Most of us think of insurance claims as pretty serious business. Our car has been totaled, a tree crashed through the living room ceiling, someone was hurt on our property, there’s been a medical crisis, but what about . . .
– I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.
– To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck a pedestrian.
– The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in a bush with just his rear end showing.
– Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.
– No one was to blame for the accident, but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert.
– I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough, and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way.
Real Insurance Claims
Every one of those lines is from an actual insurance claim, and illustrate the unknown and very funny side of the industry. When people start trying to explain what happened to them, and why they are due compensation, the results are often hilarious. “Windshield broke. Cause unknown. Probably voodoo.” (For the record, there are very few voodoo policy riders available. As in none.)
Some of these funny claims stem for mangled use of the language: “I was on my way to the doctor’s office with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way, causing me to have an accident.” Others just represent mangled reasoning, for example, “I didn’t think the speed limit applied after night.” Others just stretch credulity to the breaking point. “An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car, and vanished.”
A Claim with a Plot
Sometimes, the entire claim process can read like the plot of a bad novel. In Charlotte, North Carolina, for instance, a lawyer insured two-dozen rare cigars under his homeowners insurance. A month later, he filed a claim saying the cigars had been lost “in a series of small fires.”
The kicker to that story, however, is that a judge ruled in the man’s favor and forced the insurer to pay out $15,000 in damages because the policy did not define the parameters of an acceptable fire. — But wait. It’s not over. — The insurer then had the man arrested on 24 counts of arson!
People Want the Value of their Policies
As ridiculous as most of these claims are, they are clearly from people who are trying to explain what happened in order to get the maximum value out of their coverage. (Okay, maybe not the one about the cigars.) They’re trying a little too hard, but they are trying. Why? Because insurance is not cheap, and people are scared to death they won’t recoup the cost of their coverage when it comes time to make a claim.
It is possible to control insurance costs and to get inexpensive coverage if you use simple tools, like an online quote engine, to compare rates, do your research, and negotiate. As for accidents that happen because you “had one eye on the truck in front, one eye on the pedestrian, and the other on the car behind?” Those we can’t help you with.