As many of you may know, my younger brother Jack was killed in an car accident in late October…
Jack’s car went off the highway at 9:10 PM on his way home from work. The toxicology report was negative; no drugs or alcohol was found in his system.
Jack had no life insurance, but he did have insurance for health and auto. I know many of you have never experienced this kind of situation, but we all are forced to face a family death at some point. Jack’s insurance companies did have "death benefits and medical payments" in their other policies. That’s something we all should consider, because Jack’s funeral was a bit higher than most because we had to buy a plot and so forth.
We contacted all the insurance companies – none of them called us about any monies due. And as we investigated, we found that three would pay a few thousand each if we sent them several items like a death certificate, a county court clearance saying we were his immediate family and some other items that take weeks to get.
All of which really did little more than delay the payment to the family.
We had Jack’s will and proof of death from the police, the funeral home, paperwork from the accident, the Jackson County Corners office and on and on.
But that wasn’t good enough.
Many of the people I spoke to on the phone knew who I was and most of them were located right here in KC. They all said, "We’re so sorry, we want to help you. If there’s anything else we can do, just call."
Many of them meant what they said, but were handcuffed by their company’s policies. Which is not a good thing for you or me.
When we are late with payments, we are turned into the wonderful credit bureau.
Then they destroy you with great care and no compassion. Even if you are in the right, GOOD LUCK. It’s, "Oh please send a letter….it will take 60-90 days…then we’ll review the papers…"
Translation: if a mistake against you is made, it may take months to get it off your record, even with a court order. I know, it’s happened to me twice in 20 years.
Most of our credit history in the three main bureau’s have goes back decades. In my case, like most of you guys, it’s gold, with all payments on time back to the 80’s. But I had two derogatory reports on paying off a hotel bill and a loan years ago. I won both in court, but it took years to get them off all three reporting agencies.
Wells Fargo had the loan on my car – one of two they held – and my brother was driving one of my cars when he was killed.
They were so sorry, they said. We’ve got your back, they said.
They did pay off most of the balance of $7,900 still owed on the car – all but about 400 bucks. No problem. I had GAP insurance and they would pay the rest.
Wells Fargo said we were good, I didn’t need to make anymore payments even though I still owed the $390.
"No problem," they told me. "You don’t need to pay that – we’ll get it from GAP – we’re in contact with them."
I never got a letter or a call at work. I offered to pay the difference because was worried it might be considered a late payment. They told me not to.
Next thing I know, a couple weeks back my credit report showed A NEW DEROGATORY COMMENT, FAILURE TO PAY OFF WELLS FARGO.
I was pissed.
I spent three hours on the phone trying to find a real person who could do anything at Wells Fargo. Finally I got an executive, she listened and agreed that I had been screwed.
I agreed to pay off the balance and they could pay me the GAP money when it came. They kinda liked that and told me I could pay over phone which I did. Now I’m still waiting for it come off my credit score and to get the email confirmation and letter they promised saying that they made a mistake.
What a nightmare and it’s still going on.
It hurt my home loan from being lowered…great…thanks.
Blue Cross, in a way, is just as bad. You’d think in death cases they all would be a little nice and try a bit harder, but NO. They hang onto your money as long as they can.
P.S. Geico, who was a back up insurance company, sent a check in five days from the call. We had the least money in them, and they questioned almost nothing. With just the funeral paperwork and police report they paid a couple grand in less than a week – best of all.
I could go on with Farmers headaches, but you get the picture. I’m sure all this is done to most people – how awful. Death is bad enough, but now I’m fighting a credit battle for no reason. I haven’t even received most of any money owed for the death benefits.
That’s probably par for the course, but lord help you if you owed these guys money or were a few weeks late. Your phone would never stop ringing and your credit reports would look like the Chiefs offense, uh, nothing good.