If Progressive Auto Insurance offered to insure my vehicles FREE for LIFE, I would decline. Here’s why…
Prior to 2005 I lived in New York State where on three separate occasions I had a car rear-ended by a driver who had coverage through Progressive Insurance. In one case I was stopped at a “T” intersection waiting behind two other cars to turn right. I noticed a car approaching me from behind but didn’t think too much about it until they struck my car.
It turns out the girl (maybe 19) was eating and had dropped some food. When she reached down to pick it up she plowed into the back of my car. I had a full-size Ford station wagon. At first glance it didn’t appear she did much damage other than some scratches, however her car was pretty messed up in the front. We exchanged information and I contacted her insurance company (Progressive Insurance) when I got home. They confirmed her as their insured and sent an adjuster out to look at my vehicle.
While there was no structural damage, the exhaust system was affected by the impact which pushed the tail pipe forward into the muffler damaging it and the catalytic converter. The adjuster told me that my car was used and that they would replace the parts with “used” parts. I argued this point with him based on the fact that there is no way to gauge the lifetime of a use muffler or catalytic converter and told him they needed to be new. The next day he was there and was about to print me a check for the repairs when he got a call. He stopped what he was doing, told me to contact Progressive and then left without giving me the check.
When I contacted Progressive they informed me that the girl was no longer insured and that they would not be paying for my repairs. I told them she was insured when I called, how can that be and the lady said, “We haven’t received a payment yet for this month, so we’re cancelling the policy back to the due date.” How convenient. That was a new trick for me, but not the first time I had heard it. Just a year or two earlier I was driving down a New York State Highway when a car sped up behind me and started tailgating me. It was a double yellow line so he couldn’t pass and so I braked to pull over, but he accelerated to pass me on the right at the same time. Needless to say, he rear-ended me.
The damage was pretty obvious on both cars. Mine was a 1992 Buick Century and the rear bumper was crushed right into the trunk. At first he puled over and then I could tell he contemplated leaving the scene. When I started to give chase he pulled over and I parked in front of him to prevent him from taking off again. He resisted giving me his information and even stood in my way of trying to read his license plate at first. He had a girl and another guy in the car and at first it seemed like they were going to try and overpower me, but then they realized I had a pregnant woman in my car (witness) and he then complied.
When I got back to my house I called his insurance company, which was Progressive Insurance. I explained what happened and the woman on the other end said that their insured already called and gave a different story. He told her that I passed him, cut him off and slammed on the brakes! I said I had a witness and would go to court to fight this if necessary. In the mean time I was asked if I filed an accident report. So I contacted the State Police and they sent someone out. He took some information and then contacted me back after he contacted the other driver, who told the State Police Officer that he never left his house that day!
When I asked the cop who was driving the car, he said the kid told him it must have been stolen. I asked the cop if he ever heard of someone stealing a car right from the guy’s driveway while he was home, wrecking the car and then returning it without anyone noticing it. He agreed it seemed absurd but said the guy had a girl and a guy as witnesses / alibis. So I would have to go to court, his word against mine. In the mean time I contacted the insurance company who gave me the bad news. This guy hadn’t yet paid his insurance premiums for the month, so they were “retroactively” cancelling his insurance.
So you see, I wouldn’t go with Progressive even if it didn’t cost anything, because if something happened, the chances of having coverage aren’t looking very good! To make matters worse, police can’t issue tickets for being uninsured because, as far as they’re concerned the driver had insurance at the time of the accident. In order to avoid having to pay they will simply cancel the insurance of their driver and make it retroactive so as to avoid any legal issues. How clever is that? And just when I thought that was one of the worst things an insurance company could do to someone, I found the following article online which made me sick and completely changed my view of Progressive Insurance.