Thursday, July 14, 2011

Incredible Insurance Ignorance

Here's a tale from someone who is or was, as they say, "unclear on the concept". Totally.

When I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won't name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company -- let's call it Acme Insurance in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended and I called up Acme and said, I'd like to see if I can get my car repaired, and they laughed at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance; what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn't serious insurance.
Let me translate a little bit of this stupidity. "[W]hat it was set up was to meet the legal requirements." That would be the legally required liability insurance, to compensate others for damage you do. "{T}his was set up not to actually provide insurance[.]" Not intended to cover his own vehicle, under coverage he evidently did not purchase. So this guy clearly had just the legally required liability insurance coverage, and no coverage for the repair of his own car. And he didn't know the difference.

But then insurance is insurance is insurance. Right? If you have insurance of any flavor, it should take care of everything. Right?

The tale makes me wonder how anyone could get through high school, much less college, and not know such basic information? Especially since this kind of information is given routinely by every driver's training class and every auto insurance agent. (After all, the insurance agent wants to sell you the additional coverage, so it's in his interest to make absolutely sure you understand that liability coverage doesn't cover your own car at all.) How incredibly ignorant and just plain dumb does one have to be not to know something this basic? One would be tempted to put something like this down to deliberate stupidity.

And why didn't he file a claim against the other driver's liability insurance? Since he says he got rear-ended, the other driver was (probably) at fault and a claim could/should be made against that driver's liability insurance. Why did he apparently not know enough to get the other driver's insurance information so he could file such a claim? That, too, is awfully basic. Since he didn't, this tale indicates this young man never looked at any of the information provided by his insurance company — you know, the standard stuff with titles like "What to do if you have an accident". More incredible ignorance.

It turns out this individual is still as ignorant as ever. Right after telling the tale above, he got to the reason he was telling his tale, as he went on to say.

Now, it's one thing if you've got an old beat-up car that you can't get fixed. It's another thing if your kid is sick, or you've got breast cancer.
It's hard to believe anyone could possibly be this dumb-as-rocks ignorant. This must be one of those fake things that gets passed around by e-mail periodically. Except it's not. This story was told in an interview given as part of the push to get the Obamacare bill passed. The interview was on CNN. It is now on YouTube, and is linked here.

Being as charitable as possible, this level of ignorance could be real and, if so, may be at least partly responsible for this same individual repeatedly telling what turns out to be, at best, a highly misleading story about his mother's supposed difficulty getting her health insurance to pay her medical claims in her last month of terminal cancer. He keeps insisting the insurance company was trying to avoid covering his mother's medical bills, a statement that is simply not true. The only claim denied was a separate disability insurance claim, not any claim for coverage of her medical bills. It would take someone who is dumb-as-rocks ignorant, or suffering from deliberate stupidity, not to know the difference. The alternative is that he is, and has been, simply lying.

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