Progressive Insurance. Not.

Just because an insurance company has Progressive in their name doesn’t mean they’re any different from the usual penny-pinchers.

Patty’s tale, inside, navigates the tortuous twists as Progressive tries to avoid paying her any more then the barest minimum after one of their clients hit her car.

Patty isn’t taking it lying down, though. She’s fought the Progressive agent at every turn, and now she’s taking her case to a lawyer.

But the process hasn’t been fun.

After the last go around with the Progressive agent, she says, “I felt like I drank a gallon of gas and ate 7 lit matches!”

    “September 30th at Midnight, so October 1, while I was sleep and my husband was working on a homework assignment for college on the computer, our car was parked outside for the night and locked up, a client of Progressive had her boyfriend borrow her car. He drove near our apartment complex after dropping off a friend and accelerated at an unsafe rate of speed. The speed zone is 35 m.p.h., my neighbor who witnessed the whole thing after hearing the glass breaking heard the cops say he was probably going 45-50 m.p.h.

    He hit the brand new (this is important I believe and that is why I’m mentioning it) 2005/2006 Buick LeSabre parked car about a foot behind my piece of crap $1500 ’98 Neon that was a foot away from a No Parking Sign. He was going so fast, he hit the LeSabre and forced that into my Neon and my Neon came flush with the No Parking Sign. My neighbors window faces the street and came running to see if anyone was hurt. The girl’s car stalled out when her boyfriend tried to back it up so he could take off. So instead, he pulled the keys, left the door open, and took off leaving the car there. He ran to where his girlfriend must have been visiting someone here in the complex sleeping on someone’s couch because later when she was standing around outside with no shoes on, her boyfriend was saying, “Babe, you need to put your shoes on and say you were driving! I ain’t going back Babe. I just got out. You know I just got out. I ain’t going back. Fine, we’ll tell them it was stolen. That’s what we’ll do.” My neighbor, and friend, overheard the whole damn thing. Dipsticks.

    Then, when the cops arrive, the boyfriend stands around, like, “Officer, Officer! I saw the whole thing! I the saw the guy who did it!” Thank God for my neighbor who really DID see the whole thing. When the cop asked for witnesses she said, “See that guy over there giving a witnesses statement to the cops over there to that cop? Yeah, that’s the idiot driver and on top that of that if his car didn’t stall, he would have taken off. And I heard them talking about how he wanted her to put her shoes on so she can say SHE was the one driving so he wouldn’t go back to jail. On top of THAT, they were both going to claim the car was stolen. I heard the whole thing.” The cop went to talk to them and before they did they cuffed him so he wouldn’t take off knowing he’d been to jail before. Once they started talking sure enough, the couple tried claiming the car was stolen and they didn’t know who’d been driving her car. Of course. Of course the cop was prepared and pissed! He told them he knew it wasn’t stolen because if it were, the steering column would be busted, and it wasn’t. Or, the keys would still be in the car. If the theif had taken off, they wouldn’t have taken the keys with them, they would have left the keys in the ignition because they don’t care about the keys.

    Needless to say the cops didn’t buy it, he got arrested, the car got towed because her car was totaled, she was left bawling about how she was going to get to work as a nurses aide at a nursing home with my brother-in-law. “My car, wah, my car, wah, wah, wah….” Well what about my car? I have a daughter who has health problems who has to see specialists sometimes 30-60 minutes away. She sits in the back behind the passenger seat right on the gas tank. I’m going through a half a tank of gas in TWO days time, two bent rims on my back tires, I had a rusted muffler I was about to replace that had no holes in it, but now has 4 huge holes in it, a bumper about to fall completely off, and damage underneath the car. Now I had to call Progressive, which I didn’t mind, to start the claim, because I’ve never been hit before, so I didn’t know how things go. But they didn’t know the address and phone number of the LeSabre owners, I did. I went out of my way, to set the phone down, walk outside down the block, get that information for them, and relay that to them, which I didn’t have to do. Progressive came out checked the damage to my car, I told them about the gas, the bumper, and the muffler, we didn’t know about the tires at the time, but that I was willing to have it put up on the lift to check under the car. He said he could see about $800 on the bumper alone, then went to his car, I had to get my daughter to a behavioral therapy appointment, we think she may be autistic and she hits me when she gets picked on by others. I get back and my husband hands me the official estimate. HA! What a JOKE! They were willing to give me $150 for the bumper for the final estimate from some “You pick it, you pull it junkyard”, and $50 for paint, and $37.50 for labor. Did they expect me to put this damn thing on myself? LMAO!!! The final estimate came to $567.08 for parts and labor for the bumper and the muffler and that was it. This was about the 5th of October. Now I kept stressing to the idiot, I was willing to put it up on the lift and have THEIR mechanic look it over, they of course never get back to me, so I keep calling them and harassing the crap out of them. By the 10th, my daughter had an appointment with a specialist an hour away and there was no way I was going to have her sit on the gas tank. Not to mention, driving on the thruway there isn’t many gas stations on the thruway to fill your car $5 every 1/4 of a tank, is there? So I had to rent a car at $64. I was pissed because by now I should have had my car fixed. My LeSabre neighbor did. They were already driving a 2007 LeSabre because the agent told me personally that they had at least $13,000 coming to them, minimum. And that he was surprised they were still driving their car. He cut their check no questions asked. Me, I’m STILL fighting. And it’s the 23rd of October!

    The best part was this week. I FINALLY convinced them to put it up on the lift at MY mechanic. Well, actually, I TOLD them it was going on the lift. They could either be there, or not. And I got two estimates, one from my mechanic, and one from another mechanic. I also got the police report in case I have to take someone to small claims court. Progressive keeps claiming over and over since the beginning that the gas is NOT related to the accident even though the agent himself could smell gas when he came out to assess damage. Now, while my car is up on the lift, Progressive authorizes a Rental car for me to use while my car is in the shop. Ok, no problem. Meanwhile, I get the report back from my mechanic. The rims are shot to hell, and so is the fuel assembly line and they found even more damage in the under belly of the car that Progressive is willing to authorize repair on, but not the rims or the gas. STILL. The supervisor used to work on cars. (Everything in quotes are things he told me personally.) He used to “work on cars and he knows a thing or two about them and he knows that even though the car moved a foot there’s no way it would have bent both back rims and somehow I must have done it. On top of that, 6 months to a year ago the last time my mechanic put a new fuel line on my tank, not saying he’s a bad mechanic and all that, but he must have messed up my car and even though I didn’t noticed anything then, my car must have been leaking small amounts over time and I just didn’t notice it until the day of the accident when all of a sudden, by coincidence it started gushing more gas, but that doesn’t mean the accident caused it.” He also stated my mechanic wasn’t being “straight” with him. I said you calling my mechanic a liar? He says, “Your putting words in my mouth, Ma’am.” I said, “No that is what you said, you said he wasn’t being straight with you, meaning he’s lying. No matter what language you use, that’s how the word goes. Straight means honest, not straight means lying.” He again says I’m putting words into his mouth but if I want to put words into his mouth, that’s ok. Then he tells me that the muffler is a gift and that if I keep it up, they’ll remove the muffler and the muffler labor, about a $100, from the estimate, and (forcefully) “is that what I what them to do, is it? Well is it ma’am?” Then he has the balls to tell me I should have had the muffler fixed before the accident. I said excuse me, for one, we were about to when your drunk client’s boyfriend hit MY car! I’m the innocent party and you’re treating me as if I’m the one who caused the accident and I don’t appreciate it one bit and hung up on him. I don’t know who they think they’re threatening, but you DON’T threaten someone who can be a bitch. First thing I did was call my mechanic and told him what they were saying about him. And what they tried pulling with the muffler. He told me, that they told him the same thing AND they wanted HIM to call me the day before to call me to tell me the muffler was a gift and I “should be thankful I was getting it.” He flat out told them, why the hell should I call her? For one, what are you going to do for me? Nothing. For two, it’s not up to me to call her, it’s up to you to work out the estimate with her, not the mechanic.

    I call the supervisor back and tell him I want the gas fuel assembly line and the rims added to the estimate AND that I have two estimates that state that at minimum that the gas IS from the accident. He says, any mechanic will tell me what I want to hear to get my business. (this is important) He says the $500 is their final offer. He asks me what do I want to do about the repairs and the $500 estimate they gave me and I said let me think about it. I swear, not more than 30 minutes later, the rental company calls and says I have to return the car now. Huh? I find out from Enterprise when the car is due back, he says as long as the keys are in the drop box by midnight, we’re ok. I call my mechanic and tell him to put our car keys under the driver seat so we can pick up our car and immediate get on the phone to rip an agent a new one once again. I call the supervisor and tell him it was nice of them to personally us and let us know that it was time to return the car. He says “you didn’t expect to keep it forever did you?” Ooh, now I was really fuming! I said, “No I didn’t expect to keep it forever, but I was under the impression I had it while the car was on the lift and while it was repaired. Am I mistaken?” He said, “You wouldn’t call me back.” It was a HALF AN HOUR! Let me think on it means just that? You think you’re going to bully me into taking what you’re willing to offer and I’m going to roll over and play dead for you? Oh hell no!

    So I told him I was on the phone, I didn’t realize I had to call you back within 2 seconds, but hey, now I see how you run a business. You can’t even be bothered to call me yourself when it’s time to turn in the car. You have the rental company do it for you.

    “Oh I’m sorry ma’am, I thought the agent handling the claim contacted you.”

    Well obviously he didn’t. Not to mention, I give you two estimates which state the damage is from the accident, which you blow off and tell me their lying and telling me what I want to hear just to get my business.

    “I didn’t say they were saying what you want to hear.”

    You know what, what is the final estimate?


    Send me out a check for that amount. I will be taking that unsigned check, the police report, and those estimates, as well as a few others to a lawyer’s office next week. Thank you for your time. And I hung up because I felt like I drank a gallon of gas and ate 7 lit matches. Ugh!

    Patty C.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. adamondi says:

    I switched from Progressive a couple of years ago. The company I switched to (PEMCO Insurance) is excellent. They only offer insurance in Washington State and only to drivers with clean records. When I called them up for a quote, the wonderful CSA I spoke with was a delight and she had some very interesting things to say about Progressive. When I told her the coverage I was getting and the premium and all of that, she said it was nearly criminal that they would offer such crappy insurance and charge so much for it. I proceeded to switch my insurance and get nearly 5 times the coverage for almost half as much in premiums.

    Luckily, I never had to submit a claim with Progressive, but with the various horror stories (including the one in this post) that I have heard, I am extremely happy that I never did.

  2. bravo says:

    This is the most unintelligible post I’ve ever seen on Consumerist.

  3. farfle says:

    Get a lawyer. Never deal directly with the insurance company.

  4. Kornkob says:

    *shrug* My solution when I got the run around from someone who damaged my car: call MY insurance company.

    They tried contacting the other party to resolve the problem, got blown off and cut me a check the next day for the repairs and sicced their lawyers on them for it.

    My involvement and cost: zero.

  5. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    It’s criminal that the government *requires* us to do business with these horrible companies. If car insurance is mandatory, it should be publically run or at least extremely regulated. Like health insurance, car insurance companies know they’ve got you by the throat, and even the good ones I’ve heard about still aren’t above screwing people when they think they can get away with it. Yecch.

    Amy certainly stayed on top of them, though! I hope she gets a decent attorney, because a good one could get her a new car over this.

  6. creamsissle says:

    I found that Progressive was only too willing to help the other party following my accident in which I was determined to be at fault. Only when my policy renewed did I learn that the other driver claimed bodily injury, which I found extremely suspicious given the nature of the accident. I get the feeling that Progressive didn’t even challenge him, which bothers me more than any other circumstance in this claim.

    And the fact that their initial estimate of my damages completely missed the mark–by several thousand dollars–doesn’t exactly improve my feelings towards them.

  7. Sam Glover says:

    I think part of the problem here is a misunderstanding of the insurance industry. Patty is not represented by Progressive. They represent the driver who hit her. They have no incentive to pay her, and would be doing their client a disservice if they just bent over and paid everything Patty asked for. This isn’t an example of bad customer service, it is an example of good customer service. We’ve just mis-identified the consumer. It’s not Patty, it’s the owner of the car driven by the boyfriend.

    When I get hit, I call MY insurance company (USAA), whether it was my fault or not. Then they pay for the repairs and go after the other insurance company. And they return me my deductible when they get it from the other insurer. All I’m out is my deductible, usually only for a week or two. If they get the other insurer to take responsibility right away, they don’t even ask for it in the first place. Even if this affected my rates (it doesn’t), I would rather they incurred the hassle of getting me my money.

  8. Nancy Sin says:

    So I’m guessing that the charming couple involved in causing the accident lied to Progressive? I can’t imagine them paying on a claim caused by somebody not on the policy.

    And yes, the post was pretty hard to get through, but I’d like to think that the Consumerist doesn’t just exist for people with college-level composition skills. I enjoy reading these accounts first-hand, even if some make my brain hurt at times. I’d hate for a good complaint to be ignored on account of it being written in one rambling paragraph (in all-capped Comic Sans.)

  9. Christ, this isn’t worth their time. A dispute over at most 1500 bucks? Spending anything more than 2 man-days on this (which is about how long it takes to read Patty’s side alone) eats more than $1500 in labor and expenses.

  10. dwarf74 says:

    (1) It sounds like awful service from Progressive.


  11. AcidReign says:

    …..That’s why I carry collision on all my cars, even the old junkers. Dealing with someone else’s insurance company is always trouble. You’ll get better service if you’re the one paying the premium. I did a similar run-around with Geico years ago [my parked car got hit, Geico said $150 was enough for new paint and fender], till my lawyer uncle advised me to go through my own agent.

  12. dwarf74 says:

    del_ruby – This would be covered under “permissive use.” Basically, if you give someone permission to drive your car, they are generally covered under your policy.

  13. nweaver says:

    You’re low enough money you should forget the lawyer and go to small claims court.

  14. any such name says:

    good question – Patty, do you not have insurance?
    or do you just not have collision?

    your insurance company should be dealing with this and fighting for you, not you personally.

  15. pantsonfire says:

    I found myself in a similar situation four years ago. I took the owner of the other car to small claims court and let him deal with his insurance company (also Progressive). Not only did I win my case; I also got the satisfaction of hearing the judge castigate the defendant for his behavior in the matter.

  16. Triteon says:

    Editing…it’s a good thing.

  17. Thank you Sam for putting this all in perspective. It sounds like Patty is a great example of being almost too aggressive– I’m sure anyone who could muster reading that lengthy diatribte of words can determine that she took an attitude against the progressive agent that was unnecessary and exacerbated her problems (making it clearly seem like she wanted more than was due, regardless of truth).

    She could have:

    * Rationalized calmly to the progressive agent that the car has been through maintenance being a relatively new car and there were no indications of damaged wheel rims or damaged fuel lines.
    * The fact that a mechanic recently worked on her fuel line and it had a problem immediately after the accident is always going to sound suspect to an insurance agent. The damage described in her post indeed doesn’t sound consistent with a damaged fuel line on top of the whole mess, but accidents can often cause unforeseen circumstances.

    Instead she blathered like a maniac about what Progressive owes her. The real lesson here is that as a consumer, getting a frustrated “You owe me” attitude often gets you nowhere in life even when you are legitimately due something. The correct approach in a situation like this is exactly what Sam said, she should have contacted her own insurance and had them work out the nitty gritty details and have them work on her behalf.

    Afterwards, if the amount of money that they received back didn’t cover the costs, you go after the faulty party for the difference + expense paper trail + time wasted. They’re the ones who made your life miserable, not the insurance companies.

    /Insurance companies are still government enforced scams, agree with Mary Marsala.

  18. ACurmudgeon says:

    As someone who is still in the middle of an Act of God issue with insurance. The agent for progressive has, in my opinion, been a real ass. So much so that I have gotten a complaint form from the Insurance Commissioner. I suggest that Patty do the same. If the agent she is working with is half as bad as the one I am dealing with, I feel her pain.

    Unrelated to Patty’s story but regarding the comments posted, I believe that we should be supportive of the people who take the time to write in. Constructive criticism is great, but bashing people for not using paragraphs or for not editing their submissions doesn’t help anyone.

  19. ACurmudgeon says:

    Whoops, forgot to finish my first sentence. It should read “As someone who is still (8 weeks later) in the middle of an Act of God issue with Progressive insurance, I think I understand what Patty is going through and can relate.

    Is there somewhere I am missing that allows you to edit a post?

  20. Happy Homemaker says:

    I’m sorry my paragraphs weren’t up to par for everyone’s taste. Believe it or not, I did edit. In Outlook Express it didn’t look half as garbled. Maybe I should have editted in Wordpad, pasted in Outlook, then clicked send. I was very nice in the very beginning. Most especially to the original claims processor Mike Z. I was then told by my mechanic that I was better off speaking to Mike’s supervisor Craig P. Craig began to take attitude with me after I kindly kept telling him that there was no damage to my gas tank or line, nor to the rims of my car. Your rims don’t just bend while driving “mysteriously” for no reason. This is what he tried telling me. That I must have somehow did it during one of my daughter’s appointments.

    I most especially got a kick out of the gas leak theory of his. Ugh! The he basically tried telling me for the last year I must have had this teensy tiny leak of gas that I never knew about and never noticed, then all of a sudden, the day of the accident, when we put gas in and noticed we were going through a half a tank of gas two days later, it was all just a massive coincidence, and not at allll related to the accident. Yeah, my BS detector wasn’t going off at all. (Please note sarcasm.) And yes, I did get hostile with him, only after he began treating me as if I were the one who caused the accident and he got hostile with him and actually threatened to reduce my estimate if I didn’t drop going after the gas and rims. Mike Z. started off being nice, but never could return a call to save his life. Everytime he said he was going to call me, he never did, even when it came to telling me it was time to return the rental car aparently (according to Craig P. anyway.)

    No I am not a client of Progressive, I used to be a long time ago, and am so glad I am not now. This confirms why I never will be again. The laywer advised me to NOT sign the check as I will be agreeing to not sue their client. So that I will not do. I will be going to the courthouse tomorrow to pick up the paperwork to file the small claims case against the owner of the car and the driver of the car. The lawyer was unsure, however, as was the court clerk, whether I sue for the amount that is not on the check, the $436 to be exact, or if I sue for the full amount of $1094.64 since I did not sign the check. I also have to swing by the Plymouth dealership to get an accurate estimate of my car in case it’s less than $1500-1094, it might be considered totaled in the eyes of the court.

    If it matters, I am covered by liability only as my car is worth so little. Otherwise my insurance would get invovled. I already asked. Normally, if have full coverage, they go after the other insurance company for the remaining amount. This is my insurance company and according to my car mechanic it’s one of the best to deal with in case of an accident. At least in his opinion anyways. I’ve had it for 2 years now, and a 3 year span I didn’t own a car and before that I had it for about 4 years. I highly recommend it to anyone in NY state.

    Again, I’m sorry Outlook messed up my paragraphing and my frustration also got the better of me. I’ve been under a great deal of stress lately.

  21. Elara says:

    I had similar problems with Progressive, and my insurance company (USAA) was doing all they could too. Some moron hit me in a parking lot- I was turning left into one of the aisles, and the guy (who was directly behind me in the lane) decided I wasn’t going fast enough and tried to pull around me in the LEFT lane, and took my front bumper off. Progressive must have called me at least five times to make me repeat my story about what happened, I can only guess that they were hoping catch me in a lie so they didn’t have to pay. They’re pretty scummy when it comes to paying for their clients idiotic mistakes.

    And Patty, if you’re reading this, get your insurance involved, and let them fight for you. It makes things a lot easoer.

  22. dwarf74 says:

    With her description of the car, I’d be shocked if she is carrying full coverage on it.

    Sadly, this does more or less put you in the hands of a company that cares nothing for you.

  23. Kat says:

    New guidelines for writing to the Consumerist:

    Write your angry rant. Sleep on it for a day or two or three. Calm down, then edit the letter to be more readable and THEN send it in.

  24. natemc says:


    Former Pemco client here… My parents and I were in an accident (NOT OUR FAULT) and we all had Pemco… they screwed up so royally that they tried blaming us for the accident and didn’t even try to correct it after we submitted proof from the police that the other person was at fault. They fought us on all out PIP coverage and still haven’t paid all our bills, the accident was a year ago.

    The at fault driver is insured with Progressive who admitted fault and even tried explaining to Pemco that they would be getting all the money from our medical bills back.

    Soon after that I called to get a policy of my own and the sales guy tried to give me the claims service is excellent claim… when I had experience otherwise.

    I now have Allstate, which I can’t say is any better, but I do pay about $250 less per 6 months for the same coverage.

    3 weeks ago I was rear ended on I-5, Took a day for the Allstate claims people to get their act together and call me back, No troubles yet. The at fault party has Farmers who never remembers to call anyone back, I have to stay on them like a bad telemarketer to get anything done.

    As to Patty C. lawyers are not the end all be all, there are many lazy lawyers out there that just want to sit back and take their cut while doing the least amount possible. Try and find one that someone you personally know has used.

    The only thing worse dealing with than insurance companies is lawyers.

  25. neveryoumindthere says:

    Dealing with your own insurance company first isn’t always the route to a quick and easy settlement.

    In early summer my husband was in an accident in which the other driver was deemed at fault (in fact, he admitted as much to the responding officer who included that statement in the report). My husband started with our insurance company which, by the time they got things rolling, discovered that the other driver had since recanted his culpability (we’re talking within the space of a few hours here). Our insurers sent out one of their estimator guys, as did the other guy’s company and then we got a repair estimate of our own.

    The upshot? Our company offered us 2/3 of THEIR estimate, which was substantially lower than even the other company’s and somewhat lower than our own estimate. We later found out that they were pursuing the highest estimate from the other company. So that meant lowballing us- their own customers – so that they could keep the difference between the 2/3 of the lowest they offered us and the higher amount they were looking to get.

    We ended up doing an end-run and filing against the other guy’s company in small claims. We had a check for the full amount of their highest repair estimate within one day.

    We’ve since changed insurance companies, natch. It’s a damn shame, but with this kind of outcome, it’s clear that the only sane course of action is to file and bypass one’s own insurance altogether. We didn’t want to be in the position of being part of the problem and not the solution etc., etc., etc., but when your own dicking you there aren’t many other options.

  26. mfergel says:

    As a Neon owner I can tell you that they have zero resale value. He’s probably trying to keep the estimate low so that it doesn’t get totalled. As others have mentioned, what you really need to do is get the name of the other party (the girl) and policy number if you don’t already have that info. Then, contact YOUR insurance company and let them deal with it. That is why they both have lawyers working with them.

  27. Happy Homemaker says:

    I was under the impression this was the place to go to for advice and help, not grammar critiques. I must have been mistaken. Sorry for the length in advance. I typed the original post in Outlook Express. It wasn’t so garbled to begin with. Next time, I’l type it in Word Pad, then copy it into Outlook, then send it for the purists.

    I was nice and very polite to begin with when I started dealing with Progressive. I’m a military brat who was very, and I stress very, strictly raised. I kowtowed, I yes sirred, no sirred, you name it. That it, until I began dealing with the supervisor Craig Paquette who began treating ME like I was the criminal who caused the accident and began flat out calling my machanic a liar then claiming he didn’t say that.

    Backstory on my car, when I first bought it, 3 days after the one month warranty wore out, the tranmission blew and took engine with it and the dealer tried telling me, good luck. I told the dealer had this happened 3 days prior he would have been looking at full repairs, and I asked if he would help with repairs to the engine and transmission to the vehicle. (I was willing to file lemon law with our state if necessary as there were some things we found out he lied on us about the car I was willing to use as leverage.) I had to pay the tow fees back into town to the tune of over $100 to a garage that he chose and they repaired my engine. He called me 3 days later and told me the car was ready. I went to pick up the car and I swear to you, as soon as you shut off the engine, the battery died. The way they hooked up the battery, if you wanted to start up the car, you had to twist the battery cables back and forth over and over. Then, if you went over a bumpy road the starter came loose, and guess what kind of road my daughter’s school was on? So everytime I went to pick her up for an appointment, I had to have school maintenance come out and help me fiddle-fart with the starter cables. On top of that, when I bought the car, the engine had very little visual rust, this engine they put in was so rusted, it was bad. OMG was it bad. The way they hooked up the transmission line, a week later it came loose again and the car had to be retowed into town, again to the tune of another $100. So yeah, when Craig began to try and screw me over just like the car dealer, I’d reached my boiling point with people screwing me over with cars.

    I tried being nice with Craig in the beginning. Craig apparently decided nice wasn’t the way to go. He decided to threaten me by removing things off of my estimate until I gave in. Maybe he felt since he was dealing with a woman, he could do this. To me, threatening to removing things off the estimate “if I don’t back off of what I want done” is tanamount to blackmail.

    I do have the check in my possession but according to the lawyer I should not sign it because if I do, I’m agreeing to not sue their client for more damages, ie, the gas line and the bent rims. Now according to the Progressive agent supervisor/mechanic that he used to be, I must have bent these rims miraculously while driving nonchalantly one day and my mechanic messed up my gas line and we just didn’t know it and for the last 6 months to a year we’ve been leaking gas teensy tiny bits at a time and didn’t know it all this time then BOOM the accident happened, I filled the tank that day to 3/4 of a tank and noticed two days later that we went through a half a tank of gas in two days and there’s no way it’s related to the accident, it’s just coincidence. It’s really my mechanics fault and he’ll tell you himself. My mechanic had a good laugh over that one. That and the “not being straight with him”. He even stated that what Progressive forgets is that he was very professional with him and they work together again sometime on another car, and maybe next time it’ll be their client’s car, and he’ll remember Progressive’s attitude towards him the next time.

    After what happened with my engine, there are very few mechanics we trust. I mention this because we have very good friends of ours and we started asking around with a “who do you go to?” It’s a smalltime shop on the outskirts of town, my father from out of town even remarked at how low his prices were. The repairs are well done. There’s none of that “I’ll pretend to fix this, charge for that…” crap, that you usually see. Everytime we’ve needed repairs, guess who’s the first person we’ve taken it to. It’s just too bad he doesn’t run an insurance company too.

    After hearing all the crap the insurance company is trying to pull, he asked me who I have. I told him, I have he said they’re the best in NY state to deal with after an accident. No fuss, no muss in his opinion. I’ve had them for 7 years now off and on and I personally agree. I have liability for now because our car just wasn’t worth colision.

    For those complaining about the readablity, please try to understand, I’m dealing with a TON of stress here. I have health issues of my own to deal with, I’m dealing with an asshole insurance agent and on top of that, I have a daughter who was born missing part of her brain (agenesis of the corpus callosum). Because of this, she lashes out physically and I’m the one she lashes out at. I have a rod fused to my spine that two months after they put it on at the age of 15 in 1985, the US stopped using it in this country because it tends to snap in the patient and paralyze the user. I could risk paralysis and have them take it out, or risk paralysis and just hope for the best and not take any hits to my back. Meanwhile I have a daughter who may or may not be autistic who is 11 but is mentally 6. She gets picked on at school, and cannot write well because of severe dysgraphia. Because of her frustration, she gets mad and guess who she hits and guess where? Yup, if you guessed me in the back, you win the prize. Everyday is a challenge for her and myself. Everyday she lashes out I just pray to God it’s not a day she doesn’t have to call 911 because she didn’t accidentally paralyze me because I know she would feel bad, I don’t want her to live with that, even though she wouldn’t fully understand it. (Does that make sense?) So yeah, I’m under a ton of stress and the agent really didn’t help at all that last 2 weeks of almost harassment. In my profile, is my Myspace explaining more about my daughter’s situation for those interested.

    Again I’m sorry for any offense my grammar may have caused. It’s been 15 years since college as an Education major with a minor in English, so forgive me.

  28. konstantConsumer says:

    i don’t have Progressive, but i was involved in a parking lot accident with someone who had it. i came back to my car from work, and the guy had left his business card. when i called him, he wanted to fix my tail light, but not the (admittedly minor) damage to my bumper. he got very pissy, and so i noted that i work at the state attorney’s office, and that he left the scene of an accident.

    the next morning, i got a call from progressive. i took my car to their place, they gave me a rental, and two days later i had a new tail light and a new bumper. it looked better than before the accident. so i was pretty happy with them. not happy enough to switch to them, because their policies are very expensive, but happy that they fixed my car, and did a good job.

  29. Lesley says:

    Mfergel has a good point. Patty needs to ask herself what she’d want more–the $1500 (or blue book value of the car) or the $500 so she can get her car repaired.

    When I was hit by a USAA-insured driver, I was in a battle for over two years with them. They totalled my car, but the money they gave me was not enough to buy a car as good as mine (I took excellent care of my car and did not want to buy a used car). And they refused to let me get it repaired. I ended up having to buy a used car anyway that was supposed to be just like the one that was wrecked, but it was a leased lemon. Point is, will you be happier with a check or do you want your car back?

    No one’s made this point yet, but these companies are not in the business of giving money away; you’ve got to fight for it.

  30. Tonguetied says:

    If she’s driving an older car she probably only has liability on it so her insurance company is not going to be the ones to go to to get anything fixed. So that avenue is likely closed.
    I know that Progressive is trying to protect their bottom line but they still have an obligation to pay for the damage that their customer (‘s boyfriend) caused to Patty’s car.

  31. Happy Homemaker says:

    Sorry for the double post, I didn’t realize sometimes it takes almost a day or more for the post to appear. I’m new here posting, so I hope some of your take that into consideration. As it stands it looks like if I take the couple into small claims court, the cop guarding the court who overheard me talking to the court clerk said it would take a long time for the case to be heard, won or lost, what have you, and get my money, if I won. I have so much of my own stress to deal with, not to mention everyone here just plain outright complaining about the grammatical errors or claiming I’m asking for more than I need. All I wanted was the damage to my vehicle. What the other car behind me got. I don’t know why that was so hard to ask for, but apparently it was, and is. Apparently if you’re going to be involved in a leaving the scene by an idiot and you want the damages repaired, make sure your car is new. There’s your tip for Also make sure you have a Master’s Degree before you write because apparently grammar counts as well. Don’t worry, I won’t be writing in anymore with complaints, nor anything else for that matter. Sorry to have bothered anyone.

  32. pantsonfire says:

    Sorry to read that you won’t be posting here anymore. If you are however still reading the posts I have some advice on small claims court.
    The area of California in which I live has one of the busiest dockets in the state, and it only took about six weeks for my case to be heard. The experience was well worth the wait.

    If you win your case and are unable to collect, sell the judgement to a collections agency. You will end up with less money but you get the added satisfaction of unleashing bloodthirsty collection agents on the offending party.

    good luck.

  33. Elaine Chow says:

    Woah Patty, I get that you’re under a lot of stress, but don’t take the ‘please use the paragraph key’ posts so personally!

    I like your story, and as a person with an autistic cousin, I can see how you already have a lot on your hands. A lot of people who read this site no doubt sympathize (as seen in most of the comments here) and are willing to offer pretty spot-on advice to help you deal with your situation.

    Not everyone at the consumerist is a grammar nazi and the website is still entertaining/informative to read… don’t kick it for some of the commenters! That’s really throwing the baby out with the bathwater!

    I’d personally like to hear updates on what happened with your car (and whether you’re getting a new one, this time with collision insurance)!

    P.S. Though, if you do want to make your email/responses a little easier to read, try making sure each paragraph only contains three sentences. That’d probably help eliminate the needless “MYHEADHURTSREADINGTHAT!” comments.

    P.P.S. Wow, I sound like a Consumerist fangirl… which I guess I am. :P

  34. Terrelowens says:

    Couple of things here…………….what was the estimate that your mechanic came up with? I am guessing more than the amount that Progressive offered you but how much more? More than 80% of the value of your car would likely make it a total loss.

    Also, as far as the check goes, the whole, “signing the check is the end of the claim” is a myth. If that check does not say “full and final release of all claims” then that check is NOT going to end your claim. Cash the check and at least get the gas tank repaired. I am shocked that no one brought up the fact that your car could, you know, explode, due to the leaking gas problem. Ever heard of static electricity?

    Finally, anyone who doesn’t think insurance is regulated to the extreme needs to go to their state insurance commisioner’s website and look up all the rules and regs. Don’t read them, that would be insane, just look at them. And, if you really have a complaint against them you can file it with the insurance commissioner, for free, and the insurance company will be required to respond within a few days. Any time an insurance company has a complaint filed against them it goes against their “history.” Enough complaints and they will be audited to be sure they are treating their customers (insured and claimants) fairly.

    Good luck with your car.

  35. riggs says:

    I’ll get on my soapbox here for a second, as an actual insurance agent…in this sort of case, it’s a good idea to call your own company and let them subrogate. In other words, they go ahead and give you money to get your car fixed, and then they collect from the other person’s insurance company. Quick and easy, if you have a good insurance company. Hearing stories like this makes me cringe-it does nothing to help the negative perception of the insurance business. Believe it or not, there are good guys out there, I consider myself one of them…

  36. Happy Homemaker says:

    I’m sorry I got so upset. As you can imagine, this has been very upsetting for me. This is my only working vehicle and it is my daughter’s lifeblood. My own as well. For terrelowens, Progressive offered, as a final estimate, $658.64. I got so tired of fighting, I signed the check just to get it over and done with. My car is totaled. It is beyond repair even with the mechanic fixing it. Because of the accident, everything is going now. Even if I fix the gas issue and rim issue, I might as well consider the car a lost cause. My mechanic said the car damage was $1094.64. A difference of $436 total. I finally decided it just wasn’t worth fighting over $436, especially over the stress it was causing me.

    I’m on 3 different migraine medications because I get about 2-3 migraines a day. One of the meds has a side effect of anorexia and I’ve lost 30 pounds in the last 3 months since I’ve gone it. This stress just amplified so much more, it wasn’t even funny. I have an appointment this week a half an hour away, plus my daughter has an appointment in two weeks in the same place and there’s no way my car will make it even after repair. Basically, they royally messed up my car. I’m going to have to reschedule those appointments once again, and hope to God they don’t dump me as a patient, because I can’t afford to lose this neurologist who treats my migraines, or my daughter’s seizures.

    Thankfully, my husband is looking at a refund check from college in the amount of almost $1000 and his GI Bill at the beginning of the month in the amount of almost $1034. If it gets us something to get us out of town until tax season, I’ll be happy. He’s looking at a 4×4 truck for himself and between now and tax season, I’ll save roughly $300 a month, plus what we get from taxes, which is roughly $3500, to get something better. From the way this Neon is driving, I give it about a month before it craps out completely, if that, if we’re luckly. Again, thank you for those who were kind to me. I’m sorry if I snapped. Stress and I don’t always mix lately. It’s also been suggested I file a complaint with the better BBB, your thoughts?

  37. Terrelowens says:


    Seriously, if you are that upset, file a complaint with the insurance commissioner. For the time you have spent here at least make them answer you and the department of insurance.

    Good luck.

  38. Blueskylaw says:

    Is that MacGyver in his old age? I used to watch him when I was a kid. Ohhhhh the memories. *sigh*