Saturday, September 5, 2009

Don't procrastinate when it comes to housing

I thought I had enough time. I always play this game. It makes me more stressful and forces me to rush through things.

Earlier this week I went to State Farm to get a quote on renter's insurance because Sebastian had recommended me to them. I had managed to get a quote from Progressive, my auto insurance provider, but they had quoted a ridiculous high rate enough to rape you. About $38 a month, or almost $500 for a yearly premium.

As soon as I walked in I was greeted by the most enthusiastic handshake. Oh boy... I'm gonna get screwed here too. I told the agent I was here to obtain a quote for renter's insurance, and that I was unfamiliar with the process. She asked me what my total worth in personal property was and I told her $7,000.

She laughed.

In my face practically.

"Well the minimum we offer is $10,000" she responded. "Well then can I get a quote for that?" I asked her.

"Oh but are you sure you don't want to go for at least $20,000? I mean, think about how much it would cost to replace your clothes, your furniture. And we're not talking about items that are on sale. We're talking full cost."

I don't have that much stuff. Just get me the $10,000 quote.

I told her I needed $25,000 renter's liability according to my apartment's requirements.

The lowest they offered was $100,000.

Ok, I don't care.

I asked her to explain to me the definition of this coverage, because I still didn't quite understand it. Basically, liability insurance covers the apartment unit for any fuck-ups that I cause, be it fire, flooding, and can also cover vandalism and invasion. However, I wasn't quite sure if it covered damages caused by hurricane winds. I mean- that's not my fault right? Shouldn't the complex cover for that?

She worked up the quote and offered $12.50 a month, which is what Sebastian had advised me it would cost. I asked her if I could pay it monthly, or if it was annually and she laughed again. "It's $150!" At this point, I was pissed. It was rude of her to laugh at a question I had. For the rest of the meeting, I was cold towards her. The only reason why I signed up that day was because the leasing agent told me I needed to have coverage set up at least 5 days before move in day. I still put my move in day as my start day for my coverage. I called the leasing agent and asked if I needed to show them my certificate, and she said I could just bring it in the day of move in with my check.

The following day, I started researching electric providers online so I could get my service started. I asked BEG, Sebastian and my colleagues. I was referred to Gexa and Amigo Energy. After understanding their rates, I decided to start with Amigo Energy.

I opted for a 6 month fixed rate of 11.1¢ for the first 500kwh in the Centerpoint Area (there are a lot of different rates for different areas, and I know that my apartment is in the Centerpoint district). I don't remember what it was for 501-1000kwh. Their cancellation fee was $100, but I don't plan to do that during the service.

And here's the part where I screwed up. I went to apply for their service, but the soonest they could start was 6 days away; it was Wednesday, and the following Monday is Labor Day. I called their customer service line and I asked them if they could turn it on on Friday (which was 2 days away) and the agent told me they were booked until Tuesday. They didn't connect service on weekends or holidays.


Won't the apartment charge me for those days I don't have service?

I asked Sebastian and he said they would most likely charge at double the price, which is what had happened to him when he had moved into his apartment. Or the apartment would charge a flat rate- I don't know. I can't remember.

So the big day is coming. I'm excited, and nervous that not all my papers will be in order.

I went through my renter's insurance paperwork, and just noticed that the name of my complex is not listed as an interested party on the certificate.

Well, shit. Another lesson learned I guess.

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