Story of the Month: Crazy Car Crash Part 2

StoryoftheMonth

Last month I shared the ordeal of a car accident I experienced several years ago. This month i thought I’d wrap up with a bit of fallout AFTER a car crash…the little things people don’t expect after dealing with trauma and the relief of “I survived!” has passed.

As I lay on the couch for a few days recuperating, I received a call from my insurance company. Apparently my agents, with whom my family had been associated for something like 25-30 years, didn’t do any investigating. They handed it off to a specific investigator who…never left the office. How one can determine the causes of a physical event like a car accident without actually visiting the scene or viewing the wreckage I have no idea. Imagine Sherlock Holmes calling up Sir Baskerville and asking, “Sooo…it was a dog of some kind?” But that is essentially what happened. Remember that person who asked “what happened?” as I was being loaded into the ambulance? Evidently that was the investigating policeman on the scene. Remember my response of “someone hit me?” THAT was recorded as my statement! The woman who rear ended me apparently cried and gave a long statement that I swerved in front of her and hit her. Despite all my damage being on the driver’s side of the rear of my vehicle, which made that claim virtually impossible…

I did actually speak to my insurance “investigator” once who said, “well we do have a police statement saying you swerved in front of her, according to the report your comments were very sparse.” The fallout from this was such that everyone in my family who had the same insurance agent called asking for SOME kind ofa assistance, and only heard “it’s with investigations now.” So despite 30 some odd years of patronage, no help was given. It eventually resulted in everyone in my family, including my grandparents who I think had them as long as they had insurance in this state, switching to a different agent.

In the end, the investigator never visited the scene, never saw the car, and from what I can tell, never really submitted a report. I do know the accident was declared “no fault” and this has led us all to believe the other driver must have had the same company as me…meaning they would be paying out someone…UNLESS it was no fault in which everyone paid their own…which how I got my next car…

Insurance Companies in Practice

So what are the life lessons here? Well number one is: it’s a MYTH that the person who rear ends you is always at fault! Number two is balance, I was in a car accident and looked bad enough that the hospital staff thought I’d been on a motorcycle instead of a massive, safe car. You can get away with nearly being squished, but that amy be as far as your luck goes when you try to put things back together that AREN’T your bones! And number three, Insurance is essentially reverse gambling. You pay a LOT of money over the years all in the hopes that you never have to cash out. They aren’t they for your protection or for yous benefit, they’re mostly there because it is safer to have them just in case of a catastrophe that you may or may not cause, than to not have them at all. Even if their willingness to help when you really need them is slim to none…

In the end this wasn’t a sad or bad story. I got lots of nifty scars, a good “worst car crash” story, and I always have good “here’s why I hate insurance companies” argument whenever it comes up. I’ve been a cynic my whole life, but this taught me extra caution when dealing with companies like insurance or traffic cops. There ARE very good ones out there…then there are the ones who are just barely making an effort. If nothing else it has helped post-graduation me NEVER be the kind to just barely make an effort. Who knows whose on the other end of your work…waiting for an answer only you can provide and hoping you’ve done the best you can.

And in the end it always come down to Wheaton’s Law no matter who you are, what your job is, or what you’re doing:

Wheaton’s Law

 

Off the Edge #1: Theft and Insurance

Off the Edge

It’s the week of my birthday!  I had an interesting weekend with a great group participating in 48-Hour Films (we had a good time shooting our first film in the rain, post about that coming soon), I was ready for a vacation coming up in a couple weeks, I’m wrapping up principle artwork on my first graphic novel, and I’m looking forward to producing my first publication!
Then I woke up Monday morning to find that this happened:

Sadie Minus Tires
What the…  I thought this kind of thing was reserved for cartoons, Evening at the Improv jokes, and movies from the 80s…

Yeah this is in my driveway.  In the suburbs.  With a motion-sensing security light over it.

This begs a few questions.  First directed toward the criminals who stole both my tires and wheel covers:

  1. Who the hell steals three year old 17″ touring tires, one that’s been plugged twice from a nail?
  2. Why would you steal the factory wheels off a VOLVO?  Yeah they’re nice-looking wheel covers, but they’ll only fit another Volvo S80…
  3. Out of all the houses to target why would you choose the one that required you to get out a ladder, shift the motion sensor, and unscrew the bulbs on the security lights?

and…

4. REALLY?  USED Clay bricks?  Not even worth four cinder blocks?

Of course this whole fiasco led to dealing with insurance companies and garages in order to get the car moved and repaired.  Overall I have to say it’s been a decent experience.  The insurance company was relatively responsive and the garage I’ve been working with has been taking extra care to move the car without damaging it further.  But there are some general questions for them as well:

  1. Why do I have an agent I never talk to and never does anything for me?  When you have a problem you report it to claims…who then deals with you directly.  So what’s that guy for?
  2. I’m not sure I understand the deductible concept.  I pay thousands of dollars every year to insure my car.  I, like most people, rarely require their services.  When I do…I have to pay them…again?  To quote Strong Bad…”What the Sense-Make?”
  3. And finally timing.  I’m not self-important enough to think my problem would be first on the list but it took seven hours to hear back from them, then nearly 24 hours for them to transmit the information to the garage.  By then I’d contacted the garage myself and set everything up.

I’ve come to a few realizations here, I already knew them but I thought I’d share them.

  1. Insurance is reverse gambling…you pay into it hoping you NEVER cash in…then when you do you have to pay more so you don’t have to pay as much to repair or replace whatever is being claimed.  Everyone but the insurance companies is in the wrong business.
  2. Apparently when you call someone and tell them your car has no wheels or tires they are astounded and no one has any idea what should be done about this.
  3. Criminals should spend their time, effort, and ingenuity doing something worthwhile.  The jackasses that stole my tires and wheels probably couldn’t have gotten more than 100 dollars for them all.  Unless they found a remarkable amount of financial incentive in decade-old aftermarket Volvo parts.  All the scouting, work to remove them, making sure the lights didn’t come on…was it worth it?  If you have that skill set, you can make more than that actually working in a garage…

It sure wasn’t worth it to me.  20 minutes of their time for a small amount of money has cost me 2.5 days of work, a $500 dollar deductible, and left my rather nice car on bricks for more than 48 hours.  I’m feeling a little Vincent Vega right now, that it would’ve been worth them doing it if I could’ve caught them doing it…but that probably really wouldn’t have been worth it either.

So instead I’m hoping for karma to swing back around on them.  So I send a vindictive sutra into the cosmos targeted at the dumbasses that stole my tires:

“May you put that tire with the plug in it on your suburban-theft mobile and have it burst into rubber and steel belts while you transport your latest brilliant score of dairy products and frozen juice concentrate.”

It probably won’t make the news so I’ll never know if it worked…but I’ll keep an eye out just in case…