The day didn't start very well for Cynthia. She didn't hear the alarm going off, the kids weren't up getting ready for school, and she had thirty minutes to get them all dressed, fed, and loaded into her Explorer.
Rushed is an understatement.
She swore that the light was yellow when she stepped on the gas to beat the red. It felt like slow motion watching the driver's panicked face as the front of her Explorer crushed his white Cadillac Escalade like a beer can. One witness said that the Escalade rolled twice, but it only looked that way. It only rolled once. That was enough to render the Miller's new Escalade useless forever, along with Josh Miller's future as a very successful medical equipment salesman.
The day before the accident, Cynthia got a letter from an insurance company saying that it could save her 15% on her auto insurance, and the phone call was free. The person behind the phone was very polite, and in a matter of minutes, Cynthia saved $200 a year. All of this in fifteen minutes - perfect for an on-the-go, suburban soccer mom. Her husband, Carl, a successful physician, relied on her to manage the finances, and he always told her that every penny counts.
Cynthia had never seen Carl cry, at least not like he did that day. The verdict from the jury was excessive, she was sure. They would have to sell their beautiful five bedroom home in order to pay the monthly amount demanded from them. Two million dollars was a lot of money to pay for just running a red light.
No one on that fifteen minute call asked her about her life and family, or told her what she and her family might lose by not having the correct coverage on her insurance. No one on that call asked her about all that they owned, or about their future, or about all they had worked so hard for since she put Carl through medical school ten years ago. Certainly, no one explained all those terms like liability coverage, med pay, etc.
Cynthia did save $200 a year, but she lost $2 million because she was in a hurry, one hectic morning.
This is a true story - the names changed, of course. You see, we've been suckered into thinking that auto insurance is just a commodity. Something you can buy off the shelf like a can of tuna. Cynthia certainly doesn't think like this anymore.
Had I talked to Cynthia, before she purchased her auto insurance, it would have taken more than 15 minutes. I would have known everything they stood to lose in the event of an accident like the one she was involved in. I would've explained, in simple terms, what all those numbers meant, and recommended a plan to protect all that she and Carl had worked so hard for.
So what do you do in case you hit a Cadillac Escalade? Make sure you have the proper coverages.
By-the-way, on top of the verdict, Cynthia and Carl had to pay an additional $40,000 because their "property damage" coverage on the liability part of their auto insurance would only pay $25,000 for the damage to Josh's $65,000 vehicle. (Proper coverage would have only cost her $32 a year more, and saved them $40 grand.)
To this day, Cynthia can tell you the worst 15 minutes of her life.