Monday, January 28, 2008

Our insurance company dillemma

Heather and I have been faithful Erie Insurance customers for years. How many years? I am at over 10 years and Heather is at over 12 years. Neither of us have ever shopped around for another insurance carrier. With Erie, I have been in 3 accidents, none my fault. They fought for me against the likes of State Farm, Nationwide, and Allstate who wanted to give me non manufacturer parts...and always won. Why is this important to me? First, the company stood up for me. Second, after market parts are not tested for safety regardless of what those insurance companies try to claim. How can you prove that the after market bumper will stand up to the same crashes that the manufacturer's will? Where is that data? It does not exist.

Well, now to my dilemma. Heather and I got a "survey" from Erie with a letter that led us to believe they wanted to find out information about our usage to ensure that they were not overcharging us. So, we both read it and talked about it before sending the survey in. We thought the company was trying to save us money and having been customers for over 10 years, we trusted that. Well, less than 2 weeks later we got a new bill and new policy information saying they used the information in our policy to change the classification of one of our vehicles and increase our yearly cost $70 effective immediately. It so happens that we have two cars, one worth half the other according to Wake County and the Blue Book value. The one that is worth half is now costing us about 15% more per year. Hmmm...

I am not sure how we were expected to take this change. The way we did take it however was a betrayal of trust as the survey said nothing about automatically increasing our policy and allowing them to make more money. The other part of our dilemma is that we have 3 policies with Erie. Do we change them all? Do we keep Erie because of the good experiences in the past? Checking rates, we can save money using other insurance companies. But, I have had such a good experience with that worth the money?

I called our Insurance Agent that I initially had found through referral of my agent in Pittsburgh on Thursday and am still waiting to hear back from them. I have referred over half a dozen people to this insurance agency since being in NC. If I change agents, I feel like I need to tell everyone I referred to them about this to. Its not the agents fault...but an insurance agent can be pulled down by the insurance company they represent.

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