Insurance – Maybe? Maybe not?


For the past forever, the General has taken responsibility for paying our bills. We have one checkbook at our house and I am not the person responsible for its keeping. In fact, the General would say I’m not responsible period. That’s why she carries the checkbook. I think that is a misperception on her part, but who am I to argue? Isn’t it best to pick your battles? That’s not one worth quibbling about.


It’s not that I have a tendency to write checks for this and that. It allegedly has more to do with my failure to remember what I did with the checkbook. Of course, it has been so long since I had a checkbook that I don’t remember with the same painstaking accuracy that the General seems to possess related to my difficulty in that regard.


So for nearly five decades, I’ve never opened a bill or really paid much attention to what we were paying for what. Circumstances over the past several months when Treva was preoccupied with the care of her mother and spending lengthy periods of time in Odessa prior to her mother’s move here, she thought it important that I open the bills to ensure a timely remittal. It was an eye opening experience.


For one thing, I had no idea what we were paying for car insurance. We are a family of two with four cars and I was astounded with the costs. It isn’t often that I would pay a visit to my State Farm Agent’s office to inquire about a better deal, but I actually made at least two visits in an effort to reduce the expenditure. I struck out both times.


That’s not to say I lost the ballgame because I didn’t. I figured out another way to resolve the issue in my favor rather than the insurance company. I probably wouldn’t have come up with the idea on my on, but I received a letter from the dealer where I purchased the car and they wanted to buy it back. Initially, I was resistive. All it took was noting what I was paying every six months to keep the car insured and I caved in. I sold the car and cancelled the insurance. I’m still singing the Hallelujah Chorus. I guess I showed them!


A couple of weeks ago my cell phone stopped charging. Could it be that the battery needed to be replaced? Probably was my best guess. At any rate, I took it to an AT&T store in Houston and they did a diagnostic overview of the problem. It wasn’t the battery. It was the charging port. It wasn’t working and the AT&T store doesn’t work on phones. They just sell them.


Okay, so what would it cost for me to get a new phone? I had taken insurance out on the phone when I purchased it. Seriously, had it really been five years? I never would have guessed. Yes, I had insurance and with a $150 deductible, I could get a new phone. So wouldn’t I be stupid not to do that?


Most of you probably would say, “Yes”. Not so fast in making your assessment. The AT&T store wanted to sell me an iPhone 8. Apple doesn’t make the iPhone 6 any longer. Consequently, it wasn’t replaceable. So what good was my insurance if the phone was no longer being made?  Maybe it was a matter of principle, but I didn’t buy a new phone. I went to a phone repair service in Houston and had the phone repaired for $75.


While I had been in the AT&T store in Houston, I had my number changed to a Washington, D.C. area code. If you’d like access to my updated number, please make a request and I will send it your way. Trust me, having a 202 area code does not provide me a delusion of grandeur. Actually, my travels often take me to Washington and I needed the number. At any rate, last week I got an email from AT&T wishing me well following the activation of my old phone with the new number. In addition, it included notation that I had signed on for insurance. It was just short of $12 a month.


I had done nothing at AT&T in Houston except have my number changed, learned that my phone needed to be repaired and that it really couldn’t be replaced using my insurance because they don’t make that phone any longer. Enough is enough! By happenstance, I was in the AT&T store with the General this week and I inquired about the insurance. I hadn’t added the insurance when the number was changed. I’ve been paying it for the past 5 plus years to the tune of $750.00 since signing on. By the way, that will almost get you a new iPhone 8 plus. Reportedly, according to the AT&T representative in Dripping Springs, I could have gotten an iPhone 7 as a replacement for $150. Of course, now that my iPhone has been repaired, it is no longer in need of replacement. Catch 22 can duplicate itself again and again and again.


At any rate, I went in with the General because she was finally (after much insistence from me), getting a new phone. Her old iPhone 5 was barely functional. In fact, I couldn’t even figure out how to make it work. The screen was so small I couldn’t read the print on a text message even if I could have figured out how to make it work.


Okay, so she was outfitted with a new phone, a durable protective case and at my insistence, she opted for the insurance. Did I mention I cancelled mine? If I need a new phone, I’ll buy one. Why pay $12 a month for a five-year-old phone that is really irreplaceable. Been there/done that.


The AT&T representative mentioned that a lady recently purchased an iPhone X from them. Wow! I know a couple of Apple employees who have one. The X is the latest and the greatest. However, the sleek design and totally glass package could be more problems than it’s worth. Just ask the lady who bought one. Reportedly, she didn’t want a protective case. After all, why mess up a good look? In addition, she reportedly has been carrying an iPhone for years and has never dropped one. And of course, she didn’t want the insurance?


Would you believe the phone slipped out of her lap before she backed her car out of the parking lot? Presto – you got it. The phone broke. As a rule of thumb, I’d never carry any kind of phone without a protective case. I can promise you if I ever send $1,000 for a cell phone, it will be shielded from my innate ability to drop it on concrete. I’ll also opt for the insurance.


All My Best!