Issue 50

A Little Insurance


                Skylar received his first piece of mail today.  It was from a company offering him savings of hundreds of dollars on his current car insurance bill.  I opened the letter and decided to give them a call.

                “Unity Insurance Brokers.  This is Jim.  How I can meet your insurance needs today?”

                “I’d like to insure my son’s car,” I tell the cheery voice on the other end of the line.

                “What is your son’s name?”


                “Is he under 25 years of age?”

                “Quite definitely.”

                “This is one of those times you’ll wish your boy was a girl,” says Jim in his chummy, I’ve-been-there-too voice.  “He isn’t married perchance, is he?”

                “Not to my knowledge.”

                “Too bad.  Young unmarried males collectively have the worst driving records.  I’ll get you the lowest rate possible, but it may not seem like it.”

                “I appreciate your effort,” I say.

                “Let’s start with the car.  How much did you pay for it?”

                “About 16.”

                “Yeah, you can’t buy a cheap car these days.  I just bought one myself for 17.  And it didn’t even come with a radio.  Did you get a decent color?”

                “Bright blue with a red back.”

                “I got stuck with brown.  Do you want comprehensive coverage?  That’s where we total out the car if it’s stolen or vandalized beyond repair.”


                “What kind of deductible do you want?”

                “Not more than I paid for the car,” I say.

                “That’s funny,” says Jim. “He doesn’t have any assets to protect, does he?”

                “Almost none.”

                “How about this: we’ll take a high deductible and give him the minimum medical coverage and see what the lowest rate we can get him is.  You can always drop the deductible later if you want.”

                “That sounds fine to me.”

                “Now how long has your son been driving?”

                “About two weeks.”

                “Has he been in any accidents?”

                “Yes,” I said, “four.”

                “Four?” repeats Jim in disbelief.  “What kind of accidents?”

                “Let’s see, first he crashed the car…”

                “He crashed the car?  What condition is the car in?”

                “There was no real damage,” I say.  “It’s fairly indestructible.  Oh yeah, then there was the time he flipped the car over and scraped his knee…”

                “Flipped the car over?”

                “…and after that he backed into me and I fell, almost breaking my leg.”

                “He hit you with the car?”

                “Well,” I admit, “it was kind of my fault.  I saw him coming and didn’t get out of the way fast enough.  He’s still learning how to stop.”

                “These numbers don’t look good,” says Jim, typing nervously.

                “How bad are they?” I ask.

                “Sir,” says Jim, “you don’t make this much in a year.”  More typing.  “Look.  Let’s see what discounts we can get you.  There’s the multicar discount.  How many other cars could you put on this policy?”


                “That would give you a 15% discount.”

                “Is that a lot?” I ask.

                “You don’t want to know how much.  Did your son take Driver’s Ed in school?”

                “Actually, Skylar is self-taught.”

                “You mean he practices in parking lots?”

                “Wherever he can.”

                “You might consider having him take the class.  Because of the accidents he doesn’t qualify for the 10% Good Driver discount, but if he takes the class he’ll be able to get the 10% Driver’s Training discount.”

                “Are there any other discounts?”

                “Does the car have anti-lock brakes?”


                “What about passive restraints?  You know, seat belts that lock themselves.”

                “The car doesn’t have a seat belt,” I say.

                “Is this a new car?”

                “It was brand new when I bought it.”

                “And it didn’t come with seat belts?”



                “Are you still there?” I ask.

                “Sir, I’m sorry.  The computer is telling me I can’t insure your son.”

                “But your letter promised me savings of hundreds of dollars.”

                “Have you considered buying your son a bicycle?”

                “He doesn’t like wearing a helmet.”

                “Sir, crackle, crackle, I can’t hear you, crackle, crackle, the connection’s …”

                The line goes dead.

                I look down to see Skylar playing mischievously with the now disconnected phone cord.

                “What do you think you’re doing?” I ask him as I take the cord out of his mouth and pick him up.

                I can’t wait until Skylar gets his first “guaranteed” credit card application.


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