Thursday, June 26, 2008

Texas Rant

Since moving to Houston, Texas almost two years ago I have gone through many emotions concerning this fucking city. At first there was absolute hatred for the trash, poor air quality, over crowding, lack of zoning, encouraging of illegal immigrants, heat, humidity, worst drivers ever, cockroaches the size of school buses and various other things I can't think of at this moment. Then winter came and when everyone else I knew was suffering through cold, dreary weather it was 65 degrees F and sunny down here. Then I made friends and joined a cycling club and things looked slightly less horrid. Now that it is summer again (and I just got my first $400 electricity bill) Houston is again on my shit list. To add to the typical summer woes of Houston, I have an new complaint. The police in this town are the worst cops I have EVER seen.

Three weeks ago I was in my car stopped at a stop light when someone rear ended me. We pulled off to the side of the road and, not knowing the current price of car repairs, I called the police so someone could come out and we could file an accident report. On the phone I was then informed that the police in Houston don't come out to accident scenes if both cars are drivable, regardless of what the damage amount might be. They said that both parties HAD to come in to the police station and file a report within 24 hours if the damage was over $1000. (In every other state I have lived in you have to file a police report if the damage is over $500). I asked the police officer on the phone if both parties had to come in together and he said no. Then I asked what happened if only one party filed a police report and the other didn't. He said he didn't know.

So, being a good, responsible person I collected the other driver's information (including what looked like a valid insurance policy) and went directly to the police station to file a report. When I walked in the door I told the officer at the desk that I needed to file an accident report and he handed me a blue form, told me to fill it out within 10 days, and send it to the state police headquarters in Austin. That was it.

Immediately, when I got home, I called the driver's insurance company to file a claim. I set up an estimate for that afternoon so that I could get the ball rolling. Later that afternoon I had an estimate done on my car and the estimate was under $500 so I was unable to file an accident report. I say unable because the blue form clearly states that you are to ONLY file an accident report if the damage is over $1000.

It has now been three weeks since the accident and I have not been able to have my car fixed. The reason why I have not been able to have my car fixed is that 1) The insurance company claims they have been unable to contact the driver and 2) The insurance company said that the driver may have been uninsured at the time of the accident. I asked the insurance company how she could have been uninsured. What they said is that she hadn't paid her premiums yet. So despite having an insurance card saying her policy was valid through Sept. 2008, it turns out that she didn't have insurance, which is illegal.

I decided to call the police and let them know that I had been in an accident with an apparently uninsured driver. I told them I had all of her information and asked if I needed to report the accident. In talking with the police I was informed that it was common practice to get an insurance card, then not pay the premiums, and that as long as the driver had an insurance card that stated they had insurance it didn't really matter if it was valid or not.

This is such utter and complete bullshit. I now know why my insurance premiums are over twice what they were in Kansas for less than 1/3 the coverage. It is because the police don't seem to actually care about enforcing traffic laws, or for that matter immigration laws because the majority of the uninsured drivers are illegal.


PS The Tour de France starts July 5th with the first stage leaving from Brest!!!


DrX said...

Way too many words. DrX got bored. However, given the use of Texas in the title, an oversized, bloated post is ironic. Touche. This is the most interesting post Kris has made, though it's still not all that interesting. I mean, doesn't everyone know that Texas royally sucks? Treading a little water. And the insertion of yet another bike mention does not bode well for future posting possibilities.

Kris said...

If I hadn't included the bike reference, I figured I would have gotten accused of having someone else write the entry. :)