We’ve received a follow-up email from Chuck, who has spent the better part of the week trying to determine why Progressive’s Roadside Assistance service—for which he pays an additional monthly fee on top of his normal insurance premium—sucks so badly that they’d leave a motorist stranded for 45 minutes on a busy Interstate on a weekend morning.
According to a reader, Progressive—the insurance company that sends private detectives to secretly tape-record church support group meetings—took 45 minutes this past weekend to put a live person in contact with a woman who was stranded on a busy Interstate in Nashville after a tire blew out on her car. Eventually, a Tennessee Department of Transportation officer stopped and helped her.
Just when you thought insurance companies couldn’t get any sleazier, Progressive Insurance got caught sending private eyes to infiltrate and secretly record an Atlanta area church support group in hopes of digging up dirt to discredit a church couple involved in a car accident lawsuit, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Insurance companies are opening their own in-house repair shops to avoid haggling with your local mechanic. Local mechanics consistently complain that insurance companies are cheapskates that would rather save a buck than authorize the repairs needed to safely return a car to the road. By opening their own shops, insurers have found the corporate equivalent of sticking your finger in your ear while mouthing “I can’t hear you!”
Rather than putting the onus on customers to find a body shop, get an estimate and arrange a rental car, Progressive, Geico and others are setting up one-stop service centers to handle every aspect of the claim.
Progressive and Geico guarantee their repairs for life, though it’s difficult to trust someone who has a direct interest in keeping the repair bill low. Two customers interviewed by the Times found obvious defects in the insurance companies’ workmanship. Still, the customers left happy, not because their cars worked, but because they were treated well by smiling insurance company representatives. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
A former Progressive car insurance customer service rep has stepped forward into the light to give us the low-down on how his ex-employer works:
Since them I received an updated bill and it was $67.50 cheaper (for 6 months)–just based on a new credit check! Obviously if readers credit history worsens, wouldn’t recommend an updated credit check, but for most people, if you don’t ask for the current credit check, you could be losing dollars.
Good tip, Jeff. Insurers compare your credit score to the scores of their other clients and use it as a way to predict how likely you are to have an accident. Apparently, people with similar credit scores have similar driving habits. For more info on how Progressive uses this information, click here. —MEGHANN MARCO
Just because an insurance company has Progressive in their name doesn’t mean they’re any different from the usual penny-pinchers.
Spotted this at the often quite good I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog.
Martin, also a California lawyer, doesn’t believe God was in that crashing car at all. He writes:
While we were busy being befuddled, a California lawyer slipped a smart-bomb in the comments.
Did you know that if a guy has a stroke while driving and barrels into four other cars, and no one knows he had a tumor beforehand, it’s considered an Act of God?