A couple of days later, the owner called, and we exchanged insurance information. Right away, he said that he was surprised to see the note and thanked me for leaving it. “Most people would have just driven away.” It was a pleasant exchange, and when I apologized, he said, “Things happen. That’s why we have insurance, right?” You would think that’s why.
When I called GEICO to make the claim, the first thing the agent said to me was how commendable it was that I left a note as people rarely do that. He also told me that I might want to wait to get my car repaired because if the damage to the other car came to under $1000, then my rates wouldn’t go up. So I could wait and decide if it was worth it for me to get my car repaired.
So I waited. I checked in with the other owner and he said that he had been busy, so he hadn’t had a chance to bring his car in yet. I waited some more. And finally after a few weeks, I got an answer: the total, according to GEICO, had come to $867, so, I was again told that if I chose not to get my car fixed, my rates would stay the same.
I brought the car to numerous places, thinking I could just pay for the repair myself. But everywhere I went, I was told that it was more work to fix it than I realized. The lowest quote I got was close to $2500. And, yet again, people expressed surprise that I had left a note.
The damage didn’t look that bad, and it had no effect on the integrity of the car, so I ultimately decided I would not get it fixed. That way, I would not have to pay my $500 deductible or have a rate increase, which I was told by a GEICO agent would be a couple of hundred dollars every six months and would last three years, so I would be saving thousands of dollars over the long run by not filing my own claim.
And then yesterday I got my new GEICO statement. What a surprise to see that my rate had gone up a whopping 42.3%. I kid you not: 42 percent. Why? Because I did the right thing.
I was surprised and mad since I had been told multiple times by GEICO’s own staff that I was in the clear since the other person’s claim was below $1000. So I called today to find out what happened and why I keep getting different stories each time I call. Well, after I was once again thanked for my 18 years of loyalty with GEICO, Melissa, a supervisor, told me that it turns out that in addition to the claim, there was also a rental car charge, and that put it over the $1000 threshold. So those other agents (there were numerous since I had called multiple times just to make sure) had told me the wrong information, according to her.
Then, I asked about the 42 percent increase. Melissa informed me that there are several factors that go into rates, one of those being studies that show that when you compare two drivers, one with an accident and the other without one, the one with one is a much higher risk. I guess a 42 percent higher risk. Just curious… Did being a person who did the right thing get factored in there at all?
My plan now is to get my car fixed and do the right thing by saying good bye to GEICO after 18 years of loyalty. They’ll also be losing my husband, and I have already told my mom to switch as well (I had originally suggested GEICO to her for their great customer service and rates). And I will be telling all of my friends. Just never realized that their rates are only great until you actually use your insurance. Silly me, I thought insurance was there for you when you actually need it.