In praise of Eerie Insurance

Writing about Starlink made me think of another company that has treated me very well.  That’s Eerie insurance.   I never really paid much attention to insurance as I went through my career.  Every time I moved or got a new car (new to me, anyway), I would pretty much go for whatever company seemed the cheapest.

I’m not sure how i ended up with Eerie a couple of decades ago, but I did.  I got one of those umbrella policies that covered my car, house, and all the rest.  I was pretty ignorant of the problems people have with insurance companies, and had insurance because I had to have it to drive, and it seemed to make sense for the house.

Then, in 2008, disaster hit me.  I went to a forensic science meeting in Florida in February and my wife came with me.  We drove down and spent a little over a week in Orlando.  Just at the end of the meeting, I got a call from a neighbor.  She said, “Bill, I don’t know what this means, but you have water flowing out beneath the front door of your house and down your driveway.”  We had just had a very bad freeze, one of those “Once every 50 year” things, and it was almost certainly a broken pipe.

I asked the neighbor to go in and look around (she had a key to our house). She went in and told us that it was raining from the first floor ceiling, and there were about four inches of water in the first floor.

We drove back to North Carolina immediately. Sure enough, when we got there the house was flooded.  We turned off the water and called our insurance person.  She sent an adjuster to the house. It turned out that a pipe to a bathroom on the second floor burst where it went through the attic.  it had been leaking gallons per hour for three or four days.  The drywall was ruined, the ceiling had collapsed, there was mold everywhere, the hardwoof floors were ruined, the kitchen cabinets had buckled.  it was a mess.  He walked in and said “I can’t do this, you need the major claims guy.”

A few hours later, the major claims guy came by. He took a quick look inside and said.  “Don’t worry.  We’ll take care of everything.  Here’s what we are going to do.  We’ll find you an apartment and move you there.  It’s going to take a few months to fix this place, but when you move in, it will look like new.  You don’t have to do anything.  We’ll find the people to fix it and we will get it fixed.”

And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.  They found us an apartment that would take us and our pets.  The repair took almost exactly what he said it would take. The cost was well over a hundred thousand dollars.  But, when we moved back in, the house looked better than it ever had.  It had new floors, new walls, new paint, new cabinets, new carpets, new everything.  It was beautiful.  The quality and materials were as good or better than the original. It was completely fire-and-forget on our part.  We didn’t have to deal with contractors, we didn’t have to deal with the money, etc.  It all just “happened.”

I became a big fan of Eerie at that point, and have used them ever since.  I have had the occasional accident over the past two decades — once hydroplaning on I 95 after a storm and totaling my car, and a couple of minor slow-speed (but surprsingly costly) parking lot bumps. The same thing happened.  I called Eerie.  They first made sure that nobody was hurt, and then said “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of everything.”  And sure enough, they did.

I think if you are a person who wants them to cut a check and then fix things yourself in order to pocket some of the money, it may not be the best option.   It’s clear that, at least when dealing with me, they much prefer just to fix everything.  But if you’re like me and just want to get on with your life, they’ve consistently been a godsend for almost 20 years for me.

I honestly don’t know if they are cheaper or more expensive than some other plans.  The bottom line is that I feel like I owe them, and I hope that they’ve turned a profit on my custom, or eventually they *will* do so.  So, I haven’t tried to find a cheaper insurance plan.  I know that they will take care of me if I have a problem, and that’s what I’m paying for.  To me, insurance is sort of like having a savings account that you can write overdrafts on, not a profit-making enterprise for the insured.

I also don’t turn in every little thing to them.  Last year I had a tree limb fall and poke a hole in my roof.  Fixing the roof cost about five thousand bucks, and I’m going to probably spend another two or three thousand to fix some water stains.  God has given me a decent income, and that’s stuff I can take care of myself.  I think it’s a misuse of insurance to turn in things that I can easily cover myself.  It makes even less sense to turn in a six thousand dollar loss when you have a five thousand dollar deductable — which is what i think I have on my homeowner’s policy.

I know I’m a little at the tail of the curve with that attitude. A couple of years ago, I backed my truck into a tiny little sports car in a parking lot.  The sports car was so low that I didn’t see it in my rear view mirror or my backup video (I drive a 3/4 ton pickup that sits pretty high).  I cracked the front fender on the little thing (which was plastic) and it cost about four grand to fix it.  I turned it in because it was some other person’s fancy sportscar.  I found a tiny dent in the rear bumper of the pickup but decided against having Eerie fix that.  This is a working pickup and has a ton of little dings and dents from equipment, tree limbs, lumber, construction material, etc. getting thrown in the bed or accidentally hitting one fender or side panel or something.

It didn’t seem to make sense to turn in one little dent in to insurance to get fixed while ignoring the other hundred or so, particularly since “fixing” a dent nowadays means replacing the entire body component. There’s an old joke of “How many IT techs does it take to change a tire?  Ten.  Nine to hold up the car and one to change each tire until the flat is gone.”  It seems that’s how they do body work nowadays, too.  Eventually I’ll just bite the bullet, take the thing into a body shop, and have them fix everything.  Maybe next year.  But it does nobody any good to make the insurance company pay for that kind of thing, particularly since one week later somebody working a front loader a bit clumsily will ding it again.

But, when I said that to the young lady from the insurance company, she seemed incredulous.  She made me repeat it so the could record it, and then sent me a letter confirming I wasn’t going to make a claim. I think I had to sign it, though I don’t remember.  It seemed that a lot of people would make the claim just because they could.

In any case, thanks, Eerie, for being there for 20 years and always taking care of things when I needed it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.