Safe driver gets the runaround from her insurance company
To the Editor:
In the debates about solutions to health care insurance issues, one idea which has been presented to reduce health care costs is to reward safe and healthy living habits. Here is an abbreviated example of how this idea has worked for us in the area of automobile insurance.
We have a number 1 insurance rating and have received bonus checks from the insurance company for safe driving. In May of last year we had an out of state, not at fault, rollover accident caused entirely by tread separation of one tire. In addition to physical injury requiring emergency and subsequent care, our truck and camper were totaled. The camper, used primarily for out of state medical trips, was insured separately from our auto policy. Months later, with the assistance of a UAW Legal Services Plans attorney we received payment for the camper. In the case of our truck it has now been over a year without payment for our vehicle from the insurance company. Within days after the accident the insurance company requested our vehicle be transferred to their preferred facility. Our vehicle was picked up on one day but did not arrive at the insurer's preferred facility until the following day with no explanation of where it was during that time. Property, which included a substantial amount of mechanic's tools, turned up missing from our truck. A report was filed with authorities. We have not received payment for these missing items.
Care of our truck was well documented and included repairs done under an extended warranty. Features of our truck and equipment were supported with documents and/or photographs. Our UAW attorney negotiated a payment for our truck and a payment toward the missing property with a supervisor of the insurance company in March. The insurance company, on two occasions, has requested we sign differing power of attorney forms, each containing inaccurate information. Signing of either document by us would carry a risk of third degree felony. The insurance company requested we sign over our title to them and sent two unauthorized checks to us with inappropriate wording. There was no official record of these checks on an ordered C.L.U.E. claim detail report pertaining to the accident. As of this writing we have not received valid authorized checks for payment of our truck or missing property. We retain the title, although our vehicle remains at the insurer's preferred facility and we have had no use of it for over a year.
If this is the kind of insurance treatment given to safe drivers with a well maintained vehicle, can we expect better from health insurance reforms that would claim rewards for those who have, as yet undefined, safe and health living habits?