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I'm firing the gecko!

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  • I'm firing the gecko!

    I've had Geico auto insurance for a few years now. Every now and then I would call and see if there was anything they could do to lower my rates. Answer was always no, and I would periodically rate-shop other companies, but would get frustrated and burned out and walk away.

    I'm in NJ. Auto insurance hell! I'm paying $1640/yr. for minimal coverage and the highest possible deductibles. That's more than 10% of my current SS income (still jobless.) So, I decided to get serious. Found the website for NJ Dept. of Banking & Insurance. They have a chart comparing minimum coverage reqs. for a Standard policy and a Basic policy.

    I called Geico, since there is nothing on their website about a Basic policy. Agent #1 didn't know what I was talking about and insisted she was quoting me rates for the minimum NJ reqs. When I said those reqs. Were for the Standard policy, not Basic, she put me on hold, came back on the phone and said what I was looking for is only available through the State of NJ, 'Dollar-a-Day' plan.

    I hung up and called NJ DOBI, and confirmed that what I read on their website was correct. All licensed auto insurers in NJ are required by law to offer the Basic plan, and the state dollar-a-day plan was something else, and he mentioned Medicaid. He also told me if Geico told me they didn't offer the plan, I should file a formal complaint. I said thank you, I would call Geico again.

    Well, after explaining again to Agent #2, who just transferred my call to the state auto plan, I called again, and Agent #3 decided to help after I informed her about my conversation with NJ DOBI, and what the law on this was. I asked her if she could look on their website and see what I was talking about. She did. After a lot of back and forth, on hold, off hold (she didn't know anything about this either) transferred me to an underwriter.

    I was on the phone with this underwriter who spent half the time telling me what a bad policy this was, and I would be liable if anyone sued me. I acknowledged that I was aware of this, several times. I'm really condensing this story down, believe it or not. She came back with some numbers for a Basic policy. The quote was HIGHER than standard policy rates, for way LESS coverage. About all I could say was 'are you serious? Does this make sense to you that basic rates are much higher that the standard?' All she could say was 'the rates are higher because you are changing from standard to basic.' I then said, 'but the purpose of the basic plan was to provide cost-affordable minimum auto insurance as an alternative to going without insurance.' Also, somewhere in there was a conversation about my current rates, and how they were based on my credit scores from 3 years ago. (Pre-BK, everything tanked.) Where I am now, makes no difference.

    Obviously, I was getting nowhere.

    I called Progressive, and was quoted less than $1200 for Standard coverage, I didn't even ask about Basic, but I had a comparison.

    I filed a formal complaint with the NJ DOBI, asserting that Geico was purposely avoiding/skirting the law by not making the Basic plan easily available, and by charging usurious rates to avoid writing these policies.

    I'm usually a stick-my-head-in-the-sand and then just move on kind of person, but I just had to do it.

    Hopefully, I'll find another carrier and cancel them before they get wind of my complaint and cancel me.

    Thanks for listening, I just had to share.

  • #2
    I congratulate you for filing the complaint. I hope it all works out for you!

    I actually need to do some insurance shopping for our cars as well. But 'Hub has been with Allstate for years, and tends to be VERY loyal--sometimes to his detriment.
    "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

    "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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    • #3
      Thanks, AC. I think the impetus to get me to do it, is that it's not just me they are pulling this on. I'm sure there are lots of people in difficult financial straits that aren't being given the option of affordable (for NJ anyway) insurance.

      I actually had Allstate for years, and my agent was great, but Allstate never moved along with the pace of the internet. I switched just for the convenience of paying online. It was getting to be a real PIA to either drop off a check or mail it, and hope it got there in time. That was a number of years and 2 ins. cos. ago, soon to be 3 when I decide which way to go.

      I hope I'm not becoming one of those people with nothing better to do but write complaints about every little thing! Dang, I need a job.

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      • #4
        We pay our Allstate online. Perhaps this is something that is state or region specific. Or the agent.

        Good luck on the job hunt.
        "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

        "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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        • #5
          You GO girl!
          Btw we have State Farm and have been very happy with them.

          Keep On Smilin'

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          • #6
            I'm shopping. I'll check 'em all out. I have to make a change by next Wed. (Direct deposit day.)

            At the end of the complaint form, the last question is 'what do you feel would be a fair resolution?' (Paraphrased)
            In addition to asking that be investigated for illegal practices, etc., I also said I would appreciate having all the money I've paid to Geico refunded, for being overcharged and depriving me of fair rates.

            I know there's not a chance in hell the gecko will show up with a big fat check, but I figured why not ask. I'll be happy if they get audited, fined heavily, and are forced to mend their ways.

            Comment


            • #7
              Call NJ Manufacturers - I've had them for 46 years and their customer service has always been outstanding!

              Comment


              • #8
                Try calling Erie Insurance.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have Nationwide, no complaints. My rates actually went down $13 a month after buying a new car. I wouldn't recommend Allstate. I had them for about 6 months and they raised my rates twice in that period of time.

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