I Almost Switched Auto Insurance in 2024 for This Reason

In late 2022, I was driving along the road after picking my daughters up from school when a car pulled out into the street and hit me on the passenger side. Because I was going slowly, and the other driver was only pulling out from a parking spot, thankfully, no one was hurt. But due to the size of the other vehicle, my entire passenger-side door got smashed to the point where it couldn’t be opened, and there was some cosmetic damage to the right side of my vehicle.

What made the situation not only frustrating, but awkward, was that the driver of the other car was an acquaintance of mine. She felt awful about the accident (one of her kids had distracted her enough to take her foot off the brake) and was quick to reassure me that she’d call up her insurer and claim full responsibility. But I still had to go through my auto insurance company to file a claim.

That process, however, was far from pleasant. And because of that, I almost switched my auto insurance for 2024.

A stressful situation made worse

The problem with needing auto repairs is that you’re at the mercy of your local auto body shop. And it, in turn, is at the mercy of car part manufacturers. What should’ve been a fairly quick and easy repair to my car took almost a month because the auto body shop I used (namely because it was approved by my insurer) had to wait that long to receive a replacement door for my vehicle.

During that time, I was forced to go without a car, period, and share my husband’s vehicle because the stingy rental car allowance my insurance company provides wouldn’t have covered the cost of a rental. Not only was the daily allowance low, but I needed coverage for more days than what my policy allowed for. And I didn’t want to shell out money out of pocket for a rental when we could technically get by on one car, albeit in a hassled manner.

I tried contacting my auto insurance company to see if we could somehow put the cost of a rental car onto the other insurance company — the one ultimately responsible for paying, since the other driver was at fault. But my claims adjuster didn’t return my calls or offer any assistance in that regard.

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Meanwhile, I had to shell out $750 for my auto insurance deductible to cover the cost of my car repair. I was told by my insurer that I “should” get reimbursed that money eventually once my insurance company recouped its funds from the other driver’s insurance. But every time I called to follow up on that, I got no answer at all.

Thankfully, I had the money in savings to cover the $750 charge that went on my credit card. But in the end, I didn’t get reimbursed my $750 for many months. Someone in that same situation without the money in their savings account would’ve paid interest on that balance and had no recourse.

I stayed for the savings

All told, I was so frustrated by my auto insurance company’s lack of communication and responsiveness during this incident that I started to shop around for new car insurance in 2023 in the hopes of making a change for 2024. Only in doing my research, I found out that I was paying a lower premium with my current insurer than what I’d be paying elsewhere. For this reason, I decided to stay.

Interestingly, a 2022 J.D. Power study found that while Americans were generally satisfied with the service they were getting from their car insurance companies, premium costs were an issue. I seem to have the opposite problem — I’m OK with what my premiums cost because they’re competitive, relatively speaking, but I’m clearly not a fan of my insurer’s customer service.

However, I’m giving my auto insurer one more chance because of the cost, and also, because it may just be that I got stuck with a lousy claims adjuster this last time who was particularly uncommunicative. I’m hoping there won’t be a “next time” in terms of another incident that results in damage to my car. But if there is, then I hope I’ll get assigned to someone better. And if not, then I might really need to make a switch even if it costs me some money.

If you’re unhappy with your auto insurance for whatever reason, it certainly doesn’t hurt to at least do your research and see what other options are available to you. You may ultimately decide to stick with your current insurer like I did, but at least then you’ll have all of the right information.

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