Monday, July 25, 2011

Should have stuck to matchboxes

I have reason to believe my car is out to get me. I feel like I'm in a real life version of The Car ... except without as much gore and scary.




I bought Zippy (yes that's her name. Shut it.) last summer. She's my first ever 'big girl car'. Before her, I'd always had used cars that were at least 10 years old if not older and were held together with shoestrings and old bubble gum. My first car was an ugly old Cavalier that my boyfriend at the time gave me because he was tired of carting my unlicensed butt all over town. After that I had a Civic and ... something else I forget but it will come to me and I'm pretty sure it also started with a C. They were all hunks of junk that were totally beat up that I cringed when I hit a pot hole or train tracks because I was pretty sure that would be their demise. In my over-active mind, I pictured a cartoon-esque catastrophe where the car hit a bump and pieces dropped off the car in a quick crumble, leaving the driver blinking in dismay as he sat there in his seat with his foot poised and holding the steering wheel, the only thing left.

So it was a big deal when I bought Zippy last year. She was a year old because I didn't see any point in buying brand new and having to pay the ridiculous excise tax for a brand new car that I would have only a few more months of the year. She was a bit of a pain to get in the first place with financing etc (something about 'Hey lady, you do not have a credit score AT ALL and you want us to give you a loan... you who obviously pays ALL your bills in cash on time and doesn't rely on credit in order to sustain livelihood? Why, that's UNHEARD OF!!')

I had my sweet little girl for about a month when my sister and her bff came out to visit and they wanted to go to some fancy schmancy grocery store that they don't have out in the sticks where we're from. So we headed that way, to a roadway I was not at all familiar with. We get to the on ramp and are waiting to merge with the speeding traffic. The car in front of us has their break in traffic and we all watch them pull out. We all look for our break and when it comes, I look and I go... but not too far because I bump right into the car in front of us. This .... person ... pulled out into traffic enough that 1. we all thought they'd gone 2. they might as well have gone 3. WHY DIDN'T YOU GO?!?!!?!??!  We pull over and quickly survey the damage and make sure everyone is okay and decide to drive up the road to a parking lot and do the thing you do when you get into a fender bender. Then I notice a baby seat in the back of the car and I'm told there's a baby that's 3 months old back there (if that old, I don't recall now) and I ask if she's okay and I'm told that the impact was so minor that the baby didn't even stir. With my mind at least slightly at ease, we take off up the road.

We get to the parking lot and we're surveying damage and taking photos and exchanging info. I've never been in an accident before so I'm hoping the correct info was exchanged. We swap email addresses just in case and then we're on our way.

To say I was shaken up would be an understatement. I was Frrrreaking out! I'm one of those people who looks both ways TWICE when turning onto a one way street. I don't start looking for my break in traffic to merge onto a road until I see the car in front of me pull out into traffic. I give reasonable distance between myself and the car in front of me on the highway. I am a very careful driver! So for this to have happened ... I'm freaked. And mad. Mad at myself that it happened but mad at the driver of this car for not going but moving enough that they might as well have and that they were no longer in my line of vision!!!

After emailing back and forth with the woman and getting estimates etc, I called my car insurance company to find out what the ramifications would be if I were to file a claim. I was told it was such a minor accident (the repairs were just shy of $600 ... because she had her entire bumper replaced as opposed to just having it repainted. My license plate left a SCRATCH on her Bumper and a screw from the plate left a little ding. <insert major eye roll here>) that I would receive a small surcharge and that would be it.















Fast forward to this month when my car insurance is up and I get my bill and see that it's almost DOUBLE what I paid last year! I get mad because my insurance company decided I was some sort of risk and decided to increase my rate over something so stupid and I start calling other insurance companies. One of the (many) crappy things about living in MA is that the state has made it very difficult for insurance companies to insure in MA so there aren't a lot of companies to choose from (though we still have to watch their obnoxious commercials ad nauseum

I had spent most of the day fuming at my insurance company only to find out it wasn't their fault, it was the state's merit system that was forcing the insurance companies to do this. I called my insurance company this morning to ask what I should do (yeah ummm I kinda waited til the last minute because my insurance had to be renewed by this friday. Nothing like waiting til the last minute!!!) I apparently received some letter in the mail shortly after the reporting and pay out for the accident that advised me of the step up as well as a notification for appeals. I don't recall ever seeing such a letter. I keep anything that is non-bill and especially anything that was to do with the accident and this has been no where to be found. So I had to call the RMV and request a 'late appeal' in hopes of getting someone in a good mood who will hear my case and see how silly this 2 step up was and that I really am a good driver and this was just a really stupid incident. In the mean time, I'm stuck paying through the nose for my insurance and this demerit sticks for 3 years. However, if I win the appeal (fingers crossed!!!) I'll get reimbursed the extra insurance and whatnot. Had I ANY clue this all would have happened, you best believe I'd have just paid for the repairs myself!

(As a side note- this horrible road is a 50mph but really should be a 30 and my insurance guy told me that easily 20% of claims they get are from accidents on this one road. And when I first met the manager of the garage I go to and I was telling him about my accident and he asked me where it happened and I sighed he said 'Let me guess'... because this road is just notoriously horrible!) 

And as I'm calling around, one of the agents looked up my inspection records and saw that I just got my car inspected this past Monday which was an adventure in itself (OF COURSE IT WAS!!!) I brought my car in to my favorite local garage (boy do I have stories about THEM!!!!) for some brake work etc. They don't do inspections but they would bring the car to me to a garage up the street for the inspection. The brake work and other stuff I needed done was an all day event (the garage was packed that day) I went to pick up my car at the end of the day and was driving around to run errands. I passed a garage that does inspections and they had a sign out with the new inspection sticker basically saying 'does your sticker look like this? if not it's time for a new one!' and for some reason I just HAPPENED to look down and saw my sticker... didn't look like that!!! I still had the same sticker on! So I called my garage quick (because they were closing) and asked if something happened ... apparently they forgot and, being friday, I needed to bring it by Monday after work for them to take care of it. Aaaand now again fast forward to this whole mess on the phone with the agents... one girl is looking up my records, saw I just had the car inspected ... and she pauses.  Umm Jamie? (Yes?) Uhhh... this here says you have over 100,000 miles on your car? That you just got last year? That's only a 2009?   My eyes.... grew huge and I said 'ummm I don't... THINK that's the case ... I'm pretty sure I only just recently passed the mileage for it being under warranty and while I do drive home to my parents on occassion... it's not THAT much of a hike!!

Needless to say, I sprinted down the 3 flights of stairs out to the car to check the odomoter. Sure enough, was no where close to 100,000. Brought my car back to the garage today and they fixed the miles and inspection sticker for me so at least THAT was easily fixed, in comparison.

Did I mention after having my car only a week, she was visciously attacked in the parking garage at work by a support beam? Yeah- it came out of no where, completely unprovoked while I was trying to park and it grabbed my rear door and beat on it a bit. It was dark, I didn't see it coming (some jackwad in a big hulking truck made it difficult to see the lurking beam and some jerko was trying to pass me cuz he was impatient and I was apparently taking too much time turning. I made him wait a whole 10 seconds and so he squeezed me from the side. I didn't see it coming. I ... didn't see it coming (sob) )

I don't think I need to mention that I will be paying for that repair out of pocket and NOT having my insurance take care of it! (sigh)



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