“Progressive” auto-insurance are scam-artists, and anything but “progressive”.
Let me tell you the experience I just had with them:
First, I should preface this by explaining that most of my adult life, I’ve lived in a city with great public transportation, and while I’ve maintained my driver’s license my whole life, and driven quite a bit compared to most residents of that city, I’ve never had to own a vehicle or therefore have insurance in my name— until I moved to the rural Mid-West.
So I’m getting quotes on auto insurance; my buddy tells me “Progressive” is the way to go for the best rates. Before speaking with him on the matter, I got a quote already from a local State Farm rep, who didn’t give me anything like the following situation.
As I’m going through the standard (already invasive) questioning that agents put you through in order to get insurance (remember auto-insurance is required for all drivers, we don’t have the freedom to decline) she asked me my marital status. This was annoying given that it doesn’t seem like that would be a factor in how safe I’ll be on the road or how it would cost the company additional money, but I can at least understand that married people may occasionally drive each others’ vehicles, and therefore the company is assuming more risk. So I let it pass, and I answered.
Then she asked me my level of education— which the State Farm guy didn’t ask me.
Now I wasn’t entirely against giving her an answer at this point, but I was curious as to why it was relevant. Her answer infuriated me.
“That’s one of the questions for our policies,” she said.
“Yeah, but ~why is it relevant~?” I repeated.
“That’s one of the questions for our policies,” she said again.
I rephrased my question, citing the practical reality that a person who’s gotten a doctorate in any field but who has never driven, will be a bigger policy risk than someone who’s a dirt-farmer but has driven for twenty years with no accidents— so how is the level of education relevant to the acquisition of your policies?
She gave me— I shit you not, LITERALLY the exact same answer in reply,
“That’s one of the questions for our policies.”
I shouted at her, “You know what? I don’t think your company is very honest, and I don’t trust you!” And hung up.
Now, it’s entirely possible that she simply didn’t know the answer, but this infuriated me for two reasons: first, as an agent taking this information and selling me a policy, she should know why the company is going to consider my level of education; that sort of incompetence in their agents doesn’t give me faith in the company.
Secondly, it’s very likely she knew exactly why they were asking, and whether or not she did know, she was being dishonest by repeatedly giving me the non-answer “It’s one of our questions,” to my question, “WHY is it relevant?”
My immediate suspicion (later confirmed by a supervisor I called back and spoke with) was that having a higher level of education would lower your rate. Before I get into a rant about that, let me tell you how the conversation with the supervisor went:
I went through their bot gatekeeper again (when you call the company you get a terribly stupid AI, which doesn’t have an option for new customers seeking a policy, so you basically have to scream at it or say “Agent” over and over in order to speak with someone about starting a policy— and then of course, you have to be transferred to the correct region to deal with you).
I got an agent, and with collected calm and professionalism, I explained that I was considering a policy with their company, and asked why the level of education question was relevant. She couldn’t answer, offered to transfer me to a sales agent. I explained I already spoke with one from my region, who refused to give me an answer. I said I just want to speak with someone who can answer my question.
10 more minutes on hold, and I get a supervisor.
She introduces herself pleasantly, I explain the situation again, and she says, “It’s a factor in our policies.”
I said, “I’m aware of that. I want to know WHY it’s a factor.” She gave me almost exactly the same spiel as the sales agent at first, but after a couple of times of rephrasing what I’m asking (because apparently my direct question was SO confusing!) she let slip that it can affect your rate. She said it like this,
“… because if you have a high school education for example, you can get a different rate than if you had vocational school, or military. You could also have a different rate from college—“ at that point, I cut her off, because it took THIS LONG to get the answer I suspected from the beginning, but it still didn’t explain WHY it would affect the rate.
So I clarified my question (for the umpteenth time) and gave her my inexperienced driver vs. experienced driver reasoning using a “dirt-farmer” high-school dropout vs. a person with a degree in nuclear physics. I repeated, “HOW is their education, rather than experience driving, relevant?”
FINALLY, she admitted— accidentally, while tripping up on her words, and I’m goin to paraphrase to get to the heart of what she was saying— that it’s a matter of socio-economic status.
Ultimately, they judge your rate by your economic CLASS. Do you see what I’m getting at? You’re charged more if you didn’t go to post-secondary education, because you’re assumed to be a lower CLASS. You’re charged more still, if you went to Vocational school or got a GED, than if you graduated high-school.
People talk about not stirring the pot because they don’t want class warfare, but we’re ALREADY in class warfare, and if you’re not making HUNDREDS of millions, you’re already on the losing side. If you’re at least making enough to go to college, you’re thrown the scraps and bones of the elites, to make you feel more important than those who can’t afford it, but you’re still being exploited by the multitude of systems— even if you’re a millionaire.
People have often asked me (or implied the question) why I care about these things? Why do I focus on them, why burn energy on these issues? Why not just pay attention to what affects my own life?
THIS exact sort of situation is ~exactly~ why. It ultimately DOES affect my own life. It’s not just Progressive insurance (although the fact that they have that name while behaving like this absolutely disgusts me), it’s the entire industry! And it’s not just the insurance industry (although insurance is one of the worst, given that we’re forced to take various kinds of insurance to comply with the law or avoid drowning in debt) it’s across the board in the political and economic systems affecting our lives!
The only solution is to REFUSE to comply. REFUSE to submit. REFUSE to answer, or to take services from companies that are abusive, and call them out when they are abusive. When it comes yo insurance, we’re legally obligated to take them, so we have to change the laws which govern what they’re allowed to factor in when deciding whether to grant us a policy.
That will ultimately lead to our credit histories as well— a factor controlled by third-party interests— interests who can be bought, and who already use a myriad of factors to determine our credit scores, outside the fair and understandable factor of whether we pay our bills on time, or how much money we owe.
Are you OKAY with this kind of world? Honestly, do you think it’s right? Saying, “Oh that’s just the way it is, and always will be,” is neither accurate, nor is it an answer to my question. Be honest with yourself. Do you think the way we’re treated is RIGHT, or justified?
If you don’t, then let’s commit to doing something about it. We need FAIR laws governing how systems we’re forced to be a part of may judge and charge us.
Remember, the dollars you work for are gained by spending TIME from your life. That’s time you could have spent with family, loved ones, or just doing something you enjoy. It’s time you spent for someone else’s gain at the expense of your own.
When a company overcharges you, especially judging you on factors which may be beyond your control, they’re not just stealing your dollars;
They’re stealing your LIFE.