'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
CHANGING INSURANCE IS PAINFUL
Last week I discussed how much fun it is to shop for new car insurance. (And, of course, I’m using the slang definition of the word “fun,” the one that means: “Similar to gargling with razor blades, only more painful.”)
My wife and I eventually found a company that saved us a considerable amount of money. No, it was not the company that uses, “I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching…,” as part of their advertising campaign. I don’t feel comfortable buying something like insurance over the Internet, where you never know if you’re actually doing business with a real insurance company or with a couple of high school geeks who created a fancy but totally bogus website. We obtained our new insurance the old fashioned way, from a real live agent who came to our house in the evening and talked with us at the kitchen table.
Unfortunately, all the money we saved on our new insurance had to be spent on security guards, who were needed to drive off the marauding pack of other insurance agents who roamed around our property each evening, unconvinced that we had really made a final decision.
Changing insurance companies is without a doubt a very stressful endeavor. We had to deal with the marauding pack of agents who did not get our business (you would think if they were going to spend half the night in our yard they would’ve at least watered the flowers or swept the driveway) and the sobbing phone calls from our former insurance company (“Even though I’ve never met you, Mr. Dunn, and even though my company was charging you $1,000 too much each year, I’ve always thought of you as family! Why are you leaving me?!!”).
Also, we were required to read dozens of documents, every word therein having been written by corporate lawyers. (For example, the word “therein” is a favorite with corporate lawyers, and in those documents it appeared at least 100 times—per paragraph.) I’ve heard that barbaric third-world nations torture political prisoners by forcing them to read legal documents.
Although the marauding pack, the sobbing calls, and the third-world torture were rather painful, there was one moment during the whole ordeal which was the most gruesome of all. The kitchen table discussion had turned from car insurance to homeowner’s insurance. The agent nonchalantly mentioned, “You know, of course, that sewer back-up coverage is not part of the standard homeowner’s policy.”
“What exactly do you mean by that…therein?” I replied.
“Well, your home is at the bottom of the hill, Mr. Dunn. If the sewer line ever got clogged, the sewage from all of your uphill neighbors would begin seeping into your basement. Who knows how high it would rise—perhaps up to your attic?—and a standard homeowner’s policy will not pay for the clean up.”
For the next three nights I had nightmares about sewage seeping into my basement and engulfing our home. In my dreams, my family had to scramble onto the roof as the effluent excrement filled our yard. We waited desperately for a National Guard helicopter to rescue us from the rising tide of filth, and I could see some of my uphill neighbors gleefully calling their friends to come over and use their bathrooms, after first dining at a Mexican restaurant.
No longer able to stand those horrific dreams, I called the insurance agent and requested the special sewer back-up coverage. I can sleep easier now. The insurance document clearly states that the company will protect our home and pay to “clean up every last glob of sewage…therein.”
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