Endless Liabilities of Owning a Car Part 3 – $250 Edition

Throughout the life of our blog, Lanny and I have searched and slashed our way to save as much as possible to invest in the market NOW.   Even though we have tried to identify ways to save through battling with our phone/internet provider (nice job Lanny!), tried to make our football season more enjoyable at a cheaper price (Can a football season be enjoyable as a Browns fan?), or just finding random savings “life hacks,” there is one expense that we have flagged as a major liability…I mean…money pit… our cars.   A car is a necessary evil in the Midwest that does nothing but lose value and cost you money.   Sadly I am writing this article, so that must mean something happened to my car.   Let’s see how my car took a little extra money out of my savings account this month.


What Happened to My Car?

What happened to me was different from what happened to Lanny, who suffered a flat tire and had to replace his brakes and rotors.  Luckily for him, he his relatively handy and was able to score some awesome deals on the parts he was replacing.  This allowed him to minimize his savings and reduce the impact to his bottom line, which is crucial in our monthly quest to save 60% of our income.   No, my event was different and it was just a stroke of bad luck.  I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time.  The worst part, I had zero control of the situation.

My fiance and I woke up one weekend morning and had a sudden urge to make coffee and cinnamon rolls for breakfast.   Doesn’t that sound amazing on a nice chilly, fall day?  Especially considering that Starbucks sells bagged coffee and it would be a perfect complement to investing in their stock! The problem was that I didn’t have either of those ingredients, which is shocking because I drink a lot of coffee and usually have some in my pantry, so I had to run to the grocery store.  In my head, I was expecting a quick trip in and out of the store.  After all, I only needed two items and I knew exactly where they were, so I didn’t have to spend my time hunting them down.   While I was standing in the checkout line, I heard an announcement begin over the loud-speaker.  “WIll the owner of a black Toyota Camry please come to the front of the store?”  At that point, I knew I was toast.

After I checked out, went to the service counter and I was informed by a few individuals that my car was hit by a guy trying to pull into the parking spot next to me.  I was very fortunate in the sense that there were multiple witnesses who helped me ID the man who hit my car and would not leave without knowing that I talked and exchanged information with this person.  It was a very kind act by these people and I cannot thank them enough.  Once I told people about this story, I began hearing about others experiences where they could not ID or pinpoint the person who hit their car and they were out of luck.  As I said before, I am thankful that was not the case.  I began exchanging information with the man and we walked out to see the damage to both our cars together.   Walking out, the shaky, older gentlemen told me that he was trying to park his car in the spot next to mine and gave my rear bumper a nice smack.  I don’t know what he was thinking trying to pull into that spot because there was no way his massive old Trailblazer was going to fit into the spot.  However, I thought it was better just to keep that comment to myself.  I took a couple of pictures of his car, my car, the scene of the crime, and took down the name/number of a few witness.  We were both on our way and honestly, at that point, all I wanted to do at this point was get home and make my cinnamon rolls.


Beginning of the repair process

This is where the story starts to take an expensive turn.  After I brewed my coffee and make my cinnamon rolls, I decide to give my insurance company a call to file the claim. They informed me that I will have to pay a $250 deductible based on my insurance policy but recommended that I try to file a claim with his insurance company  so that I won’t have to incur this cost unnecessarily.  I was pretty excited and thought that my insurance company was looking out for me!  Really though, I’m sure they were just trying to avoid this headache.  After this experience though, I can’t blame them.   My next move was to call his insurance company and begin the process of filing the claim through them.

A few days after filing the claim through his company, I started to receive calls from the guy who hit me asking to settle this expense outside of insurance.  The idea intrigued me and I was willing to listen when we spoke for the first time. Much like Lanny, I hate paying an expensive auto insurance bill each month so I am always open for creative solutions to a problem involving that industry.   The calls started to come frequently and I have probably received 20 calls from this guy since the accident.  For my sanity, I just stopped answering.   His plan was to sell me on settling this outside of the insurance company and he would pay for my repair if I went to the mechanic he knew….not a chance!  If I am settling this claim, it is going to be on my terms with an auto body of my choosing.  He owes me…I’m not playing by his set of rules.   After about the 8th call, I started to get suspicious of his intentions and I gave his insurance company a call to check on the status of the claim.  The news was not great, and they mentioned there was a hold up in the claim and it may take a while to settle.  While my side of the transaction was rock solid, his side of the transaction and support system was starting to crumble.

With that call, my trust for the guy went completely out the door and with that, so did the option of settling outside of the insurance companies.  With how expensive it is to repair a bumper, I can’t put my faith in a person who I have never met, has hit me, and is working tirelessly to do everything he can to make sure I don’t go through insurance.  No thanks, this sounds too fishy and suspicious for my comfort.  Unfortunately, unlike the scenarios that I mentioned Lanny experienced with his car earlier, it is much harder to buy a bumper online and replace it yourself.  I definitely don’t trust myself to do that and want a professional taking care of that.  So the other day, I called my insurance company and informed them that I will proceed with the claim and fork over a $250 deductible when needed.  From this point on, they will handle collecting the funds from either this guy or his insurance company.  If they pay, my $250 deductible will be refunded.  If not….well, that’s no longer my problem.  Situations like these and the frequency in which they occur make me think investing in a company like Genuine Parts Company would be a great idea!

I hate having to incur the expense, but I don’t want to handle dealing with this on the side.  I guess this is why you pay for car insurance though and incur that ridiculous expense (Now that doesn’t mean I don’t want to reduce my monthly insurance expense).  It can save you from paying large out-of-pocket expenses when unexpected events like this happen.  You never really know what can happen at any given moment, even if it is for something as innocent as going to the store to buy coffee and cinnamon rolls.  If I were hit by a person like Lanny or one of you in this wonderful online community, it would be a different story.   But I couldn’t establish trust with this individual and that was the difference between settling outside or incurring this expense.   I took the safer and secure route in this case and while it was more expensive, it feels great knowing that this is going to be taken care of and the burden is not on me.

In hindsight, I find myself laughing.  Who would have thought that last weekend I was going to pay $250 for a pound of coffee and a pack of cinnamon rolls?

Thanks everyone for listening to my story here.  Have you run into any situations like this?   What would you have done in my situation?  Were there any other solutions that you thought I should have explored?  Any tips on how you have managed to reduce your car insurance?   Are you just tired of sinking money into this four-wheeled money pit as Lanny and I are?


13 thoughts on “Endless Liabilities of Owning a Car Part 3 – $250 Edition

    • D4s,

      I appreciate it. It sucks, but it is just one of those annoying things that happens while owning this money pit on wheels. I can’t complain too much though, nobody was hurt and that’s the most important thing. But there are many days where I wish I lived in a city where I could walk or bike anywhere year round. With winter here, that is just too difficult.


  1. A lot luckier than me. A few weeks ago same thing happened to my car, but in my school parking lot…. They left and i wasn’t able to see who it was. So i’m screwed with that damage because i don’t have full coverage (everything except collision, which is the same category as if someone hit me). Even if i would have found them and they didn’t have insurance i would have been covered. But in this specific situation i’m screwed with the damage. $1,600 in damage that i’m stuck with. Luckily its not too bad and i might be able to pound it out myself and use touch up paint. I guess we shall see. I’m not going to pay $1,600 right now to fix it though. I don’t have that kind of money to spare. Maybe my story will make you feel a bit better haha.

    • Andrew,

      That’s terrible. If you do something or make a mistake, own up to it, don’t just run off. You are right, I could be in a much worse spot and I’m lucky that I was able to talk with the guy, exchange information, and get some sort of resolution to this. I feel bad, you find yourself in a tough situation. That’s a lot of cash that will need to be paid if you want it to get fixed now. It sounds like you can at least drive your car, so at least it isn’t a repair that you have to make now. Still though, you put all this money into purchasing that kind of an item, you want it to look nice and take care of it. Did you elect not to have the coverage or was that one of those surprises that the insurance company snuck in there and let you know when it was too late?


  2. We had a similar situation, except ours happened on an on-ramp and we had the police called to handle it so we had a police report. We initially paid the deductible to get the claim started but we were refunded the money within the first few days because it was obviously the other person’s fault (the police report helped!). That is why I am always cautious of trusting another person and not getting a police report for things like this. Even if it is small, a police report helps protect you against guys that are only out to try and screw you over.

    Thanks god you didn’t go to his mechanic. I could only imagine how that “repair” would go!

    • It Pays dividend,

      You did it the smart way. In your case, there is no way that you were going to have to pay anything ,especially considering that key police report describing the incident and placing fault on the other driver. You are right though, there are so many people out there trying to screw you over. For every story like ours where we were fortunate and have a witness, there are dozens of instances where people are stuck footing the bill for damages that they didn’t cause. Sadly, there just aren’t as many trust worthy people out there and we live in time where we should proceed with caution in these kinds of scenarios. My incident was on private property, so I didn’t have a police report. However, there were plenty of witnesses that were kind enough to help me out. I’m one of the lucky ones.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences here. It seems like everyone has one of these kind of stories .


  3. Boy that’s crappy for getting some ingredients in the morning. Good thing you didn’t go to his mechanic. Unfortunately owning a car is a necessity for many of us. Would be nice to be able to do without a car for sure.

    • As I keep saying, those were the most expensive cinnamon rolls I have every had. After this episode, there was no way that I was going to use his guy. He may be nice, but it isn’t worth the hassle. If he wants to settle, he can work that out with my insurance company.

      I just imagine how awesome it would be to not have the payment, not cut a check to my insurance company, not fill up with gas every few weeks, and not waste time sitting on my you know what getting ready to explode in traffic! Maybe I just need to move to NYC and do away with my car.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. I’d love to get down to a one car household but that’s just not an option at this point since I work out of town. Can’t exactly leave my wife without a car for 2+ weeks at a time. Cars are such a huge expense beyond just the sticker price if you purchase new. Given your situation I definitely would have just forked over the $250 deductible and hoped that it got reimbursed. If you’re doing him a favor by not going through the insurance company then it needs to be on your terms.

    • JC,

      I’m sure your wife wouldn’t be too thrilled with you if you left them stranded for two weeks haha That wouldn’t go over well with my fiance right now either. One of these days I’m going to get around to doing an analysis showing how much this car has cost me in the 2.5 years since I have owned it. I want to see how many extra expenses I have incurred without even realizing it since they are typically mandatory.

      I’m so happy I just paid the deductible. The piece of mind that has come with all of this is very nice. There is some value to that. Let the company that I cut a nice check to monthly take care of the headache and make them earn their dollars, right? Plus, they are the experts when it comes to collecting on accidents like this.

      Thanks for sharing and stopping by. Have a great evening.


  5. I hope things work out for the repairs. I had someone back into my car twice. One time the other person tried to avoid going through insurance as it would make his premiums go up. We went through insurance in the end. I think you made the right call there and by keeping things on your terms.

    • Niche,

      Thanks! They should, I’m taking it to the body shop of the the Toyota dealership where I purchased my vehicle. Since insurance is covering it, I can’t imagine they would have an incentive to nickel and dime me. Well, at least I would hope not, right. i’m glad I was able to avoid the headaches I am assuming you went through in your scenario. It seems like settling outside of insurance sounds like a great idea, but in reality is difficult and never runs smoothly.

      Thanks for stopping by.


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