I’d Rather Be Safe Than Sorry

Last month was the four year anniversary of having closed and moved into our home.  It’s been great.

With that came the annual responsibility of paying our homeowners insurance premium (we don’t escrow).  We do our car and home insurance through Allstate, as having both with the same company saves us money on both policies.

I’ve gotten into a pretty good system where I have this payment set through my online access.  It deducts from my bank account and we’re good for another twelve months.

Not this year.

I went in a couple of days before the date of which the payment was due.  Having worked with this before with no problems, I figured I’ll keep my money as long as possible.  Logically, I know it’s only a couple of pennies in interest that we’re talking about, but still.

Except it wouldn’t let me in.

I had the username and password correct.  I keep this in a master list of access codes and the site even confirmed that I was entering it correctly, but it wouldn’t let me in due to some ‘Account Upgrades’ that were taking place in the back end.

Concerned, I called my agent’s office.  The nice lady on the phone (who I’ve dealt with many a time) assured me that I have until 10 days after the policy is due to pay it without penalty and that the account access would be restored by then.

What do you think I did?  Do you think I said ‘OK’ and hung up, taking my chances that I could pay past the due date.


I cheerfully asked ‘Well, can you just process the payment for me?’

‘Sure’.  So I paid over the phone (oh, and with my 1% Citi card so I’ll get 1% of my policy amount back, woo hoo).  Ahead of time.

I guess I could trust the insurance company.  They’ve never given me reason not to.  They’ve always handled every claim I’ve processed quickly and without error.  They’ve always worked with me when I had any concerns on pricing.  They always handled everything on the up and up.  They’ve given me every reason to trust them.  I could have.

But I didn’t 🙂

Better safe than sorry, I say, and I certainly slept better that night having exercised those words of wisdom!

9 thoughts on “I’d Rather Be Safe Than Sorry”

  1. It is interesting you used your 1% rebate credit card as a back up. I would use it routinely and grab the 1% rebate. You have the money therefore you just pay it off. BTW, I use my rewards card to pay as many things I can without the fee.

  2. That was smart.

    But I'm with krantcents: why not use a rewards card every year, and also use it to pay your auto insurance?

    The insurance company reliably gets paid and you get a little kickback. Not a bad idea at all!

    If you arrange to pay them both annually or semiannually, you can self-escrow the amount monthly, paying yourself just as you would pay the monthly premium. Then the money would be in the bank to pay off the annual or semiannual debit to the credit card.

  3. @ krantcents and @funny – I will often use my rewards card to get the 1% bonus, but not as a general rule. It's often because I don't like to muck things up, in that I have a budget of what I expect to go on the credit card (and therefore get paid the 1st of the month) and what I expect to pay on the debit card with everyday purchases. With the delay in things showing up on the credit card, I dont like a bunch of transactions hanging out there that I can't see. In other words, my desire to be able to track where spending is at a moment's notice limits my use of the rewards card. Does it cost me rewards money? Probably a little, but I'm OK (for now) with the peace of mind otherwise.

  4. Even if trusting the insurance company wasn't an issue, there was always the chance you could forget to go back and pay when the system was back up, especially since it was not part of your normal routine.

  5. I'd have been afraid that they would charge a fee for taking it over the phone. Still, better to have gotten it paid for sure rather than trusting that things would be ok if you paid within the grace period.

  6. I've all but given up on trying to cut the payments for my bills as late as possible. The extra interest on the money in my bank account is almost nothing.

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