I’ve written a lot about identity theft, mainly because I was a victim. It’s easier to write about what you know. That’s how we learn. Storytelling in the past was of oral tradition. Written after the invention of an alphabet.
Many times, the stories are funny. Sidesplitting laughter is a great teaching tool without being provocative. In my case, but I have to say isn’t so funny. I really, really wish I could relate a positive outcome. I can’t, but I want to share what happened to me with you, so that maybe you won’t suffer the losses that I’ve had to undergo.
So, this is a story about moving out of state, also the mail. When I moved, I did what millions of people do every day – I made a contract with a well-known moving company in my area. The manager came to my home, looked at the items that I wanted moved, very upbeat. When I expressed my concern about the move, especially being blind, she said they would take extra good care of me. Nothing to worry about. I signed the contract, and bought extra insurance at her suggestion.
Two young men showed up at my home to help me pack up my belongings. Their boss, the woman I met with previously, was tied up 3 hours away and couldn’t come. They assured me that she had gone over everything with them, it would be fine. Another woman I know was at my home helping me go through some stuff as well.
When the movers were about ready to leave for the day, the woman remarked there were a few things left. “What about the pictures on the wall?” she asked. They said they didn’t know I wanted those moved. I told them I hadn’t removed some of them from the wall because I didn’t want them damaged while they were sitting on the floor. I had them walk around with me, and noticed they hadn’t packed a substantial number of other items. Again, they said they didn’t know I wanted that moved, either.
Before leaving, I signed off on the paperwork. One of the guys said he had taken pictures of my items on his phone for me so that I would have a record of what was moved. I thanked him, and they left.
My belongings still hadn’t arrived after 3 weeks. The moving company said they couldn’t understand it. I should call their affiliate in my new state. They never answered the phone. After going back-and-forth with the original company for another week, I finally reached the company at my new location. They said they had tried calling me multiple times and never received an answer. They called the number they were given by the manager at my original location. That’s how I found out they were given my old number in my old state.
You might say that’s reasonable, but I had been talking with the original manager in the original company in my original state on my new telephone from my new location. It never occurred to me to tell her to give them that number…
My belongings finally arrived. It took me a long time to go through everything. I started noticing that things were missing, but I kept assuming they were in that other box that I hadn’t opened yet. Besides, as a totally blind person, I could easily overlook items. However, many large items were missing, including a 16 x 20 print that I loved. I had some other pictures, but that was the only one of that size. I couldn’t have overlooked it,
The mover did compensate me a little, nowhere near the replacement value of the items. Of course, the pictures that were on 1 of the mover’s phone had been deleted… I had no proof of anything.
But I had insurance, right? Well, that’s the point of this whole story. I found out that insurance did not matter at all. I would have to prove the value of the items and the only way to do that was to have a receipt for the missing items. But how many of us retain a receipt for something we bought 10 or 20 years ago? And they don’t go by replacement value – that would be too logical. That item purchased 20 years ago would cost more to replace today. Or, if an antique, you have to prove it. What about a gift, or inherited piece of jewelry?
It’s the same with any insurance. A tree hit the roof of my house many years ago. The insurance company paid a pittance of what a new roof would cost. An act of nature, they said. I was lucky to get anything. When my car was hit on my front right bumper, the car insurance company said the same thing. The insurance company paid roughly half the cost of the damage. They said I was lucky the other driver had insurance, or I wouldn’t have gotten anything.
Then there’s the hoops we have to go through in order to put a claim on health insurance. So, I’m starting to wonder why have any insurance at all? As I thought about it, and started tabulating the cost I was putting out in premiums every year, I realized the cost of those premiums far exceeded any reimbursement from the insurance company.
So, I’d love to start this conversation. What has been your experience with insurance companies? I haven’t even mentioned those poor people affected by the wildfires in California, or the floods in the South. I hear that the insurance company says those are acts of nature, as well. Are we being set up? Think about it.
If we’re lucky, and never have to submit a claim, should we get a discount? I know Allstate does something like that with their good driver discount. That’s only fair, insurance companies are making a huge profit, I hear.
In addition, I had mailed many books through the post office. I used what they call mega mail, which is book rate, instead of priority mail which would’ve been expensive. I opened the last box of books a month ago. The box was all taped up so I had nothing to worry about, right? But books in there did not feel like mine. And it seems like some were missing. I was able to get a neighbor to help me look through the books. I was missing books of my childhood: Bambi, My Friend Flicka, Lad a Dog, 1st editions and they were from my childhood. They were all replaced with textbooks on statistics, PowerPoint, Greece, with different names in each of the books. Obviously, not mine. The post office could do nothing – this was a new one, they said. And if I had bought insurance, it would not have done me any good. I would have no way to prove what books were in the box.
Since my move, I’ve been lucky enough to find a great group of people. They have enrolled me in an immersion school, teaching me the skills I will need as a blind adult. The classes are daily, 5 days a week. I tell you this because I haven’t had enough time to answer your wonderful comments as I would like. But I will do the best I can.
As always, be safe, wash your hands, and wear your mask.