Ask Amy: Insurance settlement takes a long detour
Dear Amy: My international travel was interrupted by a pandemic-related issue when I was returning home from Europe, so I applied for reimbursement from the travel insurance for a claim worth almost $10,000.
(I was on the trip with my long-term “travel buddy,” who didn’t have a problem traveling home.)
I was told I would receive a reimbursement. My travel buddy was well aware of these details.
I was waiting on the check, which seemed extremely delayed.
My travel buddy and I met for our monthly lunch date.
At lunch, she asked me if I had ever received the insurance payment and when I said no, she produced an envelope from the insurance company addressed to me, but sent to her mailing address because of a clerical error.
She jokingly said that she was trying to figure out how she could cash the enclosed check, which was for almost $10,000!
I replied it is against the law to cash a check that is in someone else’s name.
I put the check in my bag, and we started talking about a different topic.
Now I’m wondering if I should have asked for a better explanation about why she didn’t inform me that she had the check a month ago when she first received it.
My friend grew up in India and came to the U.S. 40 years ago in an arranged marriage.
She and her husband are retired after long careers. I know that her husband has been very controlling regarding money, and that she sends money home to relatives. She sometimes tells me she is still baffled by American customs.
I’m rather disappointed by how she handled this, but should I ask for an explanation, or just be happy that she gave me my check?
— Travel Insured
Dear Travel Insured: Yes, you should be happy that you received your check, and yes — you should discuss this one more time with your friend.
You should explain to her that the delay in receiving the check created a lot of worry for you. In the weeks that she had your check in her possession, you also lost the opportunity to deposit and use that substantial sum for your own needs.
You should also ask her how things are for her at home. Does she have money worries? Her husband’s tight control over her finances might make her eager to have her own independent funds. Is there a way for her to do that?
Having complete control over money can be a form of entrapment. Your friend travels with you (away from her husband and home), but does she feel stuck in other ways?
Dear Amy: My husband’s family are extremely outgoing and social people.
They prefer that all gatherings include as many people as possible.
When it comes to social gatherings, they have no boundaries.
My husband and I are more introverted and prefer small gatherings.
On more than one occasion, we have had my in-laws over, and while they are here, they will take a call on their cellphone from another family member and invite them to “come on over” to our house.
Every time this happens, I am blown away by the rudeness!
It’s not that we don’t like or want to see the other family members (we definitely do), but we prefer to have smaller, more personal, gatherings sometimes, and we find it incredibly rude to invite other people to someone else’s house!
Am I wrong in thinking this is rude?
What should I say when this happens?
— More is Not Always Merrier
Dear More: Presumably, your in-laws would be unaffected if you invited “extras” to their home. They might expect or welcome this, and not see it as rude at all, but as an extension of their clan’s open-door practice.
In their home, they get to create whatever environment they choose.
You have the same right. Your husband should take the lead with his family and explain how this behavior affects both of you. And then — if this happens in your home, you’ll have to interrupt the behavior before the rudeness sets in, saying, “Oops, no — we’re going to keep this gathering smaller.”
Dear Amy: You told “An Old-Fashioned Grand” that you have a Post-it over your desk saying, “Unsolicited advice is always self-serving.”
I suggest that you put up another: “Categorical statements are always wrong.”
— Not a Fan
Dear Not a Fan: I promise to follow my dictum … if you’ll follow yours.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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