Fiction Fragment Friday

Ok, this week is a bit of catharsis. It is an exaggerated tongue in cheek story to get out a personal frustration. It seems like no matter what the issue is if I try to use my homeowners insurance there will always be some reason the issue is not covered. If it is for some reason covered they will want the cheapest patch job and not to pay for a proper repair. It is infuriating and like most things that frustrate me it has inspired this story.

                “Why do I bother paying a fortune for homeowners’ insurance when it literally never covers anything?”

                “Sir if you could please just calm down.  I understand how this could be upsetting, but your policy is quite extensive.  This one outlying case just doesn’t happen to be covered.”  The voice on the other end of the phone was exceedingly chipper, giving me the indication that she in fact did not understand how my situation could be upsetting.  Either that or she found enjoyment in the various contractual loopholes that always seemed to make my claims invalid.  I really needed to learn to be more careful in how much information I volunteered on these calls. 

                “Please help me understand how that could be the case.   I specifically increased my supervillain damage coverage to half a million last year.  A man crashes through my gazebo leaving a pile of rubble in my back yard and you are saying that isn’t covered?”   

                “That is correct sir.  I do see that you increased your policy last June.  However, you mentioned that this damage happened during the Ricochet vs the Global Defense Force fight this morning.  The problem is that neither of those parties are supervillains.  They are all categorized as heroes in our system.  If a villain were involved then your policy would have covered the damages, but as this was just one of those wacky cases of mistaken identity well, we just can’t approve your claim.”  I could just see the smugness in her voice as she lectured me like a schoolteacher with a slow learning student.

                “They were fighting because Ricochet has been helping a known felon.” 

                “Actually, as the suspect has yet to be apprehended, she has thus not been convicted of anything.  She technically is not a felon as we are innocent until proven guilty in this country.  There is a warrant out so Ricochet may have been committing a crime, but as of yet he has not been charged with anything.  So, you see no supervillains and your claim does not meet the requirements.”

                “What if they do charge him?  Would my claim be covered then?”

                “Oh no, he would have to be found guilty before a request to have his classification in our system updated could be filed.  Then it would go through a review process.  Generally, it takes four to six weeks to process a change of alignment form.”

                “Wait a minute there are a ton of supervillains that have never been caught.  Are you telling me that if any of them caused damage to my house I wouldn’t be covered?”  After numerous failed claim attempts over the past five years, I thought I was finally starting to understand just how stacked against a paying customer the system really was.

                “Well, that depends.”

                  “On what?”

                “Well, there are multiple ways an individual can be classified as a supervillain in our system.  If they, for example, describe themselves as such in a public setting we could update our listings.  Also, if the national registry of supervillains managed by the FBI were to include them that would meet the requirements.  The criteria is up for interpretation by one of our insurance claims adjusters.  If you would like to put in a request to have an adjuster review Ricochet’s status, we could start that process.”

                “The process that would take four to six weeks?”

                “No that that is the reclassification process once criteria are verified to be met.  The average assessment takes thirty to sixty days.  Would you like me to start that paperwork for you?”

                I stared out my kitchen window at the pile of wood and watched my dog pee on what used to be the roof of my gazebo.  I was worried about leaving him alone out back amidst the rubble, but so far, he had not hurt himself.  “I suppose so.  That means I’m going to have a big pile of dangerous wood splinters and nails in my backyard for a while.”

                “Oh, I don’t recommend that.  You should have that fixed and the debris hauled away immediately.   Just save the receipts for reimbursement.”

                “If I could afford to do that, I wouldn’t need insurance now, would I?  I thought I had insurance to protect me when things like this happen.”

                “Sir, please just be aware that what you described is a safety hazard.  I have made a note in your file that you are aware of it.  If someone were to be injured after the first week and you have not made an effort to remediate the issue it would not be covered by your homeowner’s policy as it was an unattended known hazard.”

                “This call is me trying to remediate it.”  By this point I was struggling to not just yell into the phone.  I’ve been through this before though.  That’s what she wants me to do.  If I yelled, she could say I’m being belligerent an she can hang up on me.  No, I wasn’t going to play into her hand like that.  “Please start the paperwork to have an adjuster review my case and his classification.”

                “Excellent.  Please hold.” 

                Why is it that they pick the worst earworm songs for insurance agency hold music?  If it isn’t The Girl from Ipanema it’s this ridiculous song about working all day.  This time though it was a song about a camel liking to dance.  It made no sense at all, but there it was running through my head, and I just couldn’t get it out even though I didn’t know the words.  It’s bad enough when you know the lyrics, but when you only know a few words that part of the song will just loop over and over until you want to throw something. When I was finally ready to scream, she came back on the line.

                “Hello sir, are you still on the line?”

                “Yes, I’m here.”   That is obstacle two.  If they can get you to hang up because you are sick of the hold music, then you have to start the whole process over again.

                “I have started the process and have a case number for you.  It is RBC728512.  You will of course get an email that summarizes our call an provides you this as well.  It looks like your adjuster will be…  oh my that does not bode well for you.”

                “What now?”

                “Well, you have been assigned Connie Vera.  Excellent adjustor.  In fact she is one of our best.”

                “Why is that a bad for me?”

                “Normally it wouldn’t be.  Last week though she was in Reignsborough National over on second street when Honey Badger tried to rob it.  He got hungry and decided that she looked tasty.   She was seconds away from being eaten, but then..”

                “Let me guess.  Ricochet showed up and saved her life.”

                “Busted right through the skylight and kicked him in the face.  I’m glad they aren’t insured with us because that elaborate of glasswork would have to be expensive to replace.”

                I groaned in exasperation.  “Oh, I’m sure you would find some loophole to make sure it wasn’t covered.  Perhaps a clause that the damage was done by the hero and not the villain.”

                “That’s good.  I’m going to write that one down.”  I think she realized what she said a moment after it came out, because she sounded flustered as she backpedaled.  “Uhm, to make sure that no one tries that on one of our customers.  We are here to help after all.  Speaking of which now that your claim is filed is there anything else I can help you with?”

                “No, not at this time.”  I was done and just wanted off the phone at that point.

                “Then thank you for calling Mutual of Reignsborough.  Remember when bad things happen we will also be there.”