In January, a GEICO policyholder for 55 years cancelled 5 insurance policies (2 with other companies but obtained through GEICO) after learning that GEICO uses what he considers (allegedly) illegal, deceptive, bait and switch tactics in its advertising, claiming in catchy TV ads that if you spend 15 minutes and switch to GEICO, you can save 15% or more on car insurance.
What the ads don’t tell unsuspecting viewers is that if you file a claim, that 15% saving disappears instantly and costs even more because you must hire an attorney and/or and Independent Appraiser/Collision Damage Analyst and an Umpire to force GEICO – and other companies – to pay the full repair costs to return your car to pre-accident condition; UNLESS you are willing to accept its low ball payment, lower the resale value of your car, and put your life in jeopardy if another accident should occur in the future.
What happened to Truth in Advertising laws? What happened to honesty, integrity, fair and honest profits and salaries? What happened to the importance of auto safety and human life?
Increasing profits at the expense of auto safety and human life is all that matters to GEICO – and most other auto insurance companies.
With a $500 policy deductible, GEICO expected him to accept a check for $65 for the balance of repair costs for his car with only 500 miles on the vehicle while the actual repair bill was $2,000.00 (rounded).
The GEICO adjuster KNOWINGLY and DELIBERATELY excluded the cost of manufacturer REQUIRED pre and post safety scans on the original estimate in the hope that the omission would go unnoticed so GEICO could pocket extra profits.
The adjuster tried to steer him to one of GEICO’s preferred shops where the estimate was done, a shop that uses GEICO’s own below prevailing market labor rates instead of competitive market rates, all to enhance GEICO profits.
The adjuster told him that if he took his car to the shop of his choice instead of a GEICO shop, he would be required to pay any difference in the cost for repairs. NOTE: Several GEICO shops have performed shoddy, unsafe work that had to be redone by a manufacturer certified shop before the car could be returned to pre-accident condition to protect the passengers as originally intended by the manufacturer.
What this policyholder learned the hard way after paying GEICO premiums for 55 years is that GEICO is all about preserving excessive, exorbitant, obscene, ill-gotten profits that it obtains ( ALLEGEDLY ) by deliberately preying upon vulnerable accident victims unaware of their legal rights, by manipulating, deceiving, lying to, bullying, withholding information from, misrepresenting facts to, short paying accident victims for repairs, steering victims to its preferred below prevailing market labor rate shops, and DELIBERATELY and KNOWINGLY excluding manufacturer required procedures and electronic safety scans from estimates to steal from vulnerable accident victims who don’t know their legal rights.
On Feb 15, an Umpire ruled against GEICO that is now required to pay the full amount of repairs to his vehicle. There are 2 other known umpire rulings against GEICO in Hawaii and one against Farmers this past year.
Hawaii Small Claims Court, Civil Court, and the Hawaii Supreme Court have consistently ruled AGAINST insurance companies and in favor of vehicle owners.
His advice to viewers of this show is to do the following:
1) Do not purchase auto insurance from any national company, especially GEICO, the most abusive of them all with many, many lawsuits and fines against GEICO.
2) Cancel ALL GEICO policies after obtaining new coverage from one of Hawaii’s own honest, reputable insurance companies.
3) Take your damaged car ONLY to a manufacturer certified shop.
4) Don’t allow a GEICO claims adjuster – or any other claims adjuster – tell you that you must take your car to one of its preferred/ARX/GRP shops or pay the difference in repair costs if you choose to take it to a shop of your choice, especially a manufacturer certified shop that will strictly follow manufacturer procedures to return the car to SAFE pre-accident condition.
5) Do not allow a GEICO or other company claims adjuster to tell you that cheaper aftermarket CRASH SAFETY parts are of like kind and quality and must be used. Such parts will put your life – or a future owner of your car – in jeopardy if another accident occurs. Always use OEM CRASH SAFETY parts.
6) If you are being bullied or threatened in any way or feel your are being abused by any claims adjuster, then file a complaint immediately with the Hawaii Insurance Commission.
7) Learn a lesson from a nationally known Dallas attorney, Todd Tracy, who won a $42M verdict against a body shop last year for not following manufacturer repair procedures and for using aftermarket parts. The occupants of a previously owned and shoddily repaired car suffered near-death injuries that will be with them for life. If OEM parts and required manufacturer procedures had been used, the couple would have walked away from the accident instead of being stuck in a burning vehicle, suffering severe burns and other injuries.
8) DO NOT TRUST GEICO. Do not put your life or that of future owners in jeopardy by using GEICO’s substandard repair shops that cut corners to meet GEICO’s cheap dictatorial repair requirements to save money at the expense of your life. All shops should be certified by the manufacturer before they are allowed to repair a damaged vehicle.
9) Tell this story to all your family, friends, neighbors, and social media contacts. It is time to squash the GEICO gecko and get it out of Hawaii.
Story by Ed Wagner