Geico Insurance Quote Increases Over $1,000 After Bait And Switch

After the contract was signed, mistakes made by a fibbing Geico agent resulted in Ana’s car insurance shooting up over $1,000 a year. No wonder they have a caveman a mascot, their customer service is prehistoric. Here’s her story… UPDATE: Commenters point out that GEICO did nothing illegal, this all the usual chain of events in getting insurance. Either the first Geico rep wasn’t as upfront as they should have been about how locked in the rates were, or the consumer misunderstood them, but everything else proceeded pretty much as normal. In other news, insurance companies suck.

I would really like for someone higher up in Geico to know about this case. My husband and I acquired a new car and traded in the old one. We were recommended to switch to Geico to have full coverage and a great rate as we were signing the papers to buy the car. So we call. We get a great quote over the phone after explaining all the necessary information, including the claim we had which happened middle 2005 (minor parking lot accident). We are quoted $182/month or around $1,089 per six months, and we need a downpayment of $366, so we pay $366 it on the spot to get the policy, such a great deal! We wanted it. All of a sudden the sales rep seemed nervous and put us on hold for about 20-30 min. (off and on stopping to say “are you still holding”… of course, we need the papers to be done). Finally he comes back and said “Because of the 2005 claim, the system was changing to a higher rate, so I fixed it, so we can keep you guys at the same rate I just quoted you”. What a nice guy!…

…Next day or so I get an e-mail to go to Geico.com and sign some form electronically. I try but I am directed to call customer service. I call and they say that my policy is still going through underwriting, but nothing will be changed, though he sounded uncertain and put me on hold for a while… then he confirms that I most likely have coverage since the day after I bought the policy after it goes through reviewing (I am confused but I trusted him, I mean Geico should be pretty good). “Wait 24-72 hours and try going online again”. I felt like he really wanted to finish the conversation as soon as possible after he saw my file.

A few days later I come back and try to sign papers at Geico.com. Same story, the website can’t find my info. I called customer service again and they told me that my effective day was in fact not until next month (which means, I did NOT have insurance until one MONTH after buying the policy!!!!) Even though I had receive apparently “fake” insurance cards saying I was covered already. She said it was a mistake and they would fix it because I was supposed to be covered since the time I bought the policy (and this is what I was told by the person who charged the $366). She said “Wait 24-48 hours and try signing up online again”. So…

Three days later, I finally got through the website… to find out that my rate has increased by a decent chunk, next payment shows as $315, then like 270, etc. and the overall 6 months has increased about almost $400. I called customer service a third time, to be explained why. After going in circles for 30 minutes he finally figured out and said “It’s because of the accident that happened in 2005″ (we talked about that before the “nice” guy gave us the initial quote!!!!). I said that it was definitely not what I was quoted, that great rate that made me sign up. He said he understood …but that there was nothing to do “this does not usually happens, sorry”. He transfered me to a local Florida agent, who pretty much apologized to hear that I had been lied to, that I had signed up and paid for a quote that’s not true anymore and it was their mistake but it was not going to change, there was nothing to do about it. I felt that I was continuously told “I apologize we screwed you up, but that’s how it is now (we changed behind you back since you already paid)”.

So in my desperation to get a lower rate (closer to what I was initially quoted) this Florida agent proposed to increase my deductibles here and there. So collision deductible went from $500 to $1000, and injury went from $0 to $500 (which only helped $76 down the six months), new final quote: $191/month. I don’t have time to keep shopping insurance, switching (as I was recommended by one of the cust, service reps), might as well keep rolling.

Wow.

Thank you,
Ana L.

Even if we say the original GEICO agent was just plain incompetent and made a mistake, the result is the same. Ana and her husband signed a contract for one rate and then got charged another. Even in the end you might say, well, they got around the same monthly rate, $191 vs $182, their deductibles shot up. It’s like fighting over bedsheets in the night. Even worse than the changed rates and the dysfunctional customer service, thanks to Geico’s messup, Ana and here husband were driving around for a month without insurance coverage. That could have landed them in serious trouble if they got in an accident. I say keep shopping around Ana. Check out and see what Progressive has to offer you.

Comments

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  1. mgy says:

    “Yeah, talking with Geico customer service reps is great exercise. It works my gluts!”

  2. CuriousO says:

    try Ameriprise, they have the best rates.

  3. r081984 says:

    Small claims?

    If you paid, that makes it a valid contract.
    Sue them for the difference, lawyer fees, and to have the original contract reinstated.
    Maybe just a well written letter from a lawyer is all you need.

  4. SteveZim1017 says:

    I am an insurance agent and I see this all the time. Geico is notorious for the bait and switch, I can’t tell you how many of my clients called me claiming geico gave them such a low rate. After telling them to get it in writing, magically there is either a rate revision or the quote can no longer be found….

  5. Buran says:

    I haven’t personally had any problems with State Farm. I pay around $105/month for a 2007 VW GTI four-door stickering at about $31K, no accidents or tickets. The car has ABS and DRLs (just in case you get discounts for those still).

  6. Buran says:

    @Buran: Oh, and my caps are 100/300/100 (K), deductibles are 250 comp, 500 collision.

    Glad you didn’t get in trouble. Driving a car without insurance is ILLEGAL in many states, including mine (MO).

  7. joeblevins says:

    OMG they ripped me off.

    The initial CSR is not an underwriter. Yes they make a quote and sign you up. But sometimes poor risks like the complainer are not going to get a great rate. The complainer could have had a pretty serious accident or citation for the ‘minor parking lot incident’ ,but the MVR came back bad, or the insurance history report shows a huge pay out. Heck, it could be recorded completly different.
    Looks like the insurance is trying to work with you. You can go sign up for insurance anywhere you want, but they still need to charge a resonable premium for the increased risk.

  8. joeblevins says:

    And HOW THE HECK IS THIS BAIT AND SWITCH?

  9. Lucky225 says:

    x2 the author of this article, progressive.com is the way to go, stay away from sleezurance err e-surance ;)

  10. SteveZim1017 says:

    sorry to double post but I will tell you exactly what happened. Your original quote was without your accident, he didnt enter it into the quote. To write the policy a Motor Veh Report is run, it found your accident and raised the rate.

    Now the agent already gave you the cheaper rate and doesnt know what to do, so he lied to you and gave you the higher rate (with the higher down payment I might add).

    Then what is sounds like he did is in a REALLY bad way of attempting to correct his mistake he post-dated your policy a month. The only reason would be that possibly your accident would then be 3 years old and no longer a factor in the rate. but he got caught with that as well.

    if this was Geico direct you should be able to get them to honor the quote, if it was an agent then you will have a tougher battle. Technically whatever the agent offers the company has to follow through with because of the agent’s “apparent authority” even if he just made a number up off the top of his head, but that can be very difficult resolve.

    You do have the ability to go through the agents E & O insurance (errors and Omissions) for any screw up he made.

  11. Lucky225 says:

    x2 to the author of this article, progressive.com is the way to go. Stay away from Sleezurance err– e-surance. ;) (if this appears twice sorry, didn’t seem comment appear after I hit submit)

  12. JiminyChristmas says:

    If the OP would like to roll out the big guns, I have two suggestions:

    1) State insurance commissioner.
    2) State Attorney General.

    File a complaint with either or both; this is exactly the sort of thing those offices are around for.

  13. smartmuffin says:

    Ripping off customers is so easy a caveman could do it.

  14. Geekybiker says:

    Pretty much the same thing happened to me with Allstate once. Got one rate off the website, signed up and a day or two later I get a call that my rate will be much higher. Never mind they had my complete record already. No explanation or anything.

  15. @JiminyChristmas: State insurance commissions are USELESS.

    @Lucky225: And progressive isn’t a hell of a lot better. I’d recommend Amica. Their rates are about 1/4 of progressive and geico for me.

    I had a six month policy with basic coverage with geico and progressive on my single car. When I switched to Amica following the advice of a coworker, I was able to get full coverage on my car, my fiancee’s car, and on a twelve month policy for about half the price of geico and progressive.

  16. Jeepman says:

    Almost the same thing happened to me with GMAC. Quoted me $850 a year, and after I said “I’ll take it” the cost suddenly became over $1500! At least they told me before I signed on the dotted line. Needless to say I didn’t take it.

  17. Geico is overpriced and lies. I had coverage for over 5 years and not once did I get any reduction, even with a good driing record. This past year I switched to AARP/Hartford and got better coverage for a year for about what I paid GEICO for six months. And three months later I’m still waiting for my refunc from GEICO.

  18. sleze69 says:

    @Lucky225: Stay away from Sleezurance

    I stopped selling car insurance years ago ;)

    I am going to add my voice to the chorus and switch to progressive. I doubt that AAA-Midatlantic (my current insurance co), exists in your area but there may be a Florida equivalent.

  19. statnut says:

    @joeblevins: She was offered, and bought, the insurance at one rate, and after they took her money, changed the rates.

  20. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Second Ameriprise through Costco.

  21. aphexbr says:

    I´ve no comment on the story itself ´cause I haven´t read it yet, but please if that image is going to be used again please fix the spelling of “inaccurate”.

  22. I’ve had GEICO for almost 15 years, and never had a problem with them. Agents have always been nothing but professional.
    It sucks that it all went down like that for her, but I’m having trouble understanding this part:
    Finally he comes back and said “Because of the 2005 claim, the system was changing to a higher rate, so I fixed it, so we can keep you guys at the same rate I just quoted you”.

    What does the “I fixed it” part mean? Did he make the accident suddenly disappear?

  23. APFPilot says:

    This is Florida. Charlie Crist is not afraid to lay down the law to insurance companies. I would call the AG and file a complaint.

  24. myasir says:

    Is insurance in FL really that high? We have a few cars insured through State Farm and the highest premium is for my wife’s Corolla and that’s with $250 deductible and comprehensive insurance and we pay a little under $400 every 6 months. Granted, we have a few other cars under the policy and homeowners insurance so we get discounts for that but still, ~$200/month is the lowest they could find?

  25. snoop-blog says:

    insurance is the biggest scam ever.

  26. dwarf74 says:

    Unless there were a ton of disclaimers in the first guy’s spiel, the insurance company must honor their misquote. State and federal laws are pretty clear on this. Even if there were a ton of disclaimers, you still have a case.

    I’d call, talk to a manager, and insist they honor the original quote. Threaten to take it to the department of insurance. If they don’t comply, do so.

    They will only have to honor their misquote for one policy term, so you may want to shop around otherwise.

    I work for an insurance company, and was formerly a licensed agent. The law is pretty definite on this sort of thing.

    I, personally, would never go through an insurance company where I don’t have a real agent. I’m with the Farm, and have been very happy. I work for another company, and our agents do a good job, too.

  27. I never noticed it before, but it the screen capture from the commercial, “innacurate” is spelled inaccurately. Yout think people would spellcheck commercial copy…

  28. dwarf74 says:

    Also, if you have given them money – that’s all you need for verification that you’ve accepted the offered contract. Once money changes hands, the contract is valid. The signature is extraneous at that point.

  29. highmodulus says:

    Also look to bundling your insurance packages if you own a home. I have had good luck with State Farm rate wise with a bundled Homeowners/car/umbrella policies.

    For those of your with any sort of assets, really think about an umbrella policy. Not much money for a lot of protection.

  30. ChuckECheese says:

    I had Geico car insurance for 7 years, until I purchased a new car in 2006. When I called them to switch the cars on the policy, they increased the rate 350%. I have a pristine driving record, no claims, my new car was inexpensive and paid for, and I lived in a low-crime area. I contacted a couple friends who live in the area and had Geico, and they had much lower rates than my new quote. One friend had an umbrella policy for his orthodontics practice and was paying less for that than Geico wanted for my car.

    Geico insisted I was a “preferred customer,” but would only lower the rate about $200/year, still more than 3X what I was paying before. I paid for 1 month, just long enough to find another company, but for mysterious reasons, Geico took my money and immediately canceled my insurance without telling me. Now I have non-Geico insurance.

    I’ve been thinking about this lately, and it seems whenever Warren Buffett/ Berkshire Hathaway get their mitts on a company, it turns to greed and high prices and less service–there was a time several years ago when Geico was great to do business with. See’s Candy has had the same sorts of problems, although they only doubled, not tripled their prices. I just heard on the news this a.m. that Buffett is after Wrigley (candy).

  31. @aphexbr: Beat me to the punch

    @PeteCarrollInACage: “You’d” also think I would check comments on a site before clicking submit, but you’d be wrong there.

  32. BalknChain says:

    I do not even know if Geico or Progressive serve NJ yet, but I would not venture to them anyway. We have AIG and with full coverage on a 2003 TrailBlazer and a 2003 Silverado we pay under $1800.00 for the year. I was happy with State Farm a few years ago, but they kicked us over to MetLife because they were going to leave the state.

  33. tried to get a quote from geico once. wanted me to submit my ssn. screw that.

    prehaps the op had derogatory information on her credit history. geico wants your credit history to determine your “true” policy risk (at least that’s what geico said).

    so basically i was told that you can have a perfect driving record, but some minor problems in your credit file & they just (seemingly) arbitrarily jack up your rates.

  34. HighontheHill says:

    I too have had GREAT luck with State Farm and have heard other stories of shady practices from friends who used Geic… BUT, she should think about another way to “sign” her post..”Ana l”

  35. also, the op mentioned a “minor parking lot accident.” need to see the mvr to be sure. what if the op dinged a corvette? or a fancy mercedes? the payout could have been huge.

  36. loganmo says:

    My partner and I have been with Geico for a year (2 car policy). During that period we have one claim for vandalism, and two for not at-fault accidents (we let geico pay and then have them pursue the claim against the insurance of the drivers at fault). Our premium has gone down since that.

    They have given us superior service.

  37. scoosdad says:

    @PeteCarrollInACage: I’m pretty sure the caption on the screen capture of the ad was added by the Consumerist editor.

  38. Munsoned says:

    Progressive was pretty expensive the last time I was shopping for insurance. I did much better with Liberty Mutual, and they have had really good customer service the times I’ve had to call them.

  39. bufftbone says:

    I had to use a relatives address in order to save $2000 a year on 2 cars full coverage (due to making payments still).

  40. BeThisWay says:

    First, when you sign an application for insurance it says that all rates are conditional on the applicant being eligible for the rate quoted. It’s not a bait and switch, and it’s not a contract until the insurance company accepts it. What you see here is just incompetent people doing the quoting.

    I was an insurance agent for many years and I hated it when I made a mistake on a rate. It didn’t happen often, but it did happen occasionally. Not only is it not law that insurers have to meet the rate quoted, if there’s an error it’s against the law for them to do so. Insurance rates are filed with the state, and insurers are not at liberty to give someone a lower rate because of an error. I always explained the reason for the error (sometimes theirs, sometimes mine) so it was fully understood. Sometimes the person took the higher-rated policy, and sometimes they didn’t want to and then I helped them get their old policy back (why I ALWAYS told people not to cancel their old policy until the new one was issued), or I did what I could to help them find coverage elsewhere.

    Because Geico’s business is run only over the phone and computer you see many more not-well-trained agents. I always recommend insuring with a company that has local agents, where there’s more accountability and you can create relationships.

    Remember that rates come in lower than quoted, too. You don’t hear about it because no one writes to Consumerist to complain. And that happens a lot, too.

  41. dmartinez says:

    I useto work for GEICO and actually was part of the team who wrote the New Policy system they use today and I also do have their insurance.

    I have a feeling their is more to this story that she is telling us. Buying insurance is not like buying goods in a store. Insurance companies are providing protection for themselves and you in case something happens. No insurance broker would give you a quote withought doing a background check on claims you have made. All phone claims are estimates based on the information you provide them but when they do a background check if they find something else then the quote is invalid and they reserver the right to give you a new quote.

    THIS IS THE CASE WITH ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES INCLUDING PROGRESSIVE ETC….

    My guess is she did not provide all the information on the 2005 accident and underwritting discovered more. A $400 (every 6 months) increase in premium for a parking lot nitch is EXCESSIVE!! So obviously there is more to this story than is being told.

  42. MPHinPgh says:

    I think I’ll just stick with USAA. They may or may not be the cheapest (probably not), but I never have issues with them. Adding/changing vehicles, etc…takes all of two minutes and their reps are generally very nice to deal with.

    Of course, we’ll see what happens next year when my oldest daughter starts driving…(the thought alone makes me shutter).

  43. Anonymous says:

    @bufftbone: I’m pretty sure that’s insurance fraud and if you get in an accident and they catch you they can discontinue your coverage.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Shopping around can be effective. My Allstate agent invited me in for a review of my insurance coverages (auto, home, life) about six months ago. I went to the meeting with my current coverage information and auto quotes from other places. Progressive’s price was half of Allstate for the exact same coverage. The agent tried to talk me out of moving citing all of the risks of being a new insurance customer somewhere. Seeing me unmoved, he asked for a few days to try to keep my business.

    A week later my Allstate rate was magically cut in half.

    Also as an aside, Geico was the most expensive of all of the insurance options I checked. More than double my current rate and I’ve never had an auto claim or poor credit.

  45. jpx72x says:

    @r081984: Sorry, but the world doesn’t work that way. Their lawyers are better than your lawyers. If you make it worth your time, they will smite you with the law.

  46. JohnMc says:

    I would file a complaint against both the agent and the company with your State’s insurance commissioner. May not go anywhere but it puts the company on notice.

  47. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I work in insurance, and this is not at a all scam. It is also very common. First of all, you sign up with a quote. Just like when a mechanic gives you a quote before working on a car, unexpected things can pop up when under the hood. That’s what happens when a motor vehicle report is run by underwriting. They may have told the rep about the 05 accident, but many customers are not aware of how incidents really are listed on their MVR. Some insist that it is not their fault, because there was no ticket or payout, when technically it is. Or they say a moving violation has no points because they have no points on their license, but a conviction will still carry insurance points.

    All in all, this is why you should go through an agent. Many times they can be more knowledable about what may impact a premium than the reps who intially create the policy directly with the company, as the Agent sees the writing of the policy as well what can happen after it is written.

  48. This is not bait and switch. This is common in all areas of underwritting. (insurance, loans, etc….)

    When you goto to geico and ask for a “quote”, they quote you based on a customer who has an “average risk”. The money you are paying upfront is not directed towards a specific policy or rate, but your account in general.

    Insurance companies know people don’t want to wait for insurance cards(due to impulse car buying) so the insurance companys give you you a policy based on a quote and reserve the right to change that once they have a better history on the driver. HECK, they can change your rates at any point and for any reason. In a court, all they have to say is the customer’s “risk” changed. I’m sure they could easily proove that in a court of law.

    Now the original CSR should of made that clear to you upfront, but that is bad customer service. Unless geico said “this is your insurance rate, and it will never change” (which I doubt) then the OP is just an ignorant of how bad insurance companies are, but they are well with in their legal right.

  49. Ausoleil says:

    “I would file a complaint against both the agent and the company with your State’s insurance commissioner. May not go anywhere but it puts the company on notice.”

    …that they need to figure out together how to reply to you. More than likely the best time to figure that out is in the middle of the front nine during the Wednesday Nassau down at the Club. Things get serious on the back nine and neither the Insurance Commissioner nor the Executive VP of your insurance want to be bothered by some silly work issue.

  50. toddkravos says:

    “Ana and her husband signed a contract for one rate and then got charged another”

    I’m pretty sure that contract indicated that the price is subject to verification ie: MVR, Claims Loss History, Homeonwership, et al.

  51. Xerloq says:

    I insure two cars with State Farm for about $120 a month. Discounts for accident-free, multi-line and multi-coverage (ie, more than one car + homeowners + personal property) They’ve always been great.

    It’s State Farm Mutual so policy holders are part owners. I’ve gotten back a check each year for about $50 labeled “dividends.”

    Side plug for personal property insurance – I insure my five computers this way for about $30 per year – no deductible. Who needs Best Buy’s extended warranty?

  52. framitz says:

    GEICO should be nominated for the most evil company.

    I dealt with them ONCE.

    Walked into a Geico office in Moreno Valley, Ca. A woman tossed some paperwork toward me and said “here, fill this out”. I walked out instead and will never do business with them, even if they manage the best rate which is HIGHLY doubtful.

    I went to Progressive, who insures my Motorcycle, they showed a better rate at another company so I went with that company for my car insurance. Of course Geico wasn’t on the list at all. No other company has beat their rate for my motorcycle though at under $100 a year.

  53. chl says:

    The problem is you tried to do too much at once. I see many people try to change their insurance when they buy a car. Add the car onto your existing policy and then shop. Never cancel your existing policy until you have documentation from the carrier of the price. Your responsibility is to protect yourself, be prudent.

  54. TechnoDestructo says:

    Wait, if customer service has been getting worse and worse, wouldn’t prehistoric customer service be many times BETTER than what we get today?

    So Geico isn’t prehistoric, they’re ahead of their time.

  55. redragon104 says:

    I always love the commercials which say, “Customer x saved y dollars by switching to us, in fact in average costumers that switch to us pay z less dollars the our competitors!”

    Well of course customers that switch pay less, otherwise they wouldn’t switch to you! But that has no bearing on the experience that the person watching the commercial will have.

  56. @Buran: I live in upstate NY, and I go thru New York Central Mutual. I have a 2002 Saturn Vue with full everything, 50/100K, $500 deductible, and a mint condition 97 Ford F-150 fully loaded ext cab with liability and comp on it, and my YEARLY rate is $1100 for both vehicles. P.S.- I’m only 25, with a spotless driving record :) Anyone in upstate NY with a good driving record, check them out!

  57. and P.S. again… most companies look at your credit report, you could have a squeaky clean license, no lapses in coverage… yet if your credit is junk, your rates go UP.

  58. samurailynn says:

    For everyone saying something along the lines of “Yay for State Farm!”… they suck if you actually have a claim.

    A friend of my husband’s sister hit my husband’s parked car. They had State Farm and it was a mess trying to get them to actually get the work done. They even ended up putting down that the accident was my husband’s fault (yeah, if parking your car legally means that it’s your fault when someone hits it). I don’t know how they treat their own customers, but they were very unprofessional about taking care of getting our car fixed. Because of that dealing with them, we won’t ever be giving them our money.

  59. theblackdog says:

    @MPHinPgh: You’d be surprised at how cheap they are. I was quoted nearly $2400 a year from most insurance companies (Allstate, Progressive, GEICO, etc) for carrying the basic state minimums. USAA offered me insurance at 5x the state minimum for $1800 a year.

    That was back when I was 18, now at 25 I’m paying about $700 a year, but that’s also because my car is so old I don’t carry collision.

  60. MercuryPDX says:

    @highmodulus: I second that (bundling Auto with your Homeowners). I’m also with State Farm.

    The last time I did some comparison shopping, the major companies (Geico Progressive, Allstate) couldn’t come close enough to matching the price with the multi-policy discount applied. The only company that could was one I had never heard of before, and their price was still higher than the additional Safe Driver Discounts State Farm applied to my policy.

  61. EyeHeartPie says:

    I dunno why, but everywhere else I got a quote gave me approximately $1200 for six months for full coverage. Geico is currently giving me about $670 for six months of the same full coverage.

  62. fizzyg says:

    Geico tried to use that as a selling point to me one time, with the idea that the quote that I had gotten from the other company that I was coming to them with would probably end up being way more than I was being told, and so I should go with Geico instead. Although I understand that quotes aren’t definite things, why would I trust that they would be any more able to give me the definite amount than some other company? I ended up going with the other company, and actually getting the initially described rate.

  63. ecwis says:

    Ana and her husband signed a contract for one rate and then got charged another.

    I wish the Consumerist’s writers knew what they were talking about.

  64. BeThisWay says:

    @samurailynn, State Farm claims are actually pretty good, one of the best in the business. Mistakes happen.

    And frankly, I’d be happy if my insurance company made most of their mistakes on the claims of people who are claiming against me. ;)

  65. silentnight913 says:

    Something similar happened to me. My parents were driving a car I inherited to me in NC. Before they left, I checked with GEICO to see how much my rate would go up for this second vehicle. I wanted to make sure I could afford it with full coverage. They quoted me a price that seemed reasonable. (It has been so long, I don’t remember what it was. I think it went up about $100 a month) Once the new vehicle arrived, I called to update the insurance plan. They stated that they did not realize I had only been driving for a few years, and that my original quote was for a more experienced driver. Odd, I thought, since that should be one of the first things they look for when giving a quote. They raised my 6 month rate by about $1500. By the end of the day, I was insured by a different agency at a better rate.

  66. tcp100 says:

    Ugh. This is NOT bait and switch – this is a case of an embarrassed Geico rep and and uneducated consumer.

    NO insurance quote is firm until you have undergone underwriting. Home, renter’s, auto, health, life – ALL of them go through a process called “underwriting” and that does NOT happen overnight. 48-72 hours sounds about right.

    The Geico rep should have informed Ana that the rate quote was preliminary, non-binding, and contingent on underwriting (although they are not required to say that.)

    What chaps my ass is that stuff like this isn’t taught in schools. EVERYONE has to buy insurance at some point in their life. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, but it’s universal – and you need to know what you’re doing.

    Would Ana have bought a big HDTV without first finding out about connections, formats, and display types? Probably not. However, people wing through an insurance contract (an expensive, long-term contract!) like they’re buying a pizza! Insane.

    I know, I know, the Geico commercials have a lot to do with that – all talking about easy instant quotes, etc.

    Regardless, Geico actually did nothing wrong here, and I’m amazed that so many people are flabbergasted at the newfangled concept of underwriting an insurance contract.

    Consumerist, Ana and her husband did not sign a contract. They got a quote, put down a deposit, and the insurance company actually initiated coverage before a contract was signed out of good faith. They’ll do that.

    Here’s another brainblower for you guys, but take it to heart. Even after the policy is underwritten and a contract signed, you’re not out of the woods yet.

    Insurance companies have a 60 day grace period from contract initiation, in most states (and this is part of the contract), in which they can cancel you for any reason. It’s rare, but it does happen.

    So, the prudent thing to do with car insurance actually is to buy your new policy, wait 60 days, then cancel the other policy retroactively. (Yes, you can do that too.)

    You’ll pay double for 2 months, but you’ll get the double-coverage premiums from the old company back (it’s the law) and you won’t risk being uninsured after an administrative cancellation, which can screw you even further.

  67. myasir says:

    @samurailynn:

    I’ve had a couple of claims through state farm and I’ve been nothing but pleased with my experiences. All I did was tell them where I would be getting my car fixed and they took care of the rest. Granted, in all of my accidents, I was not the guilty party so I never paid out of pocket and never saw my rates go up.

  68. Buran says:

    @MPHinPgh: State Farm was easy with this. I told them I was buying a new car, and they said that they’d have a temp card ready in their office for me to pick up, that they could have the policy take effect the day I picked up the car, my old one would drop that day as well (it went to my dad), and they even explained to me how they were arranging it so that I would keep my long-term discount. It was absolutely NO hassle.

    Maybe you and I just got good agents? I don’t know how typical the ease is.

  69. highmodulus says:

    @Buran: Same experience here Buran. Called from the dealership while they were doing the paperwork on my new car- gave them the details over the phone and had the updated cards sent in no time.

    I have heard good things about USAA too, if you are eligible.

  70. Trojan69 says:

    The information GEICO discovered materially changed the circumstances. The agent committed a fraud upon GEICO.

    However, if GEICO cashed the check, or accepted cash, or otherwise debited the enrollee’s bank account, the enrollee was covered. Then, when GEICO discovered the fraud, they terminated the contract and so notified the OP.

    In Georgia, when I bought a new car, I was covered the instant my verbal agreement with the third-party agent occurred. It was subject to later underwriting, but until and unless the terms needed modification, I was covered.

    Folks, it’s the agents like this turd who cost us all. In my opinion, we sheep who willingly go along when we know, or should know, we are gaming the system, are every bit as culpable. I make no specific representation as to the OP. But I have seen countless instances where “adults” accept more change than they are due, or otherwise take advantage. These fools are no better than any Countrywide or ENRON officer. Think about it.

  71. Maezels says:

    I got baited and switched by GEICO also. Got an online quote which was very competitive, signed up, and when I got the actual bill they had LOWERED the rate by about 20%! Nice! I’ve got 3 cars, wife and 2 teen drivers in NJ and pay just over $2,100/YEAR for full coverage (collision and $250K/$500K liability.) NJ sucks for auto insurance, but that’s the price we pay for the good life ;-)

    Don’t know about other states, but here in NJ if you want to switch insurance companies, you sign up with a new company, cancel the old one, and get a pro-rated refund. If the OP felt ripped off, she should have found a new company and punted GEICO.

    BTW, I’ve been pleased with GEICO’s claims service. Had a couple of comprehensive claims which were handled online within 10 min. Both were windshield claims and GEICO arranged the repair (at my home, at a time of my choosing) and done professionally within a day or two.

  72. redcorsair says:

    Wow, I never thought this would make it up. As the husband in this story, I would like to add my two cents…

    When we signed up, we disclosed the accident that “changed our policy” to the rep. I am not sure what he “fixed” in our plan, but it sure screwed everything up.

    So today Ana got a phone call from Geico. They claim that there was a confusion and that the disclosed accident was not one I was at fault and there was another one a month later that I was at fault. Number one, why would that change anything? I would still only be at fault for one accident. Number two, I was not involved with two accidents in the timeframe they claim there was a confusion about. Just the one.

    The whole thing is a mess. Yes, this is dealing with insurance companies, but we did pay for our plan that first day, just to find out weeks later that we not only never had coverage that whole time and our insurance cards that THEY MAILED US were apparently fake, but that our insurance was well over $100 a month more than the original quote that we signed up for.

    Oh, and for reference, insurance in South Florida (if not all of Florida) is incredibly expensive. And it is a no-fault state. And they require personal injury protection as well.

    Oh happy days.

    Thank you for posting this. We still have hopes of working this out.

    Dan

  73. 0x12is18 says:

    @graffiksguru: I have had Geico for about 6 years now and have never had a problem with them. I’ve had the best rates with them, and great customer service.

    Insurance can seem overpriced, but how do you think $10,000 claims are paid out?

  74. Snarkysnake says:

    One thing that GEICO and other look a like companies that advertise heavily won’t tell you is that if you move to save,you had better not have an accident. That’s when they will drop you like a hot rock.The reason that they advertise lower rates is that they have built a business model based on low claims payouts:Lower risk customers that don’t file many claims. If you have an accident with them,it’s so long,been nice knowing you and then you find it harder to get insurance somewhere else (and you are up against a deadline to obtain coverage to boot). Far better to stick with a company that wants to keep your business and will “forgive” an accident or two. You may pay more or you may pay less,but if you don’t have all the time in the world to futz around with car insurance,why knock yourself out , (and risk losing coverage)for a few lousy bucks?
    Besides,I don’t know how GEICO could possibly have that much lower rates with all of the advertising that they buy. Those ads cost BIG money and you can bet that somebody besides them will end up paying for it.

  75. Lucky225 says:

    @workingonyourinvoice:
    hey thanks for the suggestion!!! What I was paying with progressive for 6 months, I’m now paying Amica for 1 year, WITH *BETTER* COVERAGE! (*preys his out of state license tickets have fallen off!*)

  76. Traveler18 says:

    I live in Central Florida and have Geico insurance on my Civic. I now pay $219 every six months for liability of $100,000/200,000/100,000, comprehensive with $200 deductible, and PIP (Florida is a no-fault state) of 10,000. No collision. These rates include a recent decrease in premium for being claim-free for 5 years. Before Geico, I had Progressive and their rates were much higher. FWIW, I know Geico relies heavily on credit scores, and mine are excellent. Geico also adjusts premiums based on your educational background and occupation (I was asked mine when I signed up and was told upfront this would be a factor in my premium.)

  77. xkevin says:

    Just do everything online so you don’t have to deal with people. I signed up with Geico within the year and it was effortless. My rate even dropped around $100 when it was time to renew…

  78. Lucky225 says:

    @workingonyourinvoice:

    Got my policy with amica yesterday, can’t thank you enough, $660/year for full coverage FTW! EVEN WITH A SPEEDING TICKET!