Patriot Penalty: Deployed service members come home to find higher auto insurance rates from Geico

Recently-returned military members may be quoted higher auto insurance rates than their civilian neighbors. Insurance experts say there is no actuarial reason to charge more. (Source: Investigate TV)

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In the middle of a baseball diamond, the Geico gecko takes the microphone. His message is a salute to the military.

“Geico would like to take a moment to say thank you to our military members at home and abroad for all their hard work and sacrifice,” he says.

But InvestigateTV has found that commercial maybe a little disingenuous.

In some cases, companies, including Geico, quote servicemembers with higher auto insurance rates when they come home from deployment.

“It makes me so angry they get away with that ad,” said Doug Heller, a nationally-recognized insurance expert with the Consumer Federation of America. “Because I know what Geico does for soldiers. They charge them more for auto insurance.”

InvestigateTV’s analysis of quotes across the country shows that in many places Geico gives military members who have been deployed higher rate quotes than their civilian neighbors.

“The idea that insurance companies can take soldiers with perfectly good driving records and charge them more because they were deployed overseas, it’s just objectionable. It’s like a patriot penalty,” Heller said.

The state commander of Louisiana’s Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mickey Carroll, said this practice is unacceptable. As someone who deployed to Vietnam at 18-years-old, he’s angry that young active-duty military members are facing potentially higher bills.

“It infuriates me. It’s an injustice. To penalize somebody for serving their country is an injustice, and it should be fixed,” Carroll said.

Carroll said it’s hard enough for military members to make ends meet without added expenses that come as the result of their duties.

“It’s so hard for a young person to make it on what they’re paid,” he said. “All the other demands that a person needs today, everyday expenses, you don’t need something like this to burden you.”

InvestigateTV finds higher insurance quotes in at least 22 states

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‘Nobody has any idea’

Geico did not respond to InvestigateTV’s requests for comment, which occurred with other television news stations. Instead, Geico referred investigative reports to the same resource: a representative of the lobbying group American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) answered questions. The executive chairman of Geico, Tony Nicely, is listed as a board member of that trade association.

Therefore, when we see the little green lizard we need to remember Geico charges our returning service patriots more than nonservice personnel.

 

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