Progressive sucks

This Tumblr post doesn’t surprise me at all. This poor guy’s sister was killed in a car accident and Progressive didn’t want to pay what it owed her estate.

At the trial, the guy who killed my sister was defended by Progressive’s legal team.
If you are insured by Progressive, and they owe you money, they will defend your killer in court in order to not pay you your policy.

Rick & I had Progressive for our auto insurance once upon a time. The circumstances of Rick’s accident were far less tragic than this one, but Progressive still tried to screw us.

It was a simple fender bender. Rick was heading to work in the new-to-us used pickup he’d bought less than a week earlier. Because he was still getting used to the manual transmission in it he killed it right as he was about to pull out of the parking spot on the street. The front left fender was sticking out about a foot or less into the street. The chick who hit him was speeding down our 30 MPH street and she hit the corner of the truck and scraped the hell out of her car. Besides Rick’s story of what happened there was also an independent witness who came over and said he’d seen it and gave Rick his info. The front bumper of the truck was bent out in such a way that according to the laws of physics the force to bend it came from behind and pushed it forward, you know, like as if a car had hit it and scraped along it.

Our insurance company, Progressive, said Rick was not at fault and would therefore not pay for the repairs on her car. She didn’t like this. She insisted that Rick had pulled out and rammed into her despite the impartial witness and the fact that if Rick had been the one to hit her the bumper wouldn’t be bent the way it was. Because she wasn’t going to get any money out of our insurance company this girl decided to get her justice the American way – she took Rick to small claims court.

We weren’t worried about the case. After all, the facts were on our side as was the insurance company. When we talked to Progressive about it to try to get any documentation from them that we could they assured us that not only would they provide it, but they would have a representative there in court to present Progressive’s findings in Rick’s defense. They also assured us that they would stand by their ruling of no fault and if the case did go against us they would pay, not us.

The court date was coming up when we received notification from Progressive that they had determined that we weren’t insured at the time of the accident and therefore they were under no obligation to help us out in court.

What. The. Fuck?!

First they said it was because we hadn’t called them to add the truck to our policy before Rick had the accident. We’d had the truck less than a week, had the proof of that, and here in Minnesota you have 30 days to notify your insurer when you get a new vehicle. (That may have changed, but this was over 10 years ago and that was the rule then!). Progressive said, “Yes, that’s true, but you never insured the previous car you bought & that one went past the 30 days, so we have no obligation for this one.” The previous car we “bought” we’d actually been given and it ran for less than two weeks. It wasn’t parked on a public street and it wasn’t being driven. Had we called them to insure it we would have been told that we didn’t need to.

So Rick headed off to court with no back up from Progressive. Because of that the case was essentially a “he said, she said” kind of case. The girl was moderately cute and the judge chose to believe her. We ended up with a judgement against us for a couple thousand dollars that we were on the hook for.

Luckily one of the people Rick told this story to shortly after the court date knew a little more than us and, more importantly, knew the name and phone number of the state insurance commissioner. Rick called him, gave him the story, and he pretty much immediately said Progressive was wrong. “Let me give them a call,” he said.

Less than an hour later we got a call from Progressive saying they had reviewed our case and discovered that they’d made an error and that we were insured at the time of the accident after all. No mention of the insurance commissioner, of course. I guess it was just a coincidence that they happened to review the case right after he called. We were covered and they paid the court ordered amount instead of us. We switched companies when our next renewal came up and didn’t give Progressive another thought.

Well, not until we tried to buy a house, that is. When we were running our credit for the mortgage approval we were told that we wouldn’t be able to get any kind of a loan until Rick cleared up the court judgement that was on record against him. Yup, the small claims case. When Progressive paid the girl the money she’d won in court they just issued a check right to her instead of submitting it to the court. So even though she’d been paid, it was still on record as unsettled. Luckily when I sent her the forms she needed to fill out she did it immediately so we didn’t have to spend too much time dealing with that, but if she hadn’t cooperated god only knows how much time & money we would have had to spend getting that cleared up.

Like I said, definitely not on the same tragic level as this guy’s loss of his sister, but it was enough to make me leave Progressive and never look back.

Oh, and our current insurance? State Farm. When we were in the accident in April 2011 we got the check for the totaled car within a week. We also never had to pay a single dollar for the medical expenses for it. I was seeing a chiropractor and a massage therapist for a year dealing with the pain in my shoulder from that accident and State Farm paid every cent. It was almost like it was what we had been paying them for with our insurance premiums. Pretty wild, huh? Someone should let Progressive know that’s how it works.