In 2011, I was rear ended by a semi tractor trailer on I-70. The collision damaged my vehicle, insurance information was collected. In situations like this, just as with my more recent traffic incident, the party that is not at fault pays their own insurance company the deductible on their claim and once the at-fault party is found at fault, the deductible is then refunded to the party not-at-fault. This was explained to me by my Nationwide (my insurance company at the time) agent, who then further went on to explain that sometimes it can be weeks, sometimes months, and sometimes even years for that deductible to be returned.

So, I paid my $500 to Nationwide, had by car repaired, and continued on with my life. Every three months or so, I’d call up Nationwide’s claims department to ask about the progress on the claim. The answer given had been pretty consistent- nothing has happened, we’re having some trouble getting in contact with the driver/driver’s insurance/driver’s employer.

About a year has gone by since I last contacted Nationwide. In all honesty, it’d slipped my mind. It’s been about four years, after all. I called today. I also wish I had recorded the call.

After providing the claim number, the Nationwide agent, did some research, exclaimed at how surprising the age of the claim was, then explained that it had been sent to a collections agency and that agency had ceased attempting to contact the other party after having no response from them.

I think I understand what she’s telling me, but I ask for clarification anyway. “What does this mean in regards to the money I paid for my deductible?” To her credit, she didn’t dance around the answer, she told me that I wouldn’t be getting it back. The way that it’s supposed to work is that the at fault party pays Nationwide for the reparations that they made for me, and that includes my deductible. Because neither Nationwide or this collections agency were able to contact any of the three liable parties, they treat it as if the other driver was not insured at all.

I ask for more clarification. “So, if because the at fault people weren’t picking up the phone, that means that-“ “That’s not what I said,” she interrupts. And then proceeds to tell me that because they had tried to contact the at fault party and no one was responding to them that there was no progress.

“Well that sounds like exactly what I had just said,”

“I don’t think it was,”

Combative customer service. Great.

“I suppose that’s all that this conversation is going to get, so thanks for looking into things,” Click.

So, should we ever change insurance companies again, it ain’t going to be Nationwide. And it’s not because of how things went down with my $500 deductible, it’s because their one customer service rep couldn’t listen to me being frustrated for a couple minutes and say, “Yep, this sucks, but Nationwide and a collections agency had tried for a couple years to get some form of contact, and it didn’t happen,”