Eric D. Snider

Not Very Progressive

Snide Remarks #530

"Not Very Progressive"

by Eric D. Snider

Published on January 29, 2007

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The nice thing about wrecking your car right in front of your apartment is that you don't have to call a tow truck. You can just roll it back to the curb where you normally park it!

That's me, always looking for the silver lining on the radioactive cloud that threatens to extinguish all life on Earth. Another silver lining in wrecking my car is that since I work from home, I didn't have to worry about how I would get to work the next day! Which is a good thing, since I'd be doing a lot of extra work in the coming weeks to pay for the car's replacement! Huzzah and good fortune!

The car in question was a 1995 Toyota Tercel, previously wrecked when it belonged to my brother Lane. Its back end was crunched then, and the trunk was being held closed and the back bumper affixed to the body through the miracle of duct tape, but it ran perfectly. It was a good thing the BMW that hit me did so in the front. If it had hit the back of my car, already tender from its prior accident, the entire Tercel probably would have disintegrated like a vampire being staked on "Buffy."

So the front of my car is now smashed beyond repair. Since the accident was technically mostly my fault, and since there were no witnesses to verify that the BMW had plenty of time to move or slow down without hitting me (if only the driver had been paying attention instead of talking on his cell phone), I was hosed. I only had liability coverage on my car, so absent any proof that the other driver was at least partially at fault, I get nothin'.

Most of this I deduced on my own. My insurance company, Progressive, was of little help, which I guess is to be expected. I mean, you start an insurance company on the assumption that for the most part, people will be giving you money in exchange for nothing whatsoever. Ideally, the motorist sends you a payment every month, and in return, you ignore him. You spend his money, and he leaves you alone. The crazy part is, that's what the motorist wants, too! If you ever have to actually deal with him, or give him money, it means something terrible has happened. The driver would prefer that his monthly payments to you be the only contact he has with you.

So I totally screwed up the system by actually CALLING Progressive and reporting an accident. This was the first time in several years that I'd had to report an accident to an insurance company, so I wasn't sure exactly how it would go. The woman I spoke to took down the basic information and expressed perky, corporate-mandated delight that no one had been hurt. She then said a local claims agent would call me "between 8 and 10 a.m. tomorrow."

Now, I don't work in the insurance industry. I'm not familiar with a lot of the jargon, with terms like "deductible" and "actuarial tables" and "between 8 and 10 a.m. tomorrow." It turns out "someone will call you between 8 and 10 a.m. tomorrow" actually means, in layman's terms, "someone will call you never."

A few days later, I called my local Progressive office and learned who had been assigned to my case. I left her a message, which she (presumably) listened to and (apparently) deleted. Then I left her another message, and then finally she called me back. In the meantime, the other driver's insurance company had already called me and gotten my statement. In other words, I'd been in touch with someone else's insurance company more than I'd been in touch with mine. So we were off to a good start.

As I write this, more than a month has passed and I still don't know what's going on. I call the insurance woman occasionally, and for every three times I call, she'll call me back once, always at a time when I cannot answer my phone. I've gleaned from the messages she's left that the other driver denies any fault whatsoever, which provides some insight into why Progressive isn't particularly interested in dealing with me: They're going to have to pay the other guy's insurance company, and they won't be getting anything in return -- well, except for all that money I've been paying them month after month after month. But I assume they've already spent that.

Meanwhile: I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing with my old, smashed car, but I knew I needed a new one. Portland has a fantastic public transportation system, but it can only do so much, and my experience with riding the buses has led me to conclude that only crazy and/or smelly people ride the buses, and if I wanted smelly and/or crazy, I'd go to the public library and/or a county fair.

But as luck would have it, a friend of the family by the name of Auntie Karen said she had a 1994 Geo Prizm just lying around that I could HAVE, for free. There was just one condition: In order to get the car, I would have to spend the night in a haunted house!!!

Just kidding. It was worse than that: I'd have to fly to Ohio and drive the car back to Oregon. Now, I don't know if you've taken a gander at the ol' U.S. map lately, but Ohio is not where you think it is. You're thinking it's in the Midwest somewhere, maybe next to Nebraska or something. BUT NO SIR! It is way the hell east, past the Mississippi River, into the Eastern Time Zone, nowhere NEAR the Midwest. It's practically in Europe. Anyone who is from Ohio who claims to be from the Midwest is a liar. You should punch that person right in his corn-fed pie-hole.

Nonetheless, Ohio is where the car was, and the car was free, and I needed a car, and so flying to Ohio seemed like the only option. And the nice thing about having to drive a car from Ohio to Oregon in the middle of January is that you get to see so much of this great country of ours!


Stumble It!


This is the commencement of what will probably be a multi-part story, some details of which you may already be familiar with if you read my blog.

An update to the Progressive situation: I eventually made contact with the woman at the office. When I reached her, she said, "Oh, I'm glad you called!" Apparently in my previous voicemail, I'd left only my name and not the claim number, and try as she might, she could not find anyone in the system named ERIC SNYDER. Had I been in her shoes, of course, I might have tried variations of "SNYDER" (like, for example, "SNIDER") to see if maybe I was misspelling it, but that did not occur to her. So she was really glad I'd finally called back on my own.

Anyway, the bottom line is that the other driver was disputing any fault whatsoever (of course), and that even if he finally agreed to partial fault, Oregon law is that if you're more than 50 percent at fault, you're not entitled to any monetary compensation. It was now between Progressive and State Farm to work out exactly how much fault would go where -- 60/40, 80/20, etc. -- but that was none of my concern. I wouldn't be getting anything either way.

Eventually, I called a local auto wrecker to come and take the car away. I got $75 for it.

This item has 69 comments

  1. stephkitten says:

    Ah HA! Finally someone to back up my firm opinion that Ohio is NOT in fact a Midwestern state. As someone from the ACTUAL midwest (Iowa...truly corn fed there), I have always been astounded by people who think Ohio is midwestern...look at a map, people! (Ok, in fairness, driving through Ohio looks rather midwestern, but I'm just sayin' that geographically, its really stretching ;) That is the end of my rant for now...carry on.

  2. pizzocalabro says:

    I had way too much smelly and crazy today. And yet, somehow I still love my job. I must have selective amnesia or something.

    And I don't care what Wikipedia says, or what the traditional meaning of "Midwest" is, Ohio is EAST. East, people!

  3. Super Deadly Ham Ataack says:

    Debating wether or not Ohio is in the midwest reminds me of the arguments I often have with my latte-sipping east coast friends, to wit, is New York part of New England, or not? My position is yes, since it's right near Vermont and crap. And if you want to be technical it was one of the original 13 colonies. In regards to Ohio, I'll concur with everyone here. It's pretty far East.

    That being said, I hate Progressive. "Hate" may be a strong term, but thier smug, self-congratulatory commercials on TV drive me up the wall. Hurgh!

  4. Jason Wright says:

    Shouldn't Iowa and Ohio both be considered the Mid East? If you divide the country in 2, they are located on the Eastern half towards the middle. The midwest should technically be Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Etc.

  5. Matt Armstrong says:

    Spoken like people from the West coast. I'm from Michigan, and I can verify that Ohio AND Michigan are still Midwest. It's more about the personality of the communities than it is about the actual location on the map. Ohio ESPECIALLY.

  6. pizzocalabro says:

    You can lump Ohio and Michigan and Illinois together all you want, but that still doesn't make them west by any stretch of the imagination. The geographic center of the United States in in Kansas, and the population center is in Missouri (per Wikipedia), so "central" is the most you can say of Iowa, and eastern is the only sane way to describe Ohio.

  7. Lowdogg says:

    I recently learned that the guy who started Progressive Insurance is pretty far-left, which makes sense if you think of the name.

    Obviously if Eric had State Farm his agent would have come to the scene and pushed the car back for him, as well as providing on the scene estimates and body work. Still, their commercials are better than Progressive's and my SF agent is a really good guy. There is still some benefit to working with an agent, in person, who can grease the wheels in a situation like this.

    Geographically, Ohio is not in the Middle West, but sociologically it definitely is.

  8. Tom says:

    The problem with giving names to regions of the nation is that the nation keeps growing. In 1787, Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory, so called because it was northwest of the settled places like Virginia. When the Big Ten athletic league was formed, including schools from Ohio to Iowa, it was called the Western Conference.

    When I was in school, "the Southwest" still referred to the states of Texas and Louisiana, and "the Pacific Northwest" to the states of Oregon and Washington. But now if you look at a map, you have to admit that the Southwest is Hawaii, and the Northwest is Alaska.

  9. TashaKay says:

    This reminds me of how sometimes people call Oklahoma and Texas the West. Yes, 150 years ago, it was.

  10. mpb says:

    Thank you, Tom, for injecting some actual history into this moronic argument. "Midwest" is a proscriptive term, people, not descriptive, and because the term first came into use at a time when Ohio and its westward neighboring states were indeed located in the midwestern portion of this country. Compare any experiences you may have had in Ohio, Illinois, or Wisconsin with experiences you may have had in New York, DC, Bahston, or Nuh-fok. Trust me, the "midwest" is an apt designation for Ohio. If it looks like a midwesterner, talks like a midwesterner, and smells like a midwesterner, it's a midwesterner.

  11. Jeff J. Snider says:

    I knew a girl once who found out I was from Southern California, and she said, "Oh, me too!" I asked her where, and she said, "Bakersfield." I called her a liar and punched her in the nose. Sure, if you take a map and cut California into a northern half and a southern half, Bakersfield is in "southern California." But anyone who knows anything about Southern California knows that it ends long before you get to Bakersfield.

    So yes, Ohio is in the "Midwest." However, it is not in the middle or the western part of the country. Capital letters remove a lot of the directional meaning of words.

  12. bCurt says:

    I consider myself living in the west. I live in West Texas which is different than East Texas. Around here it looks west and smells w...okay, so its cattle country and often smells like it. We're the "gateway" to the West as our mall and several businesses proclaim. It has never felt "South"west here since we are up in the Panhandle (closer to Denver than Austin). Many people talk funny here but I don't think it is a southern drawl for the most part but probably Hick and there are hicks everywhere. Many also speak with a western drawl which falls anywhere between southern and nothing.

  13. Paul says:

    When dissecting the country into regions it is important to keep in mind that this country was started on the east coast. You remember that whole bit about pilgrims and colonies and what not? To them anything past the Appalachain Mountains was "west". When Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan were developed the were well west of were anyone in their right mind would live. But people knew that there was still a bunch of land more west-er than that. But that was called the West.

    Incidentally, I am from Kentucky and many people often try telling me that I'm from the mid-west. Poppy-Cock! I guess this is sort of a geographical no-mans land. I claim to be from the South, but Kentucky never officially seceded in the Civil War. We certainly are not nothern or easter or north-eastern. I guess we are Mid-south-north-eastern.

  14. mpb says:

    Paul, secession is a good geographical litmus test, but if you ask me, south of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi is "The South". Try telling this to someone from Maryland--like the girl from Bakersfield, you will get punched in the face.

  15. Rob Green says:

    Just think of all the places you can go...Kirtland, Nauvoo, Mt. Rushmore. All allong the way....but make sure you bring money for tolls.....they love to milk our wallets here in the Non-mid-West for using the tax-payer funded freeways.

  16. Megan says:

    My only experience with the southern half was driving through it once. And the one thing I noticed was that a lot of the signs mentioned a "Midsouth". Especially in the eastern half of Texas. I'd never heard of the Midsouth.

  17. Momma Snider says:

    Progressive their commercials, they show how easy it is to get started with them and pay them money, and then they say "If we make it this easy to sign up, just think how easy we'll be when you need us." (Not a direct quote.) I always say, "HA!" (Direct quote.) "So they make it easy to let you give them money, and they're saying that means they'll also make it easy to give you money back? HA!"

  18. Dave says:

    Wow, that column makes me all mad! I've had to deal with insurance companies when it was demonstrably not my fault, and they still manage to make it feel like it was. I recommend being more demanding, after all, you have every right to be. But I respect your desire to not deal with it if you don't want to...

  19. AdamOndi says:

    I have never heard anything good about Progressive from anyone that has ever had an accident involving them (either their insurance, or the other people's insurance). When I switched to a much better company after being covered by Progressive, the agent was shocked that Progressive charged what they did for the "appalling" coverage (her words) amounts. I say get rid of them and get yourself a decent insurance company.

  20. Momma Snider says:

    Unfortunately, since the accident was technically Eric's fault, and since all he had was liability, I don't think any insurance company would be much help in this case.

    But I can hardly wait until the next installment, where Eric tells about his trip after leaving Wonderful Aunt Karen's house.

  21. Diane says:

    How about this? Allstate would not pay on a claim when one of their drives ran a red light and hit me, which she admitted to me, the cop and Allstate. I was partially at fault in their eyes for going into the intersection while she was running the red light! Why didn’t I see her and stop? It took State Farm (my insurance) months to get Allstate to admit responsibility and pay the claim

  22. Ben C. says:

    Diane, I had the same problem when I hit this girl who pulled out in front of me. Except we both had the same insurance company!! They kept trying to get fault to be 60/40 when witnesses, police reports and everything else showed that I had no chance of stopping. Turns out the girls dad had some friends inside the insurance company and he was pushing them to get us to admit fault and basically told them to ware us down... We didn't. Very frustrating though.

  23. Sam says:

    Word to the wise: Buy the car for $1, then you pay tax on $1. Otherwise you pay income tax on the value of the car (because it's received as a gift). Huzzah!

  24. Rob D says:

    I always laugh when I see the Progressive commercial when the guy says something like: If we're this helpful when you are shopping for car insurance, imagine how helpful we will be once you're a client. In reality, that is rarely the case. Think about how nice sales people are when they are trying to make a sale. Once you are a customer with a contract, they don't need you.

  25. Lynn says:

    Ohio is "Midwest" the same way black people from Africa are "African-Americans" (per National Geographic). The word has taken on it's own meaning unrelated to actual physical location. Here in Arkansas, we consider ourselves Southerners, but I've heard the Midsouth designation used for Arkansas. Usually it's just South and "Deep South" though, Deep South being Louisana, MS, AL, and GA. Not Florida, for some odd reason. And Arkansas did secede.

  26. Paul says:

    Actually, gift taxes are paid by the gift giver, and there is a uniform gift exemption for up to $11,000 per recepient. Receiving a gift can be inputed income, but only to the extent of the value of the gift. Since the gift in question is a 94 Geo Prizm, I believe the value is negative $5000. So if the IRS wants to avoid paying eric money, they will just leave him alone.

  27. Cory says:

    I worked as a claim adjuster for another insurance company, so I dealt with other insurance companies claims departments quite often. Invariably, Progressive was difficult to deal with. Progressive's customer service has a terrible reputation within the industry. I am not surprised to read Eric's experience, both with Progressive failing to return calls, and the other company being opn the ball.

  28. Seespot says:

    I live in Miami, which is geographically very far south. However, it is not 'The South'. To get there you have to drive several hours north. I actually consider where I live to be the northern most point of South America.

  29. Lynn says:

    It's too bad the other guy didn't have Progressive, too. Then they would have been trying to go 60/40 with you.

  30. Joules says:

    I never say I'm from Southern California, and I'm from Bakersfield. Granted when people press as to whether it's northern or southern I'll say the latter. Generally I give an extremely long discourse on the geography of California, including how debate teams can't debat either northern or southern Calfornia, and there was no group for central California at the time I lived there. And for the record disneyland says we are southern, even if we aren't.

  31. Lowdogg says:

    Seespot, I agree 100%. I live in Gainesville, and we are definitely in the South, but I was born in Miami and when I moved to Gainesville people asked me if I was from New York.

    And Paul, the exemption is at least $12,000 this year.

    And people from SoCal are sooo proud of being from SoCal. Who cares?

  32. Momma Snider says:

    Dogg, I don't think it's so much being proud of Southern California as just that there's a difference, if only perceived. Just like the South thing.

    Is there still a town called Far West, Missouri?

  33. Insured says:

    My brother worked as a claims insurance adjuster, too, and he has said the same about Progressive in the past. On the scale of insurance companies, Progressive rates at the very bottom in terms of customer service and services that are available for the dollar you're paying. He said Farmers and State Farm are at the top, if that helps.

    And any fool who claims New York is a part of New England is at the top of my list and I'll be happy to have words with said fool out back.

  34. Ryan Byrd says:

    Huzzah is a funny word. I'm pretty sure it's Russian for "take that!" or "you didn't see that coming, did you?!?" and it's *so* close to being a palindrome.

  35. Jamie Quist says:

    Just in case Eric Snider is in the neighborhood, corporate headquarters for Progressive are near Cleveland.

  36. Shannon Cornaby says:

    "TO BE CONTINUED" What the!! I hate 'to be continued' stories! I barely tolerate them in television season finales!

    Darn you Eric!

  37. Reeder says:

    I remember when I first heard the term "back east." How can I go back there when I've never been there? The terminology on these and other matters is a bit east-centric. Kind of like "Near East," "Middle East," and "Far East." East to who? Greenwich?

    And on the insurance issue, I'll just say that I had a good experience with American Family following a bad experience. Their rates are about as low as anyone's, too, which is why I picked them in the first place.

    Why do I shill for them when they don't pay me? Hey, I've always liked Discover's Cashback bonus thing, too. When do I start getting endorsement deals?

  38. Lane says:

    I remember the FIRST time that car was totalled. It sat in grandpa's yard for a couple of months, then I slapped some duct tape on it and sold it to some chump from Portland. My insurance company was a bit more helpful than Progressive through the whole thing.

  39. Audrey says:

    Reeder: Being from the East, the phrase "back east" always bugged me, too. Excuse me, I am allowed to go back east because I'm from the region. Everyone else can just go "out east" like we easterners go "out west."

    Jeff: I knew a girl once who went around telling people she was from Los Angeles. And then I found out that her town was actually called Barstow. And then I drove through Barstow on the way to Los Angeles several years later and wanted to turn around, find her house a hundred miles outside of the real Los Angeles, and punch her in the face.

    Once, some ding-dong tried to argue with me that Pennsylvania was part of New England. Had I not just done my nails, I would have punched this person in the face. And Maryland is not part of the South, either. They're both the Mid-Atlantic region.

  40. Cheri says:

    I liked the Russian comment, although I speak Russian and never heard that used so sorry, not true.
    I really liked this article, because I bought a car not to long ago and am still searching for a more-or-less permanent insurance company. I have Progressive now, because it was cheaper then the one I had before (Geico) and I was to lazy to shop around, but payment is coming due soon (I pay per six months, once again, cheaper and easy) and because of this well thought out article, I will spend some time seriously searching out insurance companies. Sorry to bring a serious note into all of this, but Eric Snider, you have changed my life!

    Love the articles, they crack me up every time.

  41. memikeyounot says:

    I can't wait to read the end of this story--and since I'm not sure if you've already gone to the midwest to pick it up, I can testify that a 1994 Geo Metro will never make it past the border of the midwest or west or whatever. This is a 12 year old car that was not unlike driving a small canned ham can when it was new. But good luck!

  42. Craig says:

    Well, taking all this from my East Coast point-of-view....

    The states east of New York are New England. That's a longstanding definition and adjacency doesn't change things. After all, Quebec is adjacent to New England too.

    New York is its own beast. Occasionally, in the New York City area, they'll talk about the tri-state region, which almost always means NY-CT-NJ or far less often NY-NJ-PA.

    Then Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and possibly DC are the Mid-Atlantic. Arguably, Northern Virginia is also part of this region, as we are politically and economically more linked to the DC metro area than to the rest of the state.

    From Virginia southward, you get the South, but even that has different flavors, depending on where you are. The South in Virginia is not the South in Alabama, for example.

    And in real terms, many of the East Coast states are heterogeneous. For example, Pennsylvania consists of at least three major regions: (1) Western PA (Pittsburgh) being most like West Virginia, Eastern Ohio, and the Maryland Panhandle, (2) Southeastern PA (Philadelphia) being aligned with South Jersey, Upper Delaware, and Maryland's Western Shore, and (3) Central Pennsylania which is more like Upstate NY.

  43. Stacia says:

    Besides being the uppermost point of South America, I've also heard Florida described as Upper Cuba and Lower New York.

  44. Dan says:

    Craig lays it on right. "Back east" our states still reflect a little something of their heritage from long ago. Massachusetts really is a different place than NY because the folks who settled it (their religion, their tolerance, their interest in commerce, etc.) differed. Ohio is not the east. Anyone who says so has spent very little time on the east coast or in Ohio.

    Oh, and if "The West" indicates something about shared history and landscape, then West Texas is more western than Southern California or the Bay Area.

  45. The Franchise says:

    I'm from Bakersfield. (Actually, Tehachapi.) It's not southern California. I generally say central. If I give details, I let them know it's physically located in California, but culturally in southeastern Oklahoma.

    And since Ohio is part of the old Northwestern Territories, it's the Midwest. The Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania are not. And New York is not part of New England; the cultural heritage is very different from that experienced by anything from Connecticut up.

  46. Living in Nebraska says:

    A LONG time ago, my 6th grade teacher showed us a survey in which people were asked if they considered the state in which they resided was in the "Midwest". I distinctly remember being thunderstruck: EVERY state had at least one respondent who thought they were living in the Midwest. Florida had a disproportionate number of affirmative responses.

    My wife, now reading over my shoulder, says she had a roommate from North Carolina who was adamant that she was from the Midwest.

    I personally do not consider Ohio to be in the Midwest. I draw the line at the Indiana-Ohio border. My wife (she's left the room now) grew up in Ohio and she agrees with Wikipedia. Crazy woman!

  47. Auntie Karen says:

    Here's what I want to know: You know the GEICO commercial that pretends to be a discussion between the Caveman and some blonde news reporter named Connie, who says "Sounds like somebody got up on the wrong side of the rock" and then smirks?
    Is that the actress who played Alex Cahill, the prosecutor who made googly eyes at Cordell Walker ("Walker, Texas Ranger"), no matter how cheesy and tedious the dialog and plot were? Her name is Sheree North, I think.

    Dozens of dollars are riding on this bet.

    And Miss Folsom Prizm is highly offended at the insinuations of some of you that she would be a less than reliable or comfortable free ride! May your Beamers and your Benzes develop German measles and leave you stranded in a snowdrift!

  48. Momma Snider says:

    Miss Folsom Prizm is a wonderful, delightful, dependable girl who may have started life resembling a canned ham, but after years of association with Auntie Karen, she now is more like an angel. An angel with no wings, unfortunately, but an angel nonetheless.

    I used to watch "Walker," but I haven't noticed if that girl is Sheree North. (She made more than googly eyes at him, by the way.) I will watch more closely next time. My impression is that Connie the smirking reporter is younger than Sheree North must be by now.

  49. skye72 says: is the best for finding competitive prices on insurance. I had Progressive for years (VULTURES!) and after finding InsWeb, found a company that cut my 6 month payment over 50%. I've used it many times since then, and I love it! And no, I'm not affiliated with them or any other insurance company. :)

  50. robcan2 says:

    memikeyounot said that a 94 Geo Metro is like a ham can, probably not realizing that Eric's car is a Prism. The Prism should give you many more years of hassle free driving, whereas, I don't even see Metros on the road anymore. I think they've pretty much died out.

  51. Auntie Karen says:

    I need to pay more attention to details. Alex Cahill-Walker was played by an actress named Sheree J. Wilson, not Sheree North.
    Sheree Wilson was born in Dec. 1958, so I think her age might be in the ballpark to be Smirking Connie. I perused a bunch of Google links last night, but couldn't dig up any info on the name of the actress in tha GEICO ad.

    Heck, if the last memorable thing I did on TV was be Cordell's Woman, I think I'd hide out and do anonymous TV commercials, too.

  52. Brad says:

    I work for an independent damage appraisal company. Basically, we work for a lot of different insurance companies, including Allstate and Progressive (liability claims only for that latter). Believe me, the more I deal with those two in particular, the happier I am that I'm not a customer of theirs (State Farm is my insurance).

    Oh man, the stories I could tell you. Especially about trying to get in touch with the adjuster, as Eric has discovered above.

  53. Lynn says:

    Reeder- I think "back east" means they're still waiting on you to give up on the homestead and move back to Boston, pardner.

  54. thejoeinme says:

    The guy was talking on his cell phone. Use that to swing the responsibility in his favor. Dig up every study you can find that says people who talk on cell phones while driving aren't paying as much attention as they should be and are more likely to get in an accident.

    Too bad you don't have AllState. Then you could have President Palmer's ghost forgive you your accidents.

  55. ClobberGirl says:

    I've had a poor experience with Progressive, too. I recently moved from Utah and as such quit using ZLMB and began using Washington Mutual. I forgot that my Progressive insurance payments were set to come out of my ZLMB account and forgot to switch it over to WaMu. As such, my mid-November insurance payment did not go through.

    I called Progressive on December 5th to sort things out and establish a new policy for Washington state. I authorized Progressive to take both the late November and the new December payment out of my account, no qualms about paying a late fee, that was my fault. I was told by the agent I spoke with on the phone that both payments would come out of my account.

    In early January I got a "final notice" statement from Progressive saying I still owed for November. Admittedly I don't always keep the best track of my bank account, so I went back and checked and sure enough, they had only taken a payment out for December. I called them up and asked why they had only taken out the December payment. They insisted that the agent I spoke with didn't set up the November payment because that was Progressive and my new policy was under Progressive Direct and *there's a difference*, blah blah blah, whatever guys. I told them I'd send payment in January on my next payday.

    A week later, I got a collections notice. Progressive turned my account over to a collections company because they were too stupid to directly debit the payment when I authorized it and too impatient to wait for my payday. Un-frickin'-believable. As soon as my 6-month policy is up, I'm definitely switching insurance companies.

  56. ClobberGirl says:

    Blah.. Zion's Bank, not ZLMB. yes, I lived in Utah far too long...

  57. skye72 says:

    Why wait? Make up the missing payment and then switch. You don't have to wait til the end of your policy. Just make sure that once your new policy is in effect that you call Progressive to cancel. They should pro-rate the month and refund any difference. (hopefully :)

  58. Toms brother says:

    I am really glad for the insurance coments you wonderful clowns made I will definitely be switching my motorcycle policy soon.

    If anyone is feeling the need to be frustrated try and take Progresive up on the offer to receive the other companies rates, they seemed to imply that to do that i would have to get the entire state of Utah to sign up for Progresive with me.

    I guess it is just an example of a bloated marketing department and lack of funds everywhere else.

    The accident may be fightable but it should be weighed with the cost of time lost when you could be making more money than you would save by arguing with an insurance company like Progresive.

  59. bCurt says:

    Of course, the near twin of a Geo Prizm was the Toyota Corollla. I imagine the Toyota Corolla has a better reputation for the mere fact it is a Toyota though the Geo only differs in skin and was built in the same factory.

    My Geo Metro is still going just fine. Though now it is a hybrid of the Chevy and Geo Metros as it was hit by a Miata at one time and required some new parts. The driver of the Miata had no insurance, of course, so our insurance company at the time totaled it and we bought it back for $500 (great deal - paid off our car loan with the insurance money and the car was still running fine though it was then darn ugly).

    So, Metros aren't dead and they aren't Prizms and Prizms are really Corollas.

  60. PhattyMatt says:

    I think I know where the Ohio-Midwest connection comes from... We used to live in Iowa and EVERY time we would travel back to the west to visit family 2/3 of the people would ask us how we liked life in Ohio.

  61. Sarah says:

    Ha! Take that, "Muckoo for Mocoa Puffs!"

  62. Jeremy says:

    Damn, if Ohio is practically in Europe, my homestate of Maine must be somewhere in Asia. No wonder I eat so much damn chinese food.

  63. Mike says:

    Just to tie this all together, Progressive is headquartered in Ohio...and I grew up there. I considered my little suburb to be more Eastern in culture, but the rest of the state is Midwestern.

  64. Stef says:

    ha ha...I'm sorry you had to deal with the Progressively annoying insurance claim process. As a past employee of Progressive. I'm surprised you didn't have to take a lie detector test and provide a damn dna sample. Wait...that was for all those medical injury claims I did. Oh so you lost a leg in the accident? Have you ever had any medical issues with that leg before? You know we can't be 100% responsible for that loss. Rant over.

  65. Romy says:

    I live in Indiana. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan are all Midwest. Everything east of us is east. Everything west is west, and everything south, including Kentucky, is south. Any questions????

  66. Sheri Herman says:

    They Must Want Me To Just Go Off And Die Already
    by notimportant
    Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 12:26:56 PM PDT
    On February 12th 2006 at 3:30 PM my life as I knew it ended. While going 5mph up a steep residential street looking for a parking space, a driver in a jacked up Toyota Frontrunner came out of nowhere, missed the turn he was trying to make into the lane opposite me and instead over shot it and hit my car head on. He was driving recklessly fast and well over 50mph. Of course I do not remember any of this as the impact was such that my car was dragged by the driver across and down the street. Although all of the car's airbags went off, my head hit the window on my left and I went unconscious. Come with me below the fold because this story gets worse.

    notimportant's diary :: ::

    I am told that the impact was loud, residents on the street thought a bomb had exploded and so the street rapidly filled up with somewhere between 30 and 50 people. What they next saw they could not believe.

    The driver, believing I was dead (I was bleeding from my nose and unconscious) decided it was in his best interest to leave and leave as quickly as possible. My car was a Volvo - which is one of the two reasons I am here writing this diary.

    Volvos have a unique safety feature. If the car is hit from the front, the hood arches up to prevent the cars engine from moving into the car - this I understand is what killed Princess Diana. In my case, the hood was arched up so high if I wanted to I could not have seen anything but the hood through the windshield.

    The driver of the SUV saw this as an opportunity for himself rather than a lifesaving devise. It is so hard for me to say this next part because it goes into the "mans inhumanity to man" category. With my car attached to his underbelly, he put his SUV in reverse and backed down off my hood and then quickly left the scene. This action caused my car to start descending down the steep street backwards into the on coming traffic of a busy intersection. I am told my car did one complete 360 turn as it was descending, but I have no memory of this.

    [lengthy details of the accident omitted for space]

    Progressive Causualty Insurance

    If these people are your car insurance carrier, DO NOT WASTE ANOTHER MINUTE. DROP THEM IMMEDIATELY. Let me repeat. As not one of us knows what may befall us on any given day, IF PROGRESSIVE IS YOUR CAR INSURANCE COMPANY DROP THEM IMMEDIATELY.

    WHY? Yes, the man who hit me hurt me very very badly and he is paying a steep price. In truth I feel no anger towards him as the system took care of him. The real culprits here are the cowards roaming the halls at Progressive.

    Since the accident my paperwork has been lost 3 times. At one point one of the representatives told me on a Wednesday my claim was finally being settled and that the check would be cut the following Monday so I could at long last begin the expensive treatments. I called on that Monday to set up a time to pick up the check. I was so excited that I would finally be able to get the help I craved. The receptionist did not what to tell me so she told me a lie. "Oh Ramy does not work here anymore. She moved to Hawaii". "What???" I could fill another diary with the sheer number of lies I was told by an office in complete confusion over whatever really happened to Ramy So. I have been trying to find out just to make sure she is ok. In my heart I know she was fired for attempting to settle a claim. I just pray that is all that happened to her. Ramy is/was an intensely warm and bright woman about to start post graduate work in Los Angeles. We spoke often. NEVER did Hawaii ever come up in our conversations.

    Since then its been a solid 18 months of deny deny deny. The requests of me have been absurd. Clearly PROGRESSIVE is acting IN BAD FAITH. In fact they are in the TOP 10 OF CAR INSURANCE COMPANIES WHO CONSISTENTLY DENY HEAD INJURY CLAIMS BASED UPON NOTHING EXCEPT NOT WANTING TO ESTABLISH PRECEDENT
    Lastly, why would they engage is such an outrageous practice? Because the victim of a TBI costs them real money. Most of the time they count on suing the other driver to cover these expenses. But when that driver is uninsured (as 30% of drivers in Los Angeles are) that leaves them exposed.They can no longer count on the injured individuals health insurers provider to help cover some of the costs. Most if not all of these providers figured out the real costs, the LIFETIME costs of rehabilitating victims of TBI's to be well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars so NONE OF THEM COVER TREATMENT. THEY COVER ONLY AN INITIAL VISIT WITH A DOCTOR TO CONFIRM THE DIAGNOSIS. Well, that's helpful.

    So in winding up this diary (long overdo) let me conclude by saying;
    (1) I am so grateful to be alive you have no idea. In fact in the coming weeks I am changing my blogging name after all of these years of being notimportant to breathingstill - as it fits.
    (2) Thus far Progressive has paid one of over 20 bills and now I am being awaiting the lawsuits from all the unpaid parties- and worse - these parties are the doctors and hospitals and MRI clinics that helped save my life
    (3) I stated it earlier here and now I am pleading with you because as Kossaks you have played a meaningful role in my recovery to date and if any one of the hairs on any one of your heads was hurt because I had not warned you, I would be truly devasted.

    Thanks and peace
    Notimportant soon to be BreathingStill

  67. Kourtney says:

    Great article, great comments. We are all united in our hot steamy disdain for insurance dealings, and I find comfort in that. We can't get back the hours we spent supporting the 3-to-1 ratio of phone calls to claims agents, but we can certainly spend an equal number of hours supporting each other with comparable tales of insurance woes.

    Oh, and Bakersfield is in Southern California just like Modesto is in The Bay Area.

  68. kamille mackenzie says:

    I came upon this site when looking for my State Farm agent, Eric Snider. Anyway, I'd like to add my two cents about Ohio: I grew up in Chicago, went to school in Minneapolis, married in Cleveland, and have lived in Columbus Ohio for the past 26 years. Here in Ohio they call this a midwestern state. I don't care what it may have been back in the 1700's, nor do I think that the social climate of an area should determine a label designating geographical location. The fact is, "midwest" is "the north central region of the United States", and even though Ohio is defined as being a midwest state, I have a problem with the dubious logic of calling it thus. It would make as much sense to say that Nebraska is a southern state... I've long ago come to the conclusion that human beings are by and large insane!

  69. SDR says:

    I haven't re-read this until today, and I have to say a nice thing about Progressive. In December 2007 my wife & I were in an auto accident. Technically all our fault due to icy and slick conditions. Not only did they pay out everything they were contractually required to pay out in a timely basis, they even paid me a large settlement amount (I was the passenger) to close out any claims against them that might crop up in the future. It was completely unexpected and came at a perfect time for us. I don't believe they owed us anything at that point, but I was all too happy to take the money.

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