Joe Friday: My insurance agent

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It’s been the consuming piece of business in most of our lives for the last three weeks and I won’t write about it forever, but it was quite an experience and please indulge this one last column about the storm.

By now, most of us have learned more about the home insurance policy that we have been paying for years and hoped to never use. You’ve probably met the agent from your company. So have I.

I wouldn’t describe him as Santa Claus. In other words, he was efficient and nice, very professional. But he did not come loaded down with lots of gifts. He sort of reminded me of the late Joe Friday of Dragnet. “Just the facts, ma’am.”

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I don’t know what I might have been expected. Donna Sue and I were blessed to have no more damage than we did. At the same time, there were many storm-related expenses that I would have liked to have gotten back. Instead I got “Just the facts,” Mr. Insurance Agent.

“You should have seen my yard,” I said expectantly. “From one side to the other were limbs and trees. How much do I get for reimbursement for yard clean-up?”

Joe Friday responded with a phrase that had to be a favorite of his. “We don’t pay for that.”

“But the tree was on my house!” I protested. “If it were not for volunteers, it would still be there.”

He went on to explain that if the tree had remained, the company would have paid to get it off the house. They would have paid to cut the part of the tree that was on the house, but once it was off the house, the rest of the tree was my responsibility. Okay. Strike One.

“How about the generator?” I asked. Donna Sue has a doctor-documented medical condition that compelled us to have electricity. A generator was essential to her health. Surely, that is a reimbursable expense.

“We don’t buy generators,” my agent said in the monotone that would have made Joe Friday proud.

“But it was a medical necessity,” I pleaded. I thought about the twenty years we had been paying for the insurance and had never called. Doesn’t Santa have something in that bag for us?

“I’ll ask, but I’m pretty sure they will not pay for the generator,” he said. Strike Two!

At least I’ll get a new roof. There was a real hole in the roof. Certainly no getting around that.

The adjustor climbed up on the roof and looked at the hole that had caused the leak in the house. He took out his tape measure and the hole was about a foot in diameter. Also, there were other shingles that had been blown onto the ground. He got down off the roof and began to figure.

“Well, let’s see,” he said. “There’s one sheet of plywood, a little roofing felt, and a bundle of shingles. That ought to do it.”

“I think it’s going to take more than a bundle of shingles to cover the whole roof,” I said.

“Oh,” Joe Friday said, “we won’t cover the whole roof; just the section that was damaged.”

“But won’t it look odd to have two colors of shingles on the roof?” I reasonably asked. “It’ll look like a patch job.”

“That’s all we’re responsible for,” the agent said. “Who do you think we are, Santa Claus?”

“No,” I admitted. “I know Santa Claus and I knew you weren’t him from the beginning. But I was hoping that my insurance company would not have sent me Joe Friday!”