Well, it finally happened. I got in my first car accident on Oct 31st. Really it just gives me more fodder for hating Halloween. Yes, I know, I think I am the only person in the world that abhors this “holiday”.
But I digress. Driving to work Halloween morning, the usual type of chain reaction occurred; car stops abruptly to let pedestrian go (no crosswalk mind you), next car stops abruptly, I hit said next car.
Yup, my car looks like this and the other car has a scratch on the bumper. As it happens, the other driver was more angry with the driver in front of her that at me so that boded well for our dealings. Plus we were both absolutely unharmed and no airbags or anything went off.
We took down every piece of information we could possibly think of (did I mention it was also raining so notes were getting runny) and luckily have the same insurance company (much less red tape and no fighting over who is paying). During our conversation the other driver did let slip that their car was somewhat new and this was the second time this happened to them. Personally, I found this very telling. She could have been on the phone or something and not paying attention, thus the stopping short.
Anyway, I was very proud to have kept a cool head during all this but when I got back in my car (still drivable) I did lose it a bit. I called the hubby and left a teary message who called me back while I was at the post office where I began to have more tears. It was not out and out balling but still embarrassing in a public place.
I immediately called the insurance company upon my arrival at the office and again was pleased I had all the information they asked for save one thing; my own license plate number! I found this hysterically funny but I am very good at amusing myself.
So began my new “insights” into the world of insurance companies and concepts. I was told I would get a call within 24 hours (well, this was Friday but I still assumed I would get a call on Saturday). When I didn’t, I called them. Oh no, the claims departments only work weekdays. Okay so I should hear from them Monday. Yes. No, not a peep. I called them. Oh they just got 80 claims and are swamped. Yeah, not my problem. This is what you do is it not? I wasn’t rude during any of these conversations, I was actually quite pleasant. I am of the opinion you catch more flies with honey. So began my daily or every other day phone calls to the insurance company. I even told them flat out that I would be calling and being a pest, very sweetly.
During this time I did take the car to one of their approved body shops to get the estimate. Guy looked at it (note: not a mechanic) and proceeded to work up an estimate for parts. Came back to me about 5 minutes later and said he had bad news. He reached his threshold (placed by insurance company) for repairs. I drive a car that has expensive parts was his reasoning. However, he took pictures of the car interior and exterior and the mileage (a ’97 VW GTI with 50k) and said the insurance company would have to do a valuation to determine if they would total the car or repair it. Oh cr&p. Serously, I am still driving the thing! You are going to scrap a perfectly working automobile?
More phone calls to get status updates on where they all were in this process. I found it very interesting that it took a few days for the shop to get them their information (oh it was under my husband’s last name so they didn’t know they had the right paperwork already), another few days for a third party vendor to valuate the car, and another few days for them to, wait for it, call ME! Yes finally after all that time, they called me! You’d think it wouldn’t take long with the whole advent of “electronic messaging” and “the internets” for all this to get done.
Of course, during all this I am scouring cr&igslist and ke11y blue b00k so that I have research in hand as to what my car is worth and what I would need to replace it with another used car. And when I thought what I would replace it with, I really only wanted another GTI. Or a Mini Cooper. Though I did have dreams of going green but they just don’t perform the way the GTI does. You can take the girl out of the east coast, but you can’t take the east coast out of the girl!
But it was all for naught. When they called and said that yes they would repair my car, I was extatic! Although my exact words to the insurance company were “you’re kidding” which the person took to mean I was disappointed but I disabused them of that quickly.
Anyway, this was all a long story to get to my point. Don’t get into a car accident! During the weeks after the accident, my driving habits have dramaticaly changed. I leave much more space between me and the car in front of me and I drive (a bit) slower. And when I filled my gas tank, I got 2 more MPG than usual! Wow, just by those two things! So I am safer and I save time and money and my car runs more efficiently? Maybe the east coast should leave this girl!
Drive safe everyone and have a terrific holiday season!