Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bye, bye car

We have two cars. The big new car and the small car which I bought 9 years ago - the first car I ever bought with my own money (instead of inheriting my brothers' cast offs). It's been good to us, but too small for three child seats (hence the big car). And it has been very handy this year having the two cars since I've been at home on maternity leave.

A couple of months ago I noticed that our small car had a dent on the front side of it. Neither Dan nor I knows how it got there - some <insert expletive here> must have hit it while it was parked. Anyway, I wasn't sure if the damage was worth claiming on insurance (because of the excess) so I took it to a smash repair to get a quick quote. Hmm.. he reckons it was worth claiming. Fair enough.

Then I asked about the few small dents from hail that the car got many many years ago in one of Sydney's huge thunderstorms. He inspected the car more closely and delivered the bad news. Those dents were actually quite deep and all over the car. It would cost thousands to repair!

"Oh bugger!" I thought to myself. I wondered aloud if it was too late to claim on insurance. The man reckoned that it would probably be okay. I sincerely hoped so.

I put off calling for a few weeks, dreading the possibility of a negative response. Last week the rego papers arrived (due in two weeks) and I finally made myself ring the insurance company.

What wonders! They were really nice. I couldn't remember the date of the incident but I did remember that I was out seeing a Billy Bragg concert because of the sound of the hail on the tin roof of the theatre, and I remember that my sister-in-law came and babysat Dante for the very first time so I could go to the concert. So I looked up his tour dates online and picked a date. The lady on the phone didn't seem to mind too much that I wasn't 100% sure. We are talking about six years ago! The car was insured in my mother's name back then but that didn't seem to pose a problem to them at all. I was so pleased.

Yesterday Dan took the car to the assessment centre after we cleared it out entirely. And today we received the news that we were half expecting. The car is being written off. And they will pay us the sum it was insured for... but because the incident was so long ago, it seems they are going to pay us what the car was valued back then, which is roughly double what it is worth now. I'm astounded and astonished.

And bloody happy!

So, we are back to being a one car family. It will make for interesting times when it comes to picking up the kids on Wednesdays (I usually pick on D from school early because of his piano lesson and Dan picks up Atti later in the day from child care), and I'm not looking forward to being stuck at home when Dan takes the car to work. We are trying to decide if it's worth getting another car. Dan thinks it is. Just a small cheap second-hand one.

Anyway, I am a bit sad that the old car has gone. I guess the main thing that annoys me is that it is still in good-ish condition. I just put new tyres on it (not even retreads). It drives well enough. Not too big. We were both very comfortable with it. Our mechanic knew it well. Now that they've written it off what will happen to it? I don't think they're allowed to fix it and sell it second-hand any more. Will it just go into landfill? What a terrible waste of resources :(

Oh well, there's no point worrying about it now. I'll just wait for that cheque to arrive.

1 comment:

wulf said...

I am utterly amazed that a car insurance company would be that understanding.

Poor old car, 9 years was a good run though.