Here’s the windup, and here’s the pitch …

May 8, 2013

A car insurance glossary only a baseball fan would appreciate

   POSTAGE  by Rob Stamp

It’s baseball season and, around these parts, it’s a six-month-long celebration. A diamond jubilee, if you will. St. Louis fans are somewhat spoiled because their Cardinals often make it last into October. Here’s my first attempt to put auto insurance in baseball terms Cardinal fans may better understand:

Around the horn – We discourage drivers from using their cell phones while driving and prefer they keep both hands on the steering wheel, which is located around the horn.

Can of corn — We’re delighted that, with little exception, the companies we keep have efficient processes in place that get towing and glass damage claims settled as easy as Carlos Beltran’s glide to a routine fly ball.

Catcher — Another name for windshield, which collects all manners of rocks, birdshit and insect splatter, regardless of skin color, credit score or religious beliefs.

Changeup — We know it happens, because we are consumers ourselves, but we’re not gonna throw prospects a changeup by enticing them with one proposal, then switching it to something else that’s much more rewarding to us.

Curveball – See changeup.

Double — Almost always a safe, ballpark estimate for what your insurance costs become when a 16 year old becomes licensed. Double also often explains the effect on a car’s premium when weighing the difference between liability only and coverage for damage to the car itself. (Editor’s note: Agents are never supposed to call it “full coverage,” even though that’s the only way most customers understand it.)

Double play — Consolidation of car and homeowners insurance with the same company, saving money on both policies.

Double switch — You’d be surprised by how many times over the years a customer calls to request a policy change replacing two cars, not just one.

Error — What you’d be making if you didn’t at least give me a chance to win your business by reviewing your car insurance needs.

Fielder – Another name for the adjuster, who works in the field obtaining estimates for covered damage.

Groundout — Strike a clueless animal that has wandered into the roadway and you’ll be glad the insurance company considers it a comprehensive claim, which won’t be held against you in the pricing of future renewals.

Hit and run — Some of the most rotten claims ever. You could be in the grocery store, worried whether it’s safe to use your debit card, your grubby mitts helping you mull over the melons, while your poor, unoccupied car is getting tagged out in the parking lot. Doesn’t matter if it’s caused by another car or a shopping cart. You’ll be out your collision deductible either way, unless you’re one of the lucky ones and the responsible party left a confession note with his or her contact info or made an effort to track you down in the store. Ye of little faith: That actually happens and, when it does, you may think that Gordon Gekko had it all wrong. “Greed isn’t good. People are.”

Home run — When a claims experience is resolved satisfactorily and the customer isn’t left asking, “What have I been paying for all these years?”

Hot box – Where we might find ourselves trying to explain a rate increase for someone’s renewal. People understand it when they’ve had accidents or tickets, not so much when companies raise rates because of everyone else’s losses.

Out — Deductible. The amount of money you are out in order to have covered damage to your car repaired. Your share of the loss. You’re out your collision or comprehensive deductible and the insurance company is out the rest.

Pitcher — Occasionally, an underwriter requests we furnish pitchers showing no prior damage on a used car being added to the policy. Without the photos, the company won’t offer the “full coverage” that we’re not supposed to call it.

Run – What you should do if a pushy, irritating, little green lizard with a funny voice tries selling you car insurance on line.

Run faster – What you should do if Al Hrabosky, disguised as The General, tries selling you a policy with state-minimum liability limits.

Sacrifice — What we sometimes ask our clients to do when we can’t offer the lowest price. You may have to sacrifice a few bucks because it’s well worth it to continue getting our refreshing, tell-it-like-it-is, best-in-class, personal service.

Single — Opposite of married, the same way most industries use it. Single drivers tend to pay higher auto premiums than married ones. Then they get older — the defining age traditionally being 25 for women and 30 for men — and insurance companies start charging them like the rest of us boring, stay-at-home geezers.

Slider – A car that loses traction after coming across a patch of snow or ice. Unfortunately, if it ends up in a ditch or smashes into something, its damage is settled under collision and later considered an at-fault accident. We just hope no one gets hurt.

Squeeze play – That uncomfortable feeling that overcomes you when dealing with one of life’s unpleasant necessities: insurance. Trust me, it’s a lot worse when you don’t have me explaining it to you.

Steal — A way to describe the bargain you get when placing your trust in Meadow Park Insurance Agency to handle your insurance needs with professionalism and attention to detail you’d otherwise be swinging for the fences to obtain after cutting out me as your agent.

Triple – Impact accidents and traffic violations could have on your insurance premiums. Accidents happen. Tickets can be avoided, but when they aren’t, it likely costs far less in the long run to never pay a surcharge for them. You’ll pay more up front to hire some fast-talking attorney to get a moving violation fixed, but doing so avoids the three-year penalty you’d face if the mean old insurance company discovers the conviction on your driving record.

Walk — What you’ll have to do if you fail to maintain car insurance, without being in violation of state law.