinion that insurance agents are down there at the bottom of the pile together with real estate agents. And I also learnt that those credit card insurance policies are pretty useless unless you really have some major item at stake.
I do not plan to let this pass by, though: I will gladly torture the insurance company with questions over their processes - I specialize in that. And then there will probably be another stage of complaint letters to the bank telling them of my opinion on their "excellent" insurance products. My revenge will be the time they waste on me.

P.S. Before you say so: I know $150 is not a lot; but for me it's the principle that counts. As I said before, this is a test case to see how worthy is that credit card insurance policy (and obviously you could see I'm not really impressed).

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