Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Insurance and credit reports

I've had so much fun with insurance recently that I thought I would share that joy with everyone else. So, two weeks ago, I got a letter from State Farm that said that they were canceling my Segway insurance as of about now. This was a little perplexing because I got a letter from them a day before saying that my rates were raised $7. So, the following Monday I went in to talk to my agent. The reason for the cancellation is that they consider the Segway a recreational vehicle (yes, as in "RV"), even though it is my only transporation. Due to a change in policy, you now have to pass a background check to get an RV insured, and I did not. In short, since the decision was made by State Farm and not their particular office, there was nothing she could do... she even tried to get them to make an exception. (I believe this story because she was quite infatuated with the Segway when I originally got the policy.) She called around, and only Progressive and a local company were willing to insure it. I went with Progressive.

This still left me with the confusing reason that I failed my background check, which she didn't understand any more than I did. So, I called ChoicePoint and Experian to get copies of the reports that State Farm used, and I got them yesterday. Here's what I found out about myself:

I own one "car," a 2004 Segway i170. However, its VIN on file was the wrong number of digits, so I must not really own one. Of course, Segways have serial numbers, not VINs. This was the ONLY information in the entire ChoicePoint report.

Then, I took at look at my Experian report. I did have one "notice," which was that one of the addresses on file, my one-month temp housing in Sammamish, WA was listed as a business and not a residence. They listed my company as "Engineering-Management Service." On the next page, I see that I occasionally use an alias: sometimes I go by the name "Travis Spomer" instead of "Travis M. Spomer." (Terrorist!) Not only that, but apparently I also lived at the corner of 2nd and E in Lincoln at some point, while I was living in Sammamish. (Just so we're clear, I have never lived at 2nd and E.) It must have been very inconvenient for me to drive so many thousands of miles each day.

But wait, there's more. After this, the banks that I have credit cards and lines of credit (such as my "same as cash" account with Levitz Furniture) with are listed. Apparently, they also think that I have a Citibank card and a Discover card; I have neither of these, and never have.

Finally, in the summary of the report, they tally up all of the "bad" things in your report. My total is 0. (At least they got that right.) All in all, there are at least four errors in the report, which I find fairly disturbing. Despite the fact that I have never been late for any payment of any kind and always pay off all of my credit card balances each month, these inaccuracies are apparently responsible for my insurance being canceled—insurance I had already paid for a year in advance.


Anonymous said...

you get your money back, right?

Travis said...

Yeah, I get my money back in a few weeks. My old insurance was about $165 for the year; the new insurance from Progressive is about $220, so it's about a 25% increase. It's still about 15% of what I was paying for my car, which was valued at about 15% of my Segway. :)