10 Nightmares of Car Insurance

Car insurance nightmares include (1) identity fraud, (2) canceled policies, and (3) unfair fees. Avoid car insurance nightmares by comparing multiple companies before buying.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 22, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Filing an insurance claim can indeed go wrong
  • Car insurance companies, at the end of the day, are a business
  • You can help to protect yourself from experiencing car insurance nightmares
  • You can get FREE quotes to help choose the best car insurance company for you

Nobody likes filing a car insurance claim.

When an insurance company goes wrong, though, it really tends to go wrong. Take it from us, in the wrong situation, even the best insurance companies can be the worst.

In this article, the names of various car insurance companies have been changed to protect the innocent (and not-so-innocent). Here are ten real-life, insurance, horror stories pulled from customer complaint sites.

But remember, so you don’t have these horrible car insurance company experiences too, read the complaints below and take some initiative to get free quotes. Just enter your ZIP in the FREE box above to start!

#1 – No, You May Not Use a Coupon

Bill was driving down the highway when he had the misfortune of meeting a rock slamming into his windshield. Fortunately, Bill was okay, but his windshield not so much.

So, what did he do? He took it to an auto glass repair shop with a coupon offering $50 off his deductible for replacing the windshield.

One problem: Bill’s insurer wouldn’t accept the coupon. Why? Nobody knows.

In fact, Bill himself was and remains somewhat baffled that his insurer could prevent the coupon being used at all. It’s not even their business. So, Bill had to pay full price and wound up finding another insurer.

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#2 – Nosy Insurance Agent Wants To Know Everything

Car insurance actuarial tables are extremely detailed.

The more information they have about their customers, the easier it is for them to get a handle on how much insuring them will actually cost.

There is such a thing as being a bit too intrusive, though. Jane learned this the hard way.

Jane just wanted to get an insurance quote comparison from one company. She filled out the form online, called the 800 number, and spent 53 minutes with a representative that was more concerned about her personal life than her car.

Jane, you see, had made the profound mistake of not marrying the boyfriend she was living with for the past six years. Apparently, car insurance customer service had then felt it absolutely necessary to ask her why she wasn’t married for fifteen solid minutes.

Needless to say, Jane stuck with her current insurer, who only cares that she drive responsibly and pay her bills.

#3 – You Owe Us For Our Mistake

It was nothing personal. Daryl really had no problems with his insurer. He had just found a better rate for his vehicle and moved on. He thought everything was hunky-dory…until he got a bill.

You see, Daryl had not only ended his policy, he’d also closed the checking account from which he usually had the company withdraw his payment.

So his payment (which he didn’t owe) was withdrawn from his checking account (which they no longer had permission to access) and bounced, meaning they thought Daryl owed them a bounced check fee.

Simple call to customer service, right? Wrong.

Ultimately, Daryl did get the charge waived, but only after he’d personally emailed every executive in the company to let them know what was happening.

That took two months. Daryl, needless to say, is happy he switched.

#4 – Identity Thief Gets You Car Insurance Quotes…Lots of Them

This one isn’t really the car insurer’s fault — at least, not at first.

Mark had his identity stolen, but he only found this out because he kept getting calls about the rate quote he’d previously asked for.

As it turns out, somebody was using his card to play Facebook games and using his name to fill out special offers for insurance quotes so as to get in-game bonuses.

Even after he’d put a fraud warning on his credit report to keep the insurance companies from checking his credit, the calls just kept coming.

No matter what he did, no matter how many times he explained the situation, they kept calling.

And, just to make matters worse, as this establishes a “previous relationship,” it meant Mark got more and more telemarketing calls. Talk about adding insult to injury!

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#5 – Insurer Told Not To Discriminate, But Does It Anyway

Insurers always figure out how much insuring your car will cost them, but there are limits. For instance, you can’t be denied insurance because of, say, your profession, age, or accident record if you weren’t found at fault.

That is, though, unless you’re a car insurer in a certain large state. A state in which case you were busted for doing all three (and more!).

Not excluding: tricking consumers by forcing their brokers to mention discounts that the customer wasn’t actually eligible for, and collecting higher premiums by forcing brokers to send them some of their fees.

Yes, they actually ripped off their own employees.

On the bright side, we bet it improved customer service. After all, the employees were in the same situation as the customers.

#6 – Got a Classic? Get a Free Runaround!

All David wanted to do was to get his classic car repaired after an accident. He wanted to do this under the policy he’d specially purchased for the car.

He’d done everything right, collecting the information needed on the scene and proving he wasn’t at fault, despite the pain of an injured wrist.

Then the insurance company dropped the ball. They lost his paperwork, insisted the claim was actually being handled by another company, and claimed they had no idea what he was talking about.

The moral of the story? Visit in person: David didn’t get his check until he showed up at the office himself.

#7 – Musical “Claims-Adjuster” Chairs

Totaling a car is heartbreaking, but, sometimes, the cost of repairing the car really isn’t worth it. But here’s the catch: whether or not it’s “worth” repairing really is up to the insurance company.

Tom, the one stuck in this situation, had to deal with the joy of “musical” claims adjusters, where every time he spoke to somebody, it was a different person.

  • First, they tried to total his van, when it only needed new airbags and cosmetic repairs.
  • Next, they tried to avoid paying the claim.
  • When Tom proved a bit more tenacious than they expected, they accused him of trying to defraud them for $200, since his nephew was nowhere near the van and yet injured.

Of course, the police had reported Tom’s nephew as in the van, but why stop there?

Tom finally got his money back, and a new insurance company.

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#8 – Your Insurance Is Cancelled. No, You Don’t Need To Know About It

Charlie was simply driving along one day and got pulled over for a minor infraction. It happens to all of us. Unfortunately for Charlie, his insurer had apparently decided to cancel his policy and not tell him.

Fortunately for Charlie, he wasn’t in a wreck. But we doubt that takes away the sting of the $1,200 in tickets and fines he was forced to pay after driving without insurance after two traffic stops.

#9 – Just Trust Us, We Have the Best Rates

Ever see those car insurance commercials where they tell you that all you need to do is visit their website to find the best rates available?

And they make it seem like you really don’t need to compare other companies rates? Yet you get a little bit of a “this smells fishy” type of feeling in the pit of your stomach?

#10 – Sorry Your Husband Died. Oh, and We’re Canceling Your Policy

We rank this one as the worst, simply because of the sheer insensitivity of the whole thing. A widow received a condolence card from her insurer after her husband was in a fatal car accident.

In the same envelope was a letter informing her that all of her car insurance with that company was being canceled.

What, did you not want to pay the forty-three cents for another stamp?

Why not find a GREAT car insurance company for a low price? Compare options with the free quote tool and see how much you might be able to save. Enter your ZIP code for FREE quotes now!

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