Monday, November 16, 2009

Renter’s Insurance in Naples – The 5% Deal!

We are two days away from moving into a new house here in Naples. This is not by choice. We’ve lived in a lovely house for three years now, but there is a ground-water contamination problem and most of the Americans living in Casal di Principe have been directed to vamoose as soon as possible.

We found a gorgeous house, though, so I’m not too upset. We lived dangerously and didn’t have renter’s insurance in the Casal house, but I decided we should have it in the new place. MOH said, “Sure, fine, set it up.” I called our friendly neighborhood Geico representative, Sam, to find out what we needed to do.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “I’m interested in getting some renter’s insurance for our new house.”

Sam: “Yes, please come in so I can explain it to you.”

Me: “You can just explain it over the phone. I don’t want to take anymore time off work than necessary.”

Sam: “It is better if you come in.”

Me: “Please just tell me about it.”

Sam: “Okay. You need to write down everything you own and how much it is worth. For all of your electronic devices we need serial numbers.”

Me: Silence from me.

Sam: “That is all.”

Me: “Okay. I can do that.” Seriously – I was supposed to come in for that?

Sam: “Let me make you aware, though, that if you do not have receipts for every item you own, you will only receive 5% of its value.”

Me: “You need a receipt for everything.”

Sam: “Yes. Otherwise, if you submit a $30,000 claim and do not have receipts, you will receive $1,500.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Really. I mean I have SOME receipts. For SOME things. Not enough to make it worth getting this fabulous deal on insurance, though. I didn’t even ask what the rates were. MOH said we should just list every item we own as having a one million dollar value. Cute.

AFN airs several commercials regarding this topic reminding us of the importance of having this insurance. The commercials talk about the usual two options: covering the current value of the items (not encouraged), or covering the replacement cost of the items (encouraged). I know we had renter’s insurance in the states that didn’t require us to have receipts for everything we own. I guess I’ll start keeping receipts. For everything. Just in case. Now I’m researching on-line overseas insurance options.

Thanks, Geico Naples for taking such good care of us!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Ride to Sorrento

Taking public transportation can evoke such a mix of feelings. I love the people on the trains – any trains. People watching can be entertaining, scary, and heart breaking all at once. MOH (My Other Half) and I went to Sorrento yesterday. We normally drive (it takes about an hour and a half), but decided to take the trains instead so that we could enjoy a leisurely lunch with wine and not worry about driving back. We parked at JFC and hopped on the metronapolitana in Bagnoli and rode to Piazza Garibaldi in Naples. We then transferred to the circumvesuviana which would take us to Sorrento.

People on trains are the same everywhere. We made many stops while on the circumveuviana and at one point a group of four teenagers (ages 14 or 15) got on the train and sat across from us. Teenagers speak the same language no matter what country they are in. All four of them had their cell phones out and were sharing music with each other. You don’t need to understand Italian to know that they were talking about the pretty young girl that passed them, or that they were discussing the big plans that they had for the day. They teased each other and carried on without being obnoxious. They were fun to watch and listen to, and made me smile (and feel a little old).

We also had the requisite disturbed rider. He seemed more harmless-crazy than dangerous-crazy. He changed seats frequently, all the while carrying on an extensive conversation with his hand - both of them actually. He would loosely cover his mouth with his hand and place his thumb near his ear (was it a cell phone to him?), and then proceed to talk and laugh. Every now and then he would switch hands. I wondered if this signaled a new conversation. He was happy and having a great time. I would love to know who was on the other end of this conversation. I wish I could have heard what he was saying, but it was pretty muffled (hand covering mouth and all). MOH said it gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Talk to the hand.”

Finally, on the way home, we had the rider who broke my heart. An old man got on the train at one of the stops. He looked dirty, and maybe homeless. He was on crutches and had a horribly swollen wrapped foot. He carried two plastic shopping bags with what looked like trash (empty bottles, used napkins, nothing of any substance). After he lowered himself into a seat he crossed himself and pulled his coat closer around him. A man sitting across from us reached up and closed the window, which was slightly open, and the old man thanked him. He then pulled off his knit hat to scratch his head and revealed an open wound about the size of a silver dollar on his forehead that looked awful. I could see a bandage sticking out of his hat when he coved his head again. He still looked cold and I asked MOH to close our window as well. When he did, the old man placed his hand on MOH’s shoulder and thanked him. He just broke my heart. I wondered where he was going. Did he have any family? Children maybe? Was there someone somewhere who remembered him and loved him? There I sat with my Gucci sunglasses on my head, several bottles of nice wine at my feet, a full stomach, and MOH across from me who loves me no matter how silly or difficult I am, feeling a little useless and embarrassed.