?

Log in

No account? Create an account
In which a moment of stupidity turns a profit - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

In which a moment of stupidity turns a profit [Aug. 19th, 2008|02:25 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |giddyd'oh!]

Ferrett is in charge of paying the household bills. But as he was gone for 6 weeks, I needed to take a turn at paying them.

Being a creature of habit (and, apparently, a Bear of Very Little Brain), this fact utterly slipped my mind. Until this morning, when I received an automated call from my car insurance company reminding me that a payment was late.

Slapping my forehead in fury at my own stupidity, I gathered up the necessary materials and began grinding my way through the automated system.

After the punching of very many buttons, the cheerfully neutral voice at the other end asked me to confirm the amount I was paying for my car and homeowner's insurance.

Car and homeowner's insurance??!

My homeowner's insurance is supposed to be paid via my escrow account, as part of my house payment. It was time to talk to customer service.

Customer service confirmed that we were paying both, had been for some time, and no, there was no escrow set up.

Time to call my mortgage bank.

THEY confirmed that my homeowner's insurance had been paid. To an entirely different company, a company with whom I had not had homeowner's insurance in over two years.

Swell. And while I'm here, just let me make my late house payment because I'm an idiot.

That done, it was back to my insurance company. Because I have been working with the same insurance company since we bought the house, but because they only underwrite original policies for people who haven't had any insurance claims in a given number of years, they were not initially able to underwrite my policy - we had had a flood in Anchorage when my water heater split and pumped hundreds of gallons of water into the lower level of our split-level house and had opened a file. But the water was all clean, and with a ShopVac and rented fans we managed to clean it up ourselves, so we never actually made any claim. Nevertheless, we had a period of 4 years during which we had to have rather expensive insurance, but the wonderful agent at this company did the shopping for me, presented me with options, and arranged the insurance.

Believe me, I marked the date when we would be eligible for a better policy at a third of the cost, and contacted our company as soon as it arrived. A new broker had taken over the office, but she assured me that she would do everything our old broker had promised: write up the new policy, cancel the other policy, and contact the mortgage bank with the new policy information for escrow.

Well, she wrote the new policy. Back in April of 2006. As for the rest?

Sure enough, they had us double-insured, with over $800 a year going to the supposedly canceled insurance via our escrow and $278 going to our current insurance via monthly payments from us.

This does not make me happy.

What DOES make me happy is that it only took three more phone calls to straighten it out. Over $1,600 is going to be refunded from the old insurance company back to our mortgage bank (what they will do with it is not yet clear, but once I confirm the amount of the refund, I will call them, too - I LOVE that we have a small, local bank for our mortgage) and both our insurance payment and our house payment should go down.

The mortgage bank may either keep the money in escrow and lower our payment, or send us a refund, but whichever way, I just recovered us a chunk o' change.

Who says stupidity is a curse?
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: jfargo
2008-08-19 07:58 pm (UTC)
Well, that's definitely a nice little bonus! Happy that your forgetfulness turned into bounty!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-19 08:26 pm (UTC)
Definitely! How often does that kind of luck happen?!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: mishamish
2008-08-19 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yay for found moneys!!!

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-19 08:27 pm (UTC)
Even if it does not return to our hot lil' hands, it will benefit our paying off the house!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mananath
2008-08-19 08:20 pm (UTC)
and yet another benefit of Clarion... ;)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-19 08:29 pm (UTC)
It truly was an amazing event. ;-)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-19 09:05 pm (UTC)
I shudder to think how long it might have gone on if I hadn't noticed!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: weirman
2008-08-19 08:40 pm (UTC)
That's what you call a happy accident.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-19 09:05 pm (UTC)
Indeed!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: areawoman
2008-08-19 08:54 pm (UTC)
Wow, it's like finding 20 bucks in your pocket, only a helluva lot more!! Nice work!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-19 09:08 pm (UTC)
And so lucky, because Ferrett wouldn't have realized, not knowing the ins and outs of escrow.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2008-08-19 08:54 pm (UTC)
Sure enough, they had us double-insured, with over $800 a year going to the supposedly canceled insurance via our escrow and $278 going to our current insurance via monthly payments from us.


This is making my brain hurt...the old insurance company didn't send you a bill stating that the policy would be paid by the escrow holder?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2008-08-19 08:58 pm (UTC)
(making my brain hurt because I was having difficulty following the mish-mash of insurance companies and payments, not making my brain hurt because of what you did...had to clarify)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-20 02:10 am (UTC)
I'm just glad I noticed before we were, oh, three or four years down the road with it!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: heathrow
2008-08-20 12:53 am (UTC)
I'm glad you sorted that out!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-20 02:12 am (UTC)
I'm glad it happened the way it did, otherwise Ferrett would have had no way of knowing and who knows how long that would have continued!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: candiedheart
2008-08-20 01:14 am (UTC)
Not paying your bills CAN be a good thing =)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-20 02:15 am (UTC)
Not probably the best lesson to take from this misadventure, however! ;-)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: richtermom
2008-08-20 04:24 am (UTC)
Apparently, a safety mechanism in bookkeeping to prevent embezzling is to require white collar financial workers to use their vacation time. Other people get cross trained, but also, processes can get streamlined with new people working on stuff, and if someone is gradually sifting off cash, it could be noticed while the sifter is on vacation. Also, as you found out, "new eyes" find all sorts of things :) So congrats, your household is following standard accounting practices!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-20 04:51 am (UTC)
That's an amusing way of looking at it!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: forestmaster
2008-08-20 11:56 am (UTC)
Looks like a good reminder to me that no matter who is paying the bills, it's a good idea to go over things with the other party on a semi-regular basis. Good point on the standard accounting practice bit too.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-20 02:26 pm (UTC)
Honestly, if it hadn't been for that little automaton voice enumerating the payments, I'm not sure I would have caught it just looking at the paperwork. It wasn't clear at all.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: naath
2008-08-20 12:29 pm (UTC)
Nice! (If it were me I'd leave the $1600 in the mortgage, get it paid off faster).

Reminds me that I should actually *look at* bills once in a while (I pay my bills by direct debit or standing order, I am a Bear Of No Brain and would be late all the time with them if I didn't - so they come through the door and go directly in the filing box).
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-20 02:27 pm (UTC)
That would be my choice, if they give me a choice, too. And yeah, it is a good idea!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: uplinktruck
2008-08-21 05:24 pm (UTC)
If there are no pressing expenses coming up, put the money to the principal? Depending on where you are in your mortgage, it could pay you off upwards of 18 months sooner. (if my math is right.)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-21 08:53 pm (UTC)
That is what I plan on doing, thanks.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-08-22 04:57 am (UTC)
We have paper bills. It just wasn't clear from the bill. It was the automated system - and my understanding of how it was supposed to work - that helped me catch it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)