Friday, November 6, 2009

You Don't Say!

On the television show, The $25,000 Pyramid (et al) it was never about what you said but what you implied. In that show and others of its kind like 'Password' you made money by figuring out what was meant by using logic to determine what was left out.

Unfortunately the only ones to have learned a lesson from those shows seem to be the insurance companies. And they are playing the game to perfection.

Many years ago my home owners insurance cost under $300 per year and I was covered for nearly everything one could think of with the possible exception of elephant stampedes. But in the 20 years that I was complacent about shopping around my insurance company slowly but surely increased their coffers at my expense.

The policy continued to look the same and the wording was just as hard to read or follow without a PhD in obfuscation but tiny additions or riders kept cropping up. For example my home was always covered for damage caused by events other than my negligence. But a few years ago I received a note about flood damage. Suddenly there was a new worry and a new rider I had to purchase if I wanted to cover that possibility.

Other such riders include Hurricane damage and were quantified by category of storm. In other words if a storm was too weak to be worried about I was covered but if it was a 'cat 3' or higher I had to purchase another rider for coverage. Simply put I was now only covered in the event of a fart damaging my home. Anythiong stronger than a fart would be at my expense.

Without checks and balances I believe that in another 10 years my home will only be covered for those elephant stampedes of which I spoke earlier. And then only if they happen during a solar eclipse.

Insurance companies are not the only once complicit in the scheme to defraud their customers. Think back to that ground coffee you used to get at a supermarket. There was 16 ounces in a can of a certain size. The can stayed the same size but only those few observant consumers may have noticed that the contents of the can was getting lower. In fact the last time I bought a can of coffee at a supermarket the normal can I had grown up seeing on the shelf held only 10 ounces. But the price never dropped.

Guardian Health, one of the 'who gives a shit' insurance companies out there (and my current one unfortunately) was caught dropping an entire group of disabled individuals because as one of their soon to be fired employees wrote in a company email, "...These dogs are costing us too much to cover..." (sic)

So Guardian realized that dropping 1 person who cost them too much was illegal but dropping everyone like him could give them safety in numbers. Naturally they reversed their stance WHEN CAUGHT!

My auto insurance costs just went up. No I did not place a claim. And actually according to the guy who took my complaint call I was wrong - My rates did not go up. What happened was they discontinued a discount I was receiving. My reply was simply, "But yesterday I was paying $X and today I am paying $X plus X. On what planet do you not see my out of pocket expense being more now than before?" I don't care if there is less coffee in the can as long as you charge me less for the product NOT MORE!

There is a major disconnect in this country. Too many people say they want Government out of their lives. But they also want less expensive health care and affordable insurance.

But Government is currently out of the lives of the big insurance companies and do not regulate them. The industry has no restrictions and can gouge us until the cows come home - and then leave and come back and on and on.

If we are to survive and thrive with a little spending money left when we retire we then the PASSWORD is listen! Listen to what's being said AND what is not. Don't forget other TV shows such as "You Bet Your Life" and "You Asked For It." And remember, the $25,000 PYRAMID was JUST a game but this is real life!

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