Sunday, February 1, 2009

Comprehensive garbage

I think insurance companies need some lessons in English. Last time I looked, the word comprehensive meant something like: everything. I was under the impression when you took out comprehensive insurance everything was covered.

Let’s see, comprehensive: according to my thesaurus – complete, inclusive, full, all-inclusive, across-the-board, broad, ample, wide-ranging.

On the weekend we did some gardening. This included some whipper-snipping. [An activity using a mechanical, petrol-driven device which rapidly spins a thin nylon cord around and cuts off weeds/trims edges] Grass, weeds and debris went flying! Unfortunately so did a couple of stones, their trajectory brutally terminated by the liquid silica barriers in our station wagon. That’s right folks: glass was broken. And not just one screen, oh no, TWO were broken.

Oh joy! I didn’t panic though, we have comprehensive insurance. HAH! We had been putting up with a crack in the front windscreen for quite some time so I thought we may as well claim all three on said insurance.

This morning I rang the insurance company to discuss it. We have a good insurance company; it’s through our wonderful bank. [Just a moment whilst I remove my tongue from my cheek]

The poor sweet boy who answered my call blithely told me that on our COMPREHENSIVE insurance policy, windscreens were an optional extra. Oh, we could still claim them on our insurance policy but we would have to pay the $400 excess.

WHAT!?! I said to him that I didn’t think the Department of Transport considered my windscreens an optional extra when assessing the roadworthiness of my vehicle. What was that about comprehensive? But as we had three to replace could he tell me how to go about it.

He passed my on to the person who could tell me how to proceed with my claim.

Next in the firing line: a young girl who confirmed the above conversation. She also asked “how did I break THREE windscreens? Was it all at the same time?”

Now, I must admit, alarm bells did tinkle in the nether reaches of my mind but I was raised to be truthful. The lessons are still imprinted on my behind and other parts of my body – mother was a stern disciplinarian. Lying was not an option. If you lied, the hiding was worse. So I told her a brief version of the story. She replied “well that’s two claims and you’ll have to pay excess on both”.

You pay insurance companies thousands of dollars over the years, so that if something goes wrong you have help. You don’t make any claims for years. Then when you need them, they say only if you pay twice and if you are lucky. Geez, if anyone else were to do that it would be called fraud.

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