Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Making Claims

Last Friday, as you may know, my wife was involved in a minor accident. As required, we reported it to our own insurance company, but since the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver, we filed the claim with his – Progressive Insurance.

I expected them to require an inspection by their own claims adjustor, then for me to provide three estimates, then for me to pony up the funds to pay for the repair prior to them reimbursing me…along with possible delays in that reimbursement. That’s not exactly what I got.

As they instructed me, I drove my van in to their office on Monday morning. I showed up about 10 minutes early for my appointment, and they didn’t have all their staff on hand yet, but the one clerk present directed me to the available coffee/tea/cocoa table and told me someone would be with me shortly. The wait was indeed short – once another clerk arrived, she took my information and key, had me sign the rental car contract, and walked out with me to look at the damage. I pointed out the impact area, noted a few older dents that were unrelated (gaining her thanks for my honesty), and turned my van over to her. She pointed out my rental vehicle – since I was bringing them a van, they provided me a van to replace it. I’d actually rather they’d asked about that, since I didn’t expect to need the extra room this week and would rather drive a small sedan, but I still have to count it as a thoughtful and considerate gesture. I made a quick inspection circuit to confirm that the rental was in good shape, got in, familiarized myself with the controls, adjusted the mirrors, and got on the road. Glancing down at the clock, I saw I’d been there a mere 20 minutes – INCLUDING the time I had to wait due to showing up early.

Before the end of the day, their inspector had taken off the bumper and determined what needed replaced, checked with their contracted repair folks, made sure parts were available, and called me to let me know the details, including an estimate that I could get my van back on Wednesday.

An e-mail on Tuesday confirmed that they were still on schedule, and a phone call today let me know for certain that I could pick it up tonight. That process was just as simple, and took me about five minutes. While I was trading keys, the clerk reminded me that the repairs had a lifetime warranty, then he handed me the paperwork and I was on my way.

I don’t file insurance claims very often – maybe all companies handle them this way now. And though I think I need to ask my own company about their claims process, I’m not certain I want to switch over. I am certain, however, that if my car gets hit again, I want the OTHER driver to have Progressive!

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