Thursday, May 19, 2005


Car accidents are weird things. While waiting at a red light on Monday, this 95-year-old guy decides to go into the turn lane, but misjudges so badly that he scrapes my car all over the rear left bumper and fender area. (I say "area" since there really aren't bumpers or fenders on cars anymore.)

So I call the insurance company and everything is taken care of including a rental car at no charge to me. I guess that's the purpose of insurance, but they always try to "gouge" you for a little more money. They do it by offering that $9 a day insurance on the rental and take a $200 deposit on your car, etc, etc. There's no need to do that. It turns out that I didn't have $200 available on my card, so they waived it! Well, if they could waive it so easily, why do it? Do they need that much protection on cars that they as a rental place get for free?

Then the body shop gave me an estimate on the damages to my car. He quoted me $1200. I thought, "So?". I mean I really didn't care. If the insurance company was paying for the whole thing, I really didn't give a hang if the repair was 50 cents or 5 million dollars! I'm not paying it, so why tell me? Am I really supposed to be grateful that "Whew, I'm glad I didn't have to pay that $1200?" Well, I did pay for it, over the last five years since I last made a claim. And this time it wasn't my fault, so charge away. I should have said just for kicks, "$1200, is that all? Surely, you could have gouged the insurance company double or triple that and justified it with "labor" costs."

It is all so artificial what we charge for things. If you really charged correctly for the body work, I doubt most car repairs would be above $50, parts and labor included. But the fact that we are at the mercy of someone else when our car is damaged, they jack up the price.

It's the same for all insurance, especially health care. I bet most pills cost about 50 cents or less, but the fact that in some cases it is life or death whether you have that pill or not, they can justify charging hundreds or thousands of dollars.


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