austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

But every day can be a magic carpet ride

I've got car insurance! Dad's had the same insurance for decades now, and I wanted that company since they're remarkably non-evil considering the awful reputation insurance companies get. In fact, they've always been very nice to have (rare) dealings with. The first danger was they limit coverage to people employed by a specific set of industries (part of their charter), but family members can bud off their own policies. The lady on the phone wasn't sure if I qualified since Dad had me listed as an inactive driver for so long while I was in Singapore that they lost my existence, but she thought it was probably all right, so why not fill in an application and see what happens? I got the application and was stuck on whether in case of accident the car insurance or my normal medical insurance should cover my injuries first.

I have US-based health insurance (Singaporean too), and got my card and all, but I couldn't find a policy number on the card or in the information packets. There were multiple numbers, none labelled as ``policy number'' or ``cardholder number'' or such, and all of them very short. So I called the health insurance company and tried to guess what voice menu choice to use; I guessed ``Coverage Questions'' would cover ``I can't figure out my policy number''. The first person I got agreed the policy number logically had to be on the card, but didn't sure where, and transferred me to another department. Someone there did know. The policy number's only six digits. The number for my (Singapore) bank card is that long, for crying out loud. She agreed it was a disquietingly short number.

Anyway, on Dad's insistence I called the car insurance company to ask if it would be a lower premium to have them take health costs first or have my health insurance take the costs first, and I figured it was easier to do what he said than explain several times why I didn't. They pointed out I could complete the application over the phone, so why not skip the form? I did.

Last Saturday they sent another form assuring me I was eligible and asking for final details, like the vehicle identification number of the car I don't yet have. Finishing the form was the work of a few minutes, but mailing it back ... well ... through all the car problems I haven't gotten to a post office. I finally asked Mom to drop it in the mail when she was out for something, and she asked why I didn't just put in the home mailbox with the flag up?

In my defense, it has been nearly twenty years since I regularly lived in a place where you could mail things from your mail box; I've been in campus housing or apartment blocks or the like that just didn't seem to take outgoing letters. But I put it in the mail, and the insurance company got it, and they called back with my approval and my policy number, which is a minimally acceptable eight numerals and letters long, with reassuring hyphens. Now I just need a car.

Trivia: On his 1804 balloon flight up to 13,120 feet Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac brought frogs, insects, and birds to study their behavior at high altitudes. Source: Life Science Library: Energy, Mitchell Wilson.

Currently Reading: Eyewitness to the Civil War, Neil Kagan, Stephen G Hyslop.


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