Friday, August 29, 2008

Zach got his Drivers License Back! or "Why Body Shops and Insurance Companies are a diabolical alliance!"

Fortunately, Zach, and the driver of the car he hit, are fine. No airbags deployed, no police issued any tickets, but we do have an appointment with the insurance adjuster today.

For those who have not heard, Zach is completely free of the episodes that caused us such anxiety over the last year and a half. The most recent neurologist says they never were seizures, and he shouldn't have issues ever again.

We've often given our cars nicknames. The 1978 Toyota Celica with bullet hole rust was the Toyolet, the 1992 Subaru we inherited from Peter was the Superpoo. Our Impala was from day one "The Impaler", and now it has lived up to its name!

Meanwhile, we had just fixed the right rear fender. A lady backed into me in the Lowe's parking lot the week before Tom and Jamie's wedding, leaving some scuff marks, and a dent just a little bigger than the palm of your hand. I took it to a body shop for an estimate. They promptly reeled off a quote for $2,400! I couldn't believe it. Her insurance company surely would have paid it, but I just could not bring myself to claim it. One of my coworkers has a body pulling tool, and in an hour on a Friday night, we pulled the dent without leaving anything but the slightest crease, only visible if you get really close and know it's there. I gave Don a $100 Starbucks card, and I'll do some polishing by hand to fix the scuffs, but $2,400? Give me a break. The lady was more than happy to pay for Don's Starbucks card.

My guess is that this one is worth $3,000 to $4,000, and may actually prompt the insurance company to total the car. I've looked online, and I can buy the parts for about $600, and then just need to get it painted. The body shop, I'm sure, will quote over $1,200 for the parts. If they total it, I'll buy it back for salvage, do as much work myself, pay off the loan, and not have to deal with the deductible.

Just doing my part to keep the cost of auto insurance down.