Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good to see that McChrystal has landed on his feet

I actually love commercials like this- completely amateurish, featuring people without the slightest hint of acting ability, unabashedly cheesy and apparently proud of it. I'm only including it as a This Commercial Sucks post so I can express my disdain for the dangerous, irresponsible idiots who have to resort to buying auto insurance from a service called simply "The General."

Nice young couple cooperate with a balding stereotype of a car salesman to create a High School Production skit entitled "buying a car." When the word "action!" is barked offstage, car salesman pretends to shuffle Paperwork Important in the Purchasing of an Automobile and announces "all I need now is proof of insurance."

Because this is the year 2010, cute girl (who is apparently cute guy's secretary) pulls out a mini-laptop so that her boss-boyfriend-child groom can "get a quote from 'The General.'" Ok then.

We learn that The General sells auto insurance, and can sign you up regardless of how many times you've slammed your car into trees, fence posts, mail boxes, other cars or human beings, how many times you've been caught speeding, driving on the median, or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of legal or illegal drugs, or how old you are. Apparently The General has seen too much carnage in his life to judge you based on a few minor points like other insurance companies do. And for a down payment "as low as $59" (the small print reads that the average down payment is $125) you can get insurance with "low monthly payments." Wow, how convenient. Just like Rent-A-Center.

Except....hmmm. Down Payment? Is that subtracted from your monthly bill until it's paid down? "Low Monthly Payments?" Who pays their car insurance monthly? Oh yeah- the kind of people who have to make a down payment and buy insurance from a cartoon character dressed like Patton who drives around in a convertible with a penguin. The kind of people who can't buy insurance from an established company.

Still- who wouldn't want a quote from The General? Look what it did for Rolling Stone.


  1. I pay for my car insurance monthly - two cars, full coverage on each. I have Travelers (the red umbrella people)

    I do pay an additional $60/year for paying monthly but it makes my bill easier to manage.

  2. Ok- have to admit, I never heard of paying car insurance by the month before.

    Of course, with The General, you pay by the month because you are a client on a month-to-month basis. Because all of it's customers are high-risk and likely to be dumped at any time. I wonder- if you can't buy insurance from The General, who CAN you buy insurance from?

    Maybe nobody. In 2003, my car was totaled when an uninsured driver with multiple DUIs slammed into me while I waited for a police officer to wave me through a construction site. I guess the real last resort is to drive without any insurance at all.

  3. Just to clarify, my policies are issued 6 months at a time - just as they would be if I paid up front. For me, paying by the month is a matter of convenience. I think a lot of people do pay by the month, particularly in states like New Mexico that have very high insurance costs (due to the high level of uninsured drivers).

    Agree with you though about the General and other companies of that ilk targeting high-risk drivers. Their rates are EXTREMELY high as well. Typical predatory practices targeted toward the poor and the stupid.

  4. I get my bill every six months too- and pay quarterly, because I can't afford to shell out $540 all at once. Companies like The General ONLY let you pay monthly, because they want to be able to dump you quickly if you turn out to be too high-risk even for them.

  5. I didn't know that a car insurance company could "dump" you. Wouldn't they just jack up the premiums?

  6. Quite correct, papers. Basically, they'd offer you a choice- pay even more, or walk away and leave a wad of money with the insurance company.

  7. Car insurance companies don't actually "dump" people, but they do refuse to sell policies to people who have poor driving records, perhaps figuring they won't get enough money out of them before the inevitable accident.