Auto Insurance in Unlikely (and Unsavory) Places


Vomiting manAuto insurance is commonplace: everyone needs it, most people have it, but not everyone talks about it. So it’s always a kick whenever the topic turns up in unlikely places.

Check out our previous articles on those unlikely places, when we touch on some oddball, auto insurance-related stories across the U.S., around the globe and on television and in video games.

In this entry, we review instances where the commonplace topic of auto insurance is invoked in unsavory situations.

Progressive Comes Through in Unsavory Situation

A change of location can be hard. For one carjacking victim, it was literally hell on wheels.

WTVM reported from Columbus, Ga., where new resident Richard Dudley was taken for an early-morning joyride (minus the joy, add some terror) in his Chrysler 300.

According to police, 21-year-old gunman Boris Norris demanded that Dudley drive him around looking for an ATM. Norris eventually made off with Dudley’s money, but crashed the victim’s vehicle “doing 80 miles per hour.”

According to Dudley, he was unaware that his wife, a not-quite-yet ex in a yet-to-be-inked divorce, had canceled the auto insurance on the brand-new car. That meant Dudley was “on the hook for $25,000,” “still owes on the car” and “has no way to replace it,” WTVM reported.

But Dudley’s car insurer, Progressive, smoothed the situation over, with the victim telling WTVM later that the carrier will “cover 100 percent of his loss.”

Auto Insurance Advert is 2 Fast, 2 Soon after Actor’s Car Crash Death

Shark enthusiasts, “The Fast and the Furious” fans, and surf-bod lovers everywhere had a hard time processing the news that actor Paul Walker was killed in a car crash in his native California this past weekend.

There were the realizations: man, he was just 40 years old; actually, “She’s All That” and “The Skulls” were pretty good; and, dude, it’s a tragedy that he’s survived by a young daughter.

And then there were the questions: where’s the crash-site memorial?; what happens to “Fast & Furious 7”?; and do Vin Diesel, Tyrese, and The Rock use the same coping skills we do?

One auto insurance comparison website posed its own post-crash question—and it set the internet ablaze with its undeniably unsavory handling of the obviously delicate subject.

4AutoInsuranceQuote replied to dozens of tweets about the actor’s untimely death from major news outlets.

Other news outlets report that the website’s Twitter records (since deleted) include promotional statements like:

  • To the New York Times: “Even Paul Walker died in a car accident. What’s your excuse for not having car insurance?”
  • To EOnline: “Yeah, but did he have car insurance? People, get a quote … before it’s too late.”
  • To the actor’s official twitter account: “Yo Paul did u have auto insurance for that crash? Hope so.”

Imagine Lipitor promoting itself off of James Gandolfini’s passing. Or any company at all trying to make a quick buck from the deaths of Lou Reed or Phil Ramone.

Note to 4AutoInsuranceQuote: Way too fast, way too soon, and way too distasteful.

(For the record, this writer has previously linked the topics of celebrity misfortune and auto insurance, but, as far as the California court system is concerned, Amanda Bynes is still with us.)

But let’s leave auto insurance out of the conversation for the dearly departed Walker, whose memory will live on in every gear shifter and wave surfer the world over.

Texas Body Shop Owner Blows the Whistle

Auto insurance means vehicular protection for consumers. But when it comes business, auto insurance can be as cold as it comes.

Enter: Dale, Texas Whistleblower.

Doesn’t quite have the ring of Chuck Norris’ show. But, in the pursuit of righting wrongs and justice for the little guy, both Dale Tabaka the collision repairman and Cordell Walker the Texas Ranger share similarities.

News 4 San Antonio reports that Tabaka is taking a stand against “a major insurance company” for a little ol’ lady motorist and her “baby blue Chevy Cruze.”

The insurer, Tabaka said, wanted to use a salvaged axle for half the price of a brand-new axle to repair the Cruze. Unfortunately, according to the News 4 report, that axle was rusted and “one of these ears … is bent in.”

Said Tabaka about the insurance companies’ tendency to push repairers to use cheaper, sometimes substandard, aftermarket parts: “Pretty much all the insurance companies are doing it. And what scares me is, the average consumer has no knowledge of it.”

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