ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Mad as Hell at Insurance Company

My car after being repaird
Looks nice, but it'll be an oven come August

This is a follow up to my original post, click here to read it.

3/21/2012 UPDATE :  After taking it to a real mechanic, it turns out that the A/C wasn’t working because there was a bad hose that had to be replaced. While they don’t believe it was caused by the accident, it means that Progressive’s grease monkeys misdiagnosed a problem TWO TIMES.  I will definitely be shopping for a new insurance provider now.

For the most part, my experience with Progressive has been fairly positive, except for a few bumps in the road: they had me send my car to the wrong repair shop, the repair shop they did send it to incorrectly diagnosed the alternator as being bad when the battery was the issue, it wasn’t ready on the day I was told it was going to be ready, and despite not being found at fault, I am out $500 for my deductible, but that’s a philosophical issue I’ll discuss some other time.

Now, call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first) but I thought part of the point of having insurance was so that your vehicle would be restored back to the state it was in before it was involved in an accident. Except for running a bit noisy due to an issue with the manifold, everything in my car had been working just fine before I had my little accident a few weeks ago. Indeed, upon getting my vehicle back, I was satisfied to find that it seemed to run as well as it did before. I also checked to see if a new battery had been installed, and yes, it had been.  I had grown suspicious after realizing that my radio presets hadn’t gone away as has been the case in the past when I have replaced batteries.

So everything was fine and dandy until I hop in my car to go somewhere on Sunday. It was warm out, about 80 degrees, so I figured I’d turn on the air conditioner to give it a test run. Air came out of the air conditioner but it was not much cooler than the air outside. I left the air conditioner on for the duration of the short trip and there wasn’t much happening. Now I’m worried, because if the battery went bad due to the accident, who’s to say that something else didn’t go wrong somewhere within all the coils, tubes and who-knows-what-else that make up the air conditioning system?

I don’t go running to Progressive just yet, though. Monday was also going to be a warm day, so I figured I’d give it another test run before calling them. I started up my car during my lunch break, at about 1 in the afternoon on another warm day and I ran it for about ten minutes with the air conditioner set to maximum. It seemed as if it was trying, but the air coming out was not cooler than the air outside. As it was a warm day, it was easy to tell that it was not working.

I now knew for sure that the air conditioner wasn’t working, so it was time to contact Progressive and get it looked at. I scheduled an appointment to drop off my car this morning and pick up a rental. The temperatures on Thursday morning were pretty cool, in the mid-60s; thus, I wasn’t entirely sure that the cool air coming into my car at the time wasn’t just the product of the outside air combined my not-quite-warmed-up car, but I was now certain that my air conditioner wasn’t working as well as it had been before.

I arrived at the claims center and let the person there know what was happening. The woman said that they were going to have someone check it out and then let me know how we were going to proceed. I said okay and waited for her to return. Not even fifteen minutes later, she came back and let me know that they were not going to look at it. Apparently I had given the impression that my air conditioner was completely out, and since the air coming out was just a little bit cool (which may have been due to the outside temperature) I was going to have to get it fixed myself. She cheerfully let me know that it probably just needed refrigerant and that any mechanic could probably fix it.

But it was WORKING JUST FINE before the accident, I said. She ignored that statement, gave me my key back, and bade me farewell.

I am not very happy with Progressive right now. I now have to take time and money to have a real mechanic check my car’s air conditioner. If he finds something wrong, I then have to convince Progressive that there was no problem with it before the accident, then drop it off, get another rental, and essentially go through the same thing I did this morning. As I type this, I am getting ready to talk to my claims rep and let them know how I feel about this development, but right now I am all but ready to dump them.

Half an hour later…

So I spoke with a second agent (the one that I’ve been working with is not in the office and I won’t hold that against her) who told me that I needed to have it looked at by a mechanic…

WELL, NO KIDDING, SHERLOCK, THAT’S WHY I TOOK IT TO YOU THIS MORNING!

Apparently, they don’t have mechanics at the claim centers. So some paper-pusher turned on my AC, felt cool air coming out (remember, it is a cool morning today) and used her 1337 paper-pusher skills to deduct that I had a Freon leak somewhere.  Aw, HELL NO.

Agent #2 is going to look into it and I now get to wait for his phone call.

Another thirty minutes later…

Agent #2 said that he was very sorry and let me know that yes, a mechanic did have a look at my car this morning  (as you can see above, I was not told that) and he was the one that said the AC was fine except for being low on Freon.  I told the guy that I was skeptical because the last shop couldn’t even properly diagnose a bad battery.  So now I need to take my car to a (hopefully competent) mechanic to look at my air conditioner.

So in the best case scenario, I get to pay to get my AC recharged with Freon, which I may have had to have done anyway.  Worst case scenario is that I get to deal with Progressive again and have their grease monkeys bang on it with giant wrenches.

I know that sounds backwards, but I think I’m going to be shopping for a new insurance company now.

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