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09 November 2005


Don't you hate when you're waiting at a red light, and when the light turns green, some jerk across the way who's in such a big hurry comes accelerating out of nowhere like a bat out of hell, turning left into the lane you were turning right into?

Yeah. We hate them, too. A whole bunch.

So what can you do to avoid a major collision with jerko, who will most likely smash into your front driver's side wheel well or possibly the driver's door, but slam on the brakes? Nothing, really. There's nothing else you can do but slam on your brakes to prevent a major accident that could result in death or severe injury.

Of course, if the guy behind you isn't paying attention, then when you brake, he's going to slam into you, right?
It's the lesser of two evils, I suppose.




This happened noontime yesterday a block away from home. Luckily, no one was hurt. Also, since jerko never stopped, the guy who hit us (our neighbor) is responsible, so this goes on his insurance, not mine. We feel bad for him because we did stop suddenly, but not bad enough to claim responsibility. Also, he didn't have collision, and his car is in bad shape, so that really is terrible for him. We walked over to his house (just doors away from ours), and we sat with his cats while we talked about jerko, making sure we all agreed on what happened, and wondered if we should file a police report. Jerko was long gone, no witnesses stopped (this is Maine, remember. We're surrounded by cold, indifferent New Englanders, not friendly Chicagoans or helpful Fairbanksans). We decided to call his insurance company first (Allstate) and ask them if we needed to file a report. They said no.

Rich gave me his policy number and all his info, and then made his way to work while we, still very shaken up, head across the street home. I called State Farm, my insurance company, and my agent told me I'd have to pay my $500 deductible if I filed a claim through them, and I was freaking out a little as I don't have an extra $50, let alone $500! I relaxed, though, when he told me to call the other guy's company because they'd handle it, as it wasn't my fault. My State Farm guy walked me through the conversation of what I would be saying (I was still shaking from adrenalin at this point). I called, and Allstate was terrific - much better than my guy from State Farm, who at one point told me that my insurance might not be valid anyway since my car's in Maine (long boring story). Also, he told me to get a police report on file just in case Allstate messes up or something. His logic was unclear, but I said sure. When I hung up, I called Allstate, and my rep couldn't have been nicer. I even asked to speak to a manager at the end of the conversation so that I could compliment my rep's excellent service. She helped me pick an autobody that Allstate works with (she said I could pick any autobody I like, but if I pick one of theirs, they'll guarantee the work), and they set me up with a compatible rental car with Enterprise while mine is in the shop. Since I drive a Jeep, compatible means SUV. When I got Enterprise on the phone, they already had my stuff faxed to them from Allstate, and they were worried they wouldn't have an SUV for me. I said that I really could care less, but when they picked me up later that afternoon, it was in the mother of all SUVs. No, not a hummer, but almost. A Chevy Trailblazer. This thing is huge!

2002 Chevy Truck Trailblazer

I prefer my Jeep and the Toyota 4-Runner I had before that. This thing is so big that there's an echo inside. And talk about headroom. I could wear a Dr. Seuss hat in this bad boy, and it wouldn't touch the ceiling. I'm a little nervous driving this boat around town (especially parking), but I'm managing ok so far.

Ok, here's where the story gets sad. State Farm (my insurance company) told me not to buy the rental insurance from Enterprise because I'm covered on my State Farm policy. Allstate said the same thing. So when I'm filling out the paperwork at Enterprise, I said, "I don't need the extra insurance because I'm covered by my own policy."

The Enterprise agent was smooth. "Insurance companies always tell you to say that. It's fine. You don't have to get it. But if you're in an accident or there's any damage to the car, it comes out of your deductible, even if it's not your fault." She must get commission.

Huh? I started freaking out. The accident was someone else's fault. If a similar thing were to happen to me in the rental car, I'd have to pay that deductible, and I don't have the deductible.

So I bought Enterprise's insurance. I can't really afford that, but $100 is better than $500, right?

Maybe I'm a sucker. Oh well.

So I called the police department after getting everything settled. I told the officer on the phone everything that happened. She didn't seem to care.

"Were there any witnesses?" the officer asked.

"No, ma'am."

"Did you get a license plate?"

"No, ma'am."

"Do you know the make and model of the car that cut you off?"

"Uh... no, ma'am."

"Where is the gentleman who hit you?"

"He went to work."

(Long pause)

"If you want to file a report, you need to come in here together and file it." Click.

At this point, I was so satisfied with everything, I decided I'd take Allstate's original advice and skip it.


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