Archives for July 2013

Why to NOT change insurance companies

One of the standard tenets of living frugally – almost like a secret handshake – is to always shop around, to always seek a better deal and to never be afraid to switch suppliers for a cheaper source.  But sometimes loyalty pays. This report is from my most recent experience.

Air conditioner smashedBigfoot paid a visit to our backyard.

It’s true.  He left his footprint right in back of our house. Right where the upper corner of our air conditioning unit used to be.

OK, so it wasn’t quite Bigfoot’s footprint, at least not so as we could make out any toes or anything.  But what else could have crushed such a deep dent into the top of our air conditioner?

Most likely ice falling from the roof.  It was, after all, the craziest winter I can recall.  Three times the Heavens opened up and dumped snow in quantities greater than all the entire previous winter.  And three times a deep, deep thaw followed the incredible snowfalls.  And three times the thaw ended in flash freezing. That is a recipe for ice build-ups on roofs, and apparently there have never been as many eavestroughings destroyed across the region as there were this winter.  So chances are that ice, not Bigfoot, is the true culprit.

But this is not just some eavestroughing that can be replaced with a few dollars, a ladder and a prayer (for those of us afraid of heights).  This is a $4000 air conditioner.  And me with my pockets empty, still trying to pay down the solar power system.

The guys who installed the air conditioner told me that it would probably not be covered by most insurance policies.  But now that I think of it, these are the same guys who installed the unit under an exposed section of roof, when they could have installed it three feet away, where there would be no risk.

We called our insurance broker

It turned out that maybe we are covered and maybe we are not. In over 20 years, our broker had never come across a similar claim. What a time to suddenly discover that we are cruising the road less traveled, blazing a trail through the insurance claim wilderness.

If the claim is accepted, there would be a $1000 deductible and our insurance would increase by 15 percent per year.  That increase would be reduced by ten percent (to just a five percent increase) after three years.  So maybe worth making the claim?  Maybe not?

But wait – and here comes the good part – we’ve been with the same insurer for over a decade and never made a claim.  Because of that loyalty, we qualify as “Achievers” and the deductible is waived.  And no increase in premiums for us either.  Yay!

In this case, it paid nicely that we stuck with the same insurance company for the long haul.  And, yes, it turns out they would accept a claim for a bizarre ice attack on our air conditioner.

Or maybe they still think it’s Bigfoot that attacked.  Can anybody prove that it wasn’t?


Bigfoot hate air conditioner.

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