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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I did something yesterday, said goodbye to something that I hadn't planned. It's a divorce, in a lot of ways. I think it's a sign of health because I haven't been able to even consider doing this in the last two years. There were just too many things bigger than car insurance.

However, over the weekend things came to a head. Perhaps it was the cost of the new 6 month premium I finally got the nerve to open. Or it could have been the phone call I received from a young man at the insurance agency, the one with such boyish excitement in his voice.

"Mr. Fabry, I think I've found a way to save you a TON of money." He emphasized the TON part. Twice. Like it was GINORMOUS. I would be able to buy a boat, a new sleep number bed, or perhaps fill my gas tank.

"Really?" I said. "Tell me about it."

We went over my policies, my 5 cars, the cash cow that is my life. Insurance companies salivate when they see me driving down the street. I get mail from them every day. President Palmer from 24, the little Gecco, the lady in the nurse outfit, they all come to my door like Jehovah's Witnesses.

"Looks like we can save you $250 if you buy a new life insurance policy. It's a new program in the last year."

Really? I need to buy something else in order to save a TON? Something seemed GINORMOUSLY wrong with that picture. And why was I just getting the call now? I've been with this insurance company a long time. I started buying insurance from them in 1982, if I'm not mistaken. That's 28+ years. Does anybody stay with a company that long?

This company followed us from West Virginia to Illinois to Colorado to Arizona. But in actuality, I followed them. It was easier to stay with them because they had our records in their system. Call it lazy. I usually shop around, but I liked their commercials on TV, the color of the logo, the catchphrase, and the ease of writing their name on my check.

In the last 28+ years we've never had an accident. At least not one they covered. I backed into my daughter's car in our driveway and smashed the door. That was on me they said. My son dinged another man's car at Walmart. "You'd be a lot better off taking care of that yourself," my agent said. "Your premium would just go up."

I think we actually got a windshield or two in 28 years. And more than a couple of tows. But when we had our house problem in Colorado, the little one where we lost everything because of toxic mold, when we really needed answers, we found the insurance company didn't have any. Or money. Zero. It was a pat on the back, "Sorry that happened," and new premiums in the mail. My agent in Colorado, a man who attended a mega-church in town, said the equivalent of, "Be warmed and filled." He spoke with compassion but said mold was excluded on the policy. There was actually $5,000 worth of coverage but because it was a "slow leak," we were denied.

Sigh. I don't blame him. The industry got smart to mold about the same time we began having the problem. We had a contract and the contract excluded our problem. But I couldn't help feeling troubled by hearing platitudes. I wonder if I would have handled it any differently if I sold insurance? I wonder if I've said the same thing in other ways?

I don't for a second think this new company will be any better. It'll just be cheaper. And have a new logo. And for now, not ask me to buy a life insurance policy to reduce my auto insurance. And pay about 1/3 of what I was paying for 28+ years to my long-term friends.

I've tried hard to keep bitterness from this divorce. I've waited a long time to make a rational and not a hasty decision. A decision based on clear-headed thinking that protects the ones I love and helps me be a good steward of the funds entrusted to me. It's a healthy move. And I have a TON of hope about the future.

On this first day of summer, I'm not bitter. I'm just enthusiastic.

8 comments:

Tim said...

I can tell you this one is hitting home and I think I will do a little investigation to see what I can save. You are so right about the claims statement and that I have been told in the last 25 years to handle it myself because the premiums would go up. Thanks again and have a great day my friend.

Anonymous said...

It is a natural inclination for some of us to be loyal... but in the end we must do what is best for our families. Because big companies just dont love our families like we do. You are being a good steward :)

Susan said...

I feel your pain. We got some pretty good car insurance via a program through the alumni association at our alma mater. Perhaps Moody would have something like this? We insure 3 vehicles right now for 5 drivers. (Three of them young men between 17 - 21 ...ouch.) I would love to come up with some scheme where everyone cancel's their insurance on the same day. All of it done. No more insurance industry. Whoo Hoo!

ashley:) said...

This is a true sign times are hard for everyone these days. My mom has been with the same company for years as well and in the past year she has recieved calls as well! And check this out, my hubby called to get our deductible raised, in his thoughts the premium would lower/stay the same. Wrong they raised the premium as well...hmmmm something with that doesn't seem right!

Marilynn Stebbins said...

Wow, What timing for this post! Thankyou. We have an appointment 9.AM tomorrow with our home insurance company about our mold remediation issue. From all the research we had done we had not contacted our insurance company cause that was sort of what we had expected, NOTHING! But we are burn't out and even though our situation is redeemable unlike yours was, we have other complications that were becoming impossible to deal with on our own. At least I feel a little more prepared mentally to face the fact that we really need a miracle for God's provision.

Sarah said...

That's hilarious. Well, the way you wrote it was - not necessarily all that happened to you. Good for you! You are free from feeling trapped to a misplaced loyalty! Sometimes we just have to let bygones be bygones and look forward to better days in the future...

Mark Kisenwether said...

I had my commercial business policy with the same company for 15 years, never a claim but my premiums looked like the debt clock. Then, without notice, I get a letter in the mail telling me they canceled my policy two weeks ago ... nice that I was driving around with no insurance, that company was definitely not on my side!

Anonymous said...

I just deactivated my facebook account Chris. I'm getting a little addicted to the internet so it's very necessary.

...especially when it interferes with work. Sin is sin.