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A few weeks ago we received a phone call from our insurance company wanting to “verify” information. Since I hate loathe despise don’t have the time to deal with insurance companies I told them to call back to speak to my husband. So they did.

Here is summery of the conversation:

Verifying Vendor (VV): Hello, Sir. We’re just updating our records to make sure we have the correct information.

Hubby (H): Sure, go ahead.

VV: Do you still own the ___________ vehicle and the ___________vehicle.

H: Yes.

VV: Would you say you drive your vehicle an average amount each year?

H: Yes, I drive an average amount, but the average amount I drive has decreased because I now work out of a home office.

VV: Does your wife drive her vehicle an average amount every year?

H: No, probably less since she only drives around town for errands.

VV: OK. Thank you for your time.

This past weekend we got an electronic notification from our insurance company saying there were changes to our insurance. My husband, who formally worked for an insurance company, originally thought the phone call was odd and wondered if they were fishing for information to raise our premium.

He was right!

When he looked through the document ON THE 4th page he found the increase to our mileage amount. He promptly sent out a very blunt email to customer service as well as snail mail to the president of the division. I’ll get back to that in a minute…

Here is the problem with the above conversation. The company that called us was a vendor contracted out by our insurance company to gather information. The “claim” they were verifying the information we had, but used some of his words to qualify an increase. By saying, “Would you say you drive an average amount each year?” They are getting you to agree with an amount they determine. The way they ask it is subtle and misleading. My husband specifically said that he now works from a home office and that his mileage has gone down. They never specifically asked for the number of miles he drives. They took his statement and applied it to the national average. They also used that statement and applied it to my vehicle. When we looked at the new numbers, our miles had increase to 5000 miles a year on each car! That justified an increase to our premium of over 20% and, I suspect, a nice little commission for the vendor for getting that information.

Now, I am not against companies making money. Nor am I against insurance companies attempting to accurately charge premiums for what is actually the risk (i.e. annual # of miles driven). I believe that our country has been built on the entrepreneurial spirit, but I am against companies making money deceptively. Don’t lie to me. It gets me angry. Just ask my kids.

Here is the MOST surprising part of the story…

My husband immediately went to Geico to get a quote for our vehicles. Now we have been with our company for 10 years! We periodically (once or twice a year) check our premiums with other companies to see if we still have the best rate. Apparently we haven’t done that in the last year. Geico came back with a quote for the same coverage that was 50% LESS than what we were paying. HALF THE PRICE!!!! My husband was so sure it was a mistake that he called them to make sure he input all the numbers correctly. It was right!

So are you wondering who we have as our insurance company?

We have been very pleased with them until this incident. We also have always found (until this last weekend) that they offered very competitive premiums. Our insurance company is USAA! If you don’t know about them, they work only with active duty military, veterans and their families. They pride themselves on helping soldiers and their families in the best way possible. You can imagine my surprise when all this happened.

Now, I’m not saying that USAA is a horrible company. I think they have hired a vendor that does not have the best interest of the military family and the result reflects on them. The email my husband received back mentions that they may need to investigate the vendors for retraining and be more clear in communications with their policy holders.

We still don’t have a final resolution for this incident. The only way we will stay with USAA is if they match the premium offered to us by Geico. I’ll let you know the final result.

Until then, check your insurance policies!! Find out if you are being covered properly for your situation. After this incident, we also checked our homeowners insurance since it is through USAA as well.

And be honest! Nothing good comes out of dishonesty just to save a few bucks.