ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Mad as Hell at Insurance Company

My car after being repaird

Looks nice, but it'll be an oven come August

This is a follow up to my original post, click here to read it.

3/21/2012 UPDATE :  After taking it to a real mechanic, it turns out that the A/C wasn’t working because there was a bad hose that had to be replaced. While they don’t believe it was caused by the accident, it means that Progressive’s grease monkeys misdiagnosed a problem TWO TIMES.  I will definitely be shopping for a new insurance provider now.

For the most part, my experience with Progressive has been fairly positive, except for a few bumps in the road: they had me send my car to the wrong repair shop, the repair shop they did send it to incorrectly diagnosed the alternator as being bad when the battery was the issue, it wasn’t ready on the day I was told it was going to be ready, and despite not being found at fault, I am out $500 for my deductible, but that’s a philosophical issue I’ll discuss some other time.

Now, call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first) but I thought part of the point of having insurance was so that your vehicle would be restored back to the state it was in before it was involved in an accident. Except for running a bit noisy due to an issue with the manifold, everything in my car had been working just fine before I had my little accident a few weeks ago. Indeed, upon getting my vehicle back, I was satisfied to find that it seemed to run as well as it did before. I also checked to see if a new battery had been installed, and yes, it had been.  I had grown suspicious after realizing that my radio presets hadn’t gone away as has been the case in the past when I have replaced batteries.

So everything was fine and dandy until I hop in my car to go somewhere on Sunday. It was warm out, about 80 degrees, so I figured I’d turn on the air conditioner to give it a test run. Air came out of the air conditioner but it was not much cooler than the air outside. I left the air conditioner on for the duration of the short trip and there wasn’t much happening. Now I’m worried, because if the battery went bad due to the accident, who’s to say that something else didn’t go wrong somewhere within all the coils, tubes and who-knows-what-else that make up the air conditioning system?

I don’t go running to Progressive just yet, though. Monday was also going to be a warm day, so I figured I’d give it another test run before calling them. I started up my car during my lunch break, at about 1 in the afternoon on another warm day and I ran it for about ten minutes with the air conditioner set to maximum. It seemed as if it was trying, but the air coming out was not cooler than the air outside. As it was a warm day, it was easy to tell that it was not working.

I now knew for sure that the air conditioner wasn’t working, so it was time to contact Progressive and get it looked at. I scheduled an appointment to drop off my car this morning and pick up a rental. The temperatures on Thursday morning were pretty cool, in the mid-60s; thus, I wasn’t entirely sure that the cool air coming into my car at the time wasn’t just the product of the outside air combined my not-quite-warmed-up car, but I was now certain that my air conditioner wasn’t working as well as it had been before.

I arrived at the claims center and let the person there know what was happening. The woman said that they were going to have someone check it out and then let me know how we were going to proceed. I said okay and waited for her to return. Not even fifteen minutes later, she came back and let me know that they were not going to look at it. Apparently I had given the impression that my air conditioner was completely out, and since the air coming out was just a little bit cool (which may have been due to the outside temperature) I was going to have to get it fixed myself. She cheerfully let me know that it probably just needed refrigerant and that any mechanic could probably fix it.

But it was WORKING JUST FINE before the accident, I said. She ignored that statement, gave me my key back, and bade me farewell.

I am not very happy with Progressive right now. I now have to take time and money to have a real mechanic check my car’s air conditioner. If he finds something wrong, I then have to convince Progressive that there was no problem with it before the accident, then drop it off, get another rental, and essentially go through the same thing I did this morning. As I type this, I am getting ready to talk to my claims rep and let them know how I feel about this development, but right now I am all but ready to dump them.

Half an hour later…

So I spoke with a second agent (the one that I’ve been working with is not in the office and I won’t hold that against her) who told me that I needed to have it looked at by a mechanic…


Apparently, they don’t have mechanics at the claim centers. So some paper-pusher turned on my AC, felt cool air coming out (remember, it is a cool morning today) and used her 1337 paper-pusher skills to deduct that I had a Freon leak somewhere.  Aw, HELL NO.

Agent #2 is going to look into it and I now get to wait for his phone call.

Another thirty minutes later…

Agent #2 said that he was very sorry and let me know that yes, a mechanic did have a look at my car this morning  (as you can see above, I was not told that) and he was the one that said the AC was fine except for being low on Freon.  I told the guy that I was skeptical because the last shop couldn’t even properly diagnose a bad battery.  So now I need to take my car to a (hopefully competent) mechanic to look at my air conditioner.

So in the best case scenario, I get to pay to get my AC recharged with Freon, which I may have had to have done anyway.  Worst case scenario is that I get to deal with Progressive again and have their grease monkeys bang on it with giant wrenches.

I know that sounds backwards, but I think I’m going to be shopping for a new insurance company now.



This started out as a look at my relationship (or the lack thereof) with alcohol, but that got tossed out in favor of some strange goings-on in Casa De Randomizer9 earlier this evening.

It started out as just another Saturday night, which meant videogames and doing stuff on the computer. After getting my head handed to me in Mercenaries 2 for a bit, I decided to fire up the ol’ PC and browse around the internets for a bit before going to bed.

All was well, I was working on the aforementioned alcohol-related blog entry, when I smelled what my instructors in junior college called “the smell of money.” This is the smell of melting insulation/wires/electronics, and if you are a repairperson, it means you are going to get PAID. Of course if you are the owner of the source of the smell then you will be doing the pay-ing.

RavynX has had some adventures with his machine as of late (i.e. it died) so the first thing that I did when that smell hit my nose was hit the Windows key followed by the “U” key twice. This shuts down my PC (I don’t need no steeenking mouse) and I hoped that whatever was getting ready to give out would hold it together long enough for me to shutdown.

Much to my relief, my PC shutdown properly, so I pulled the power cable and prepared to get a face full of blue smoke as I removed the two thumb-screws that held the case shut. Much to my surprise, there was no smoke to be found, and no obvious signs of blow-upage. I then started checking the various heat sinks (after grounding myself, of course) expecting to find one that was extra-hot to the touch. No dice. Next on my list of “how to find the piece that’s not working” was the ol’ smell test (also handy for determining the ‘wearability’ of clothes, well, for guys, at least). I catch faint wisps of the odor but nothing really stood out.

I figured I would power on the PC again…AFTER disconnecting my main hard drive and booting off the spare, which happens to have OSX on it (more on that later, or maybe not). There isn’t any important data on it, save for a Def Leppard CD I ripped as a test, so I figured if it went kablooey, I wouldn’t lose anything terribly important.

I pulled out my PC so that I could keep close to the power cable. That way, I could yank it out quickly if stuff started smoking, sizzling, sparking, or all of the above. I nervously pressed the power button. I then heard the usual sounds of the fans and drives spinning up, and then the POST beep. Everything looked normal on the screen…well as normal as it gets on a Hackintosh, anyway.

As I’m doing all of this, I keep smelling that smell…and I’m starting to wonder where it is really coming from. At times, the smell even seems to be getting stronger. The freak-out fire in my head isn’t burning yet, but the pilot light is definitely on. I initally dismiss it as the byproduct of opening up the PC’s case, but as time goes by, I am coming to the conclusion that the smell is not coming from the PC.

I then wander around the living area of my apartment smelling anything and everything electrical. Nothing. I disconnect the surge protector my TV and gaming consoles are plugged into and also the UPS. Nothing. I check the bedroom and bathroom. Still Nothing. Then a scary thought enters my head…what if there is a fire somewhere in the building?

I toss on a T-shirt and some shoes, and go outside. I pray that I don’t see smoke coming out of a neighbor’s apartment. I look around the building, and to my relief there is no smoke, no fire, and no smell, either. Bewildered, I go back inside and the smell just won’t go away. I’m getting a little sweaty as well…I check the thermostat. I had it set to 74 (yeah, I know, bad, bad Randomizer) but the temperature reads 75, and I notice that air conditioner is not running. I turn off the air-conditioner, and try to run the fan to circulate the air. Nothing.

I go to the bathroom and partially open up the access panel in the ceiling. Sure enough, I am greeted with a fresh whiff of that blue-smoke smell. Aw, damn, the A/C went out…I think to myself as the pieces fall into place. Curiously enough, I had asked that my air filter be changed a few weeks ago, and also earlier this week. I was assured that it would “only take a day or two.” I would have just bought one myself, but at my last apartment, they used some odd size that I couldn’t find in any stores, and as this one looked similar, I decided not to bother.

It looks like I’ll be calling the office in the morning. I’m not expecting any miracles, but hopefully they can have it fixed by the weekend, as I am expecting guests. There is a cool front coming in tomorrow night that will keep temps in the 80’s all week, so I guess if this is going to happen, this is a good time for it. Oh well.