MAYFIELD VILLAGE, OHIO -- On 07/26/04 my husband and I switched from our former insurance company to Progressive Insurance for our two vehicles because our former company kept raising our rates even though we both have perfect driving records. Today, 08/20/04 we received a phone call from Royce at Progressive Insurance to "verify" our information. We didn't understand this since the policy had already been issued almost a month ago but I went along with him and verified our address and employment information.
During the course of this phone call, our zip code was verified and was found to be incorrect for our street address. Our city has three zip codes differing only by the last digit, and our zip code is for the suburban area. We were listed in the zip code for the downtown area of the city and when I corrected the zip code, I was informed by Royce that our insurance premium would be increased by $39.00 beginning next month because of our zip code. I asked why and I was told that it is because insurance rates are determined by zip code and that statistics show that there are more "problems" in our zip code. I questioned this since we live in an upscale area of town and the subdivision that we live in has almost no crime at all, no thefts, vandalism, etc. but the downtown zip code that we were listed in has a high crime rate including drugs, burglaries, vandalism, theft, car accidents, etc. and chances are that your vehicle will be broken into, vandalized, or stolen are a great deal higher in the downtown area. The newspaper for our town has a daily log of police reports and most all of them are in the downtown zip code where we were incorrectly listed as residing.
I asked to speak to a supervisor and was put on hold. After five minutes, Royce came back on the line and stated that he talked it over with his supervisor and our rates wouldn't be raised "this term" but the next six month term the higher rates would be in effect. I stated that we feel that we are being penalized for living in a nice area and he denied that and said that he was sorry that we felt that way but we have to pay the higher rate. I said, "Let me get this straight. If we live in a nice, crime free area where people are very careful with their own and everyone else's vehicles, we have to pay $39.00 more than if we lived in an area where daily occurrences of theft, vandalism, and drugs are rampant and where most car accidents occur?" He stated that is correct. I told him that I wanted to talk to someone that could explain this method of pricing car insurance premiums to me because I didn't understand how rating a nicer area for higher premiums made any sense
He refused to let me talk to anyone else, told me to have a nice day, thanks for choosing Progressive Insurance and hung up on me. In addition to the rudeness of the representative, it appears to us that we are being penalized because we live in a nice area and the insurance company obviously thinks that we have money so we get ripped off in this manner of discrimination. We are not rich, my husband is the only one in our household that is employed since my job was moved overseas and now I am a full-time college student.
We don't have extra money, and are struggling to pay the bills each month. We are middle age so we are not young drivers that are reckless. We will be shopping for a new insurance company that rates on your driving record, not your zip code. It is a good thing that we don't live in zip code 90210!