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0 3618

MiniVanOkay, okay, okay…

We didn’t get a new car. As of today, we still have four cars… soon to be three, though.

The Toyota Tacoma has been driven maybe five times in the past six months so we’re passing it on to a member of the family who’ll actually get some good use out of it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been great having a pick-up truck in our fleet. Being able to pick up furniture and appliances on our own schedule is really really convenient.

And dump runs? Well, we’ve put some pretty horrid things in the bed of that truck that I’d never ever never consider putting inside one of our other cars. Those days are now over.

In the end, we won’t have an extra car clogging up the driveway and we’ll save a few bucks on insurance and property taxes. All-in-all, giving the truck away is a good thing.

So that leaves us with the Land Rover Discovery, the Scion xA, and the super impractical BMW Z3.

Two drivers and three cars.

Yep, still stupid.

And now we want to get a new car. Notice that I said “new” car instead of “another” car.

See? We’re getting smarter…

So the plan is to trade in either the Land Rover or the Scion but it’s a pretty tough decision…

The Land Rover is older… but has fewer miles on it.

And the Land Rover is bigger than the Scion… but only takes premium gas and with a V8, well, it drinks a lot.

Basically, the cars kinda cancel one another out.

Scion’s positives, as if I didn’t already make it clear, are that it’s newer, runs better, it’s fuel efficient, it has cool neon mood lighting in the interior, and we’ve been the sole owner. It’s also a “Limited Edition Release Series 2.0” — whatever that means…

The Scion’s negative is that it’s really small. We can get all four of us in it, comfortably, but that’s it.

The Land Rover’s positive, besides being a car that I’ve always wanted to own, are that it’s big and it has really low mileage for being nearly a decade old… That, and it still sorta feels “new” since we’ve only had it for a couple of years now…

The biggest downside is that it’s a four-wheel drive V8 that takes premium gas only. That means it costs me between $85-$100 to fill up every 10 days or so.

It also feels like it’s been pretty costly on the maintenance side of things, though some of that was due to those accidents that were 100% not my fault. What can I say, big cars get hit more often, I guess…

That said, I feel “safer” in the Land Rover than I do in the Scion. Had that most recent fender bender been in the Scion, well, first off, it would have been totaled but secondly, I think I’d have “felt” it.

Instead, I broke a rear fender light (that cost me like $90 to fix) and an Impala was destroyed and undriveable…

So the plan is to trade one of them in and buy a used minivan where the kids will each get their own seating row.

We’re sizing up.

And that’s why, right now anyway, it feels like we should trade the Scion in.
Another factor is that it’ll probably be worth more as a trade-in than the Land Rover. I know that sounds crazy — they’re only one model year apart with a MSRP difference of $30k — but how many folks out there want a 10 year old gas guzzler?

So, regardless of which car we trade in, the plan is to get either a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. My wife and I both prefer the Sienna — I hate the name but can’t argue with the longevity and reliability of a Toyota (based on the Tacoma and the Scion).

Yep, we’re right back to where we were two years ago.

The tough part is that we (still) can’t really afford (or maybe we just don’t want to have to pay for) a new or used car.

Eh, maybe I’ll start looking at a Lamborghini again…

0 1855

New ShoesWhat an unusual spending month October turned out to be…

$810.00 : Family
$700.00 : Daycare
$498.72 : Mortgage
$350.07 : Business Expenses
$326.80 : Gasoline
$322.22 : Auto Repair
$228.27 : Auto Insurance
$129.54 : Electric
$112.00 : Hockey Jersey
$100.00 : Cash
$90.00 : Auto Registration
$85.00 : Toddler Computer Class
$68.16 : Homeowners Insurance
$67.30 : Cable/Internet
$48.47 : Natural Gas
$47.00 : Clothing
$40.08 : Life Insurance
$27.00 : Fast Food
$22.18 : Rakes and Mouse Traps
$20.20 : Toddler Hockey Stick

Grand total comes to $4093.01 which is actually a lot lower than I’d expected considering all of the “extra” expenses that came up.

The family expenses were sky high this past month because the balance of a credit card that isn’t reported on here got a bit larger than I was comfortable with.

FULL DISCLOSURE ALERT — I only report *my* assets, liabilities, and expenses on this site. My wife has her own income, her own retirement accounts, her own car, and her own month-to-month and daily expenses.

If you’ve ever wondered why I never seem to list groceries on my expense reports, well, that’s cause she buys them. Along with diapers, half of daycare, and countless other things that I kinda like not ever really having to worry about.

So, anyway, one of her credit cards needed an additional payment.

The daycare bill went down this month. No, not because the rate went down but because we’d been overbilled for every other month this year. Hooray for us — for this month, anyway…

Business expenses were high again. Ugh. This time I could blame Hurricane Sandy (and probably file an insurance claim) but that’d just be a weak excuse and, frankly, crooked too.

Anyway, while restarting my servers (after shutting them down for the expected power outages during the hurricane), the sync scan reported that one of the drives in my RAID array was failing… and then, yep, it failed.

End result, I purchased two larger replacement drives that’ll cure the problem, restore redundancy, and expand my storage space.

The car repairs were for the Land Rover…again. One morning I went out to start the car and the engine wouldn’t turn. No biggie, I’ve got four cars, so I jumped in another one and it was dead too.

Awesome.

Yeah, it was a great morning.

The Rover just needed a new battery and it’s back up and running just fine now. The other dead car probably just needs a new battery too but we’re going to get rid of the car soon anyway so, for now, if we need it, we’ll jump it.

Yeah, yeah… I bought a hockey jersey. Whatever. At least it was cheap.

Auto Registration comes up every now and then.

Toddler computer class is brand new. Yep, they’re putting three year olds on computers these days. It’s insane, Duncan’s command of the mouse blows my mind. I’m not sure I’d even figured out how to turn on a television when I was three. On that note, Duncan has mastered the television remote as well.

The cost was so high because it was the first month — it’s just a $40 expenditure per month from here on out. I think it’s worth it. The jump start he’s getting by taking part in something like this is priceless.

Ahhhh…homeowners insurance. I’ve never once not paid for the entire year on this but the money just wasn’t there when it needed to be so I made a partial payment. Not sure if I’ll pay the rest of the balance in the coming week or just continue on this monthly payment plan.

In the end, I’m still thankful that I have conventional homeowners insurance.

Remeber that internet/cable company rant I mentioned in last month’s spending report? You know, the one you probably haven’t read yet because I just posted it a few minutes ago? Well, in the end, we’re saving some coin now. Sure, we only have like 20 channels but we still get the ones we want and they’re still in HD. Even better, we’ve rid ourselves of the clunky cable box and it’s terrible remote! Woo-hoo!

More clothing expenses. This time it was for a pair of shoes for me. They’re pictured up above.

My wife has been doing it for years and I’m finally following suit — using a card at a fast food restaurant. In the past, I’ve always used cash but I’m catching up with the times. Slowly.

And since the weather is getting colder (the mice are moving indoors) and the leaves are coming down, I had to pick up a few mousetraps and a toddler sized rake. So far I haven’t caught a single mouse (though I’m aware of their existence) but the lawn is mostly raked!

And Henrik now has the motor skills to play hockey with me and Duncan so I went out and bought him a real stick. I bought him a righty since he seemed to favor that side with the plastic stick but as luck would have it, he’s holding the new one like he’s gonna shoot lefty. D’oh!

0 1662

September 2012 Net Worth UpdateConsidering how much I spent last month, I’m a little suprised that it turned out to be a positive month…

Cash:
Direct result of my spending is clear right here.

Making matters worse, I briefly fell below the $1500 minimum so I’ll get dinged with a Bank of America maintenace fee of some sort soon.

Yep, $2.96 under the threshold for less than 6 hours because of the Labor Day holiday will cost my $14 or so… Love this bank.

Savings:
So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been hinting at the fact that I’m saving up for something BIG. This is proof that I’m pretty serious about it.

Gov’t Bonds
I earns just a couple of bucks per month but the fixed portion of the interest rate that these I-Bonds are earning is just too good to let go of. But, again, I’m earning like $30 per year on these… It’d be sweet if I had a 5-figure balance in here but with such a small balance, there’s a frequent internal debate on whether or not to hold on to these…

401k:
Must be that stumbling economy or something

Home:
Eh, I’ll take it.

Auto 1, Auto 2, and Auto 3:
Apparently banged up Land Rovers are in demand these days… Who’da thunk?

Credit Cards:
My oldest son often says “I told you!” and that’s what I’ll say here too… The Credit Card Balance on last month’s update was a total fluke. I told you I’d pay it off.

Auto Loans and Other Loans:
Nothing to report.

Mortgage:
Did you know that paying an extra $25 towards your mortgage each week early on can knock 10 full years off of the term? You might want to look into that…

Anyway, of late, I’ve been tossing a few dollars towards principle each month to make my balance fall in nice $250 increments. Gone are the days (early 2010) when I was knocking $1k per month off… I’m still not sure how I was able to do that… I kinda wish I still could…

2 2857

Um, who cares?

I mean, really, what’s with all the fuss regarding the Obamacare ruling for a health care plan that will probably never ever come to fruition anyway…

I just paid my property taxes this week. They call it a “tax” but I feel as though I’ve been “penalized” for my choice (and number) of vehicles.

I have 4 cars that I pay taxes on.

Not one of them is new nor in the greatest of condition.

We have a ’98 model, ’01 model, ’04 model, and ’05 model in our fleet.

Keep in mind that the tax bill pays no attention to mileage or condition — just year, make, and model.

So you’d think the 14 year old car would have the smallest bill and the 7 year old car would have the highest, right?

We’ll, you’d be wrong.

In order of highest to lowest, by tax bill, it goes ’04, ’98, ’01, ’05.

Yep, I’m taxed higher on the Land Rover and BMW.

You could say it’s because they “cost” more back when they were brand new (when I was also hit with sales tax), but as of right now, they’ve actually got the lowest value.

The most dependable (and newest) car we have is the 2005 Scion xA (release series 2.0, baby!). It’s tax bill was $162.

Point is, I’m “penalized” for having a Land Rover and a BMW.

Okay, okay, okay, some people will obviously just say those cars are worth more and that’s why they’re taxed higher and, while they’d be totally wrong (these aren’t italian super cars — oh wait, those aren’t worth much either), I’ll go with it…

How about this example?

You drive down your local gasoline alley and see that Exxon/Mobil has 87 octane for $3.75. Problem is, it’s on the left hand side of the street and making a left in-or-out on this busy stretch is more painful than a triple root canal.

On the right side, easy-in and easy-out, is a Shell station. The price for 87 octane is $3.80 if you pay cash or debit and $3.85 if you pay by credit. Yeah, it’s a double whammy coming…

Now, built into the price of gas is a hidden local and/or state tax on top of the federal tax. Okay, so it’s not actually hidden but I don’t recall every seeing anyone read that sign on the pump with the fine print.

So, here we go… In my state, it’s a Petroleum Gross Receipts Tax and its percentage based and divided by the gallon. So as the wholesale price of gas rises and falls, so too does the tax.

So if I go to the Shell station on the right side of the road, I pay 5 cents more per gallon (and therefore more tax as it’s a percentage of that number.)

If I don’t have cash on hand and have to use a credit card, it’ll cost me 10 cents more than the Exxon/Mobile station accross the street.

The tax goes up and up and up depending on the gas station and the payment method.

Is that a tax or a penalty?

It’s called a tax but gas pumpers are penalized based on their gas station selection. Keep in mind, it’s not “just” the price of the gas — the tax is directly linked to the price of the gas.

So, again, is it a tax or penalty?

Who cares… It’s still money out of pocket.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Disclaimer: I fully support a universal health care system.

Not necessarily Obamacare (or the tax vs. penalty opt-out debate), but something similar to what every other country not stalling itself in the dark ages has been doing for years.

If folks would stop reading Republican talking points and complaining about their “constitutionality” (I challenge the folks uttering this to define what it actually means) and “free rights”, they’d realize that a healthcare system for EVERYONE would benefit, well, just about EVERYONE.

Government death panels?

C’mon?

Seriously?

Give me a break…

Imagine, no health insurance premiums coming out of your paycheck. Sure, income taxes might go up and a federal sales tax might come into effect but will they exceed what you’re paying for a premium in each paycheck?

I don’t think so.

Not for me, anyway. Not even close.

It’s like Medicare (minus the fees or confusing “coverages” to select from) without having to wait until your 65. I can hardly contemplate why Americans don’t realize this.

I believe it’s a fear of the word “taxes” and that’s 100% due to the political landscape. No politician dare make reference to higher taxes.

“It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty…”

Who cares?!!?!?!?!?

I have no problem with higher taxes when they save me money (no more insurance premiums or co-pays) *and* I get something (FREE healthcare!) out of the deal.

Silence the pundits and lay out the numbers for people.

It’s a total win-win.

3 4917

Early 80s CountachI’m not a gearhead by any stretch so car shows aren’t really one of my areas of expertise but I am sure of one thing — there is absolutely nothing impressive about a Mustang, Camaro, or Corvette manufactured within the past 50 years. Nothing.

What you have there is, well, it’s kinda like the sports car of the mulleted and moustached, sleeveless shirt wearing, tattoo’d arm trailer park crowd.

I know people will disagree with me and I can respect that but you can’t deny that the typical Camaro driver looks like they could have been featured on the “People of Walmart” website.

And Corvette drivers? Well, you can spot them a mile away…

That’s a fact.

Old FerrariSo this past weekend, Duncan and I went to a car show — a real car show, for a change — where Fords and Chevy’s were turned away.

Just five different brands were allowed — Ferrari, Lamborghini, Masserati, Alfa Romeo, and there was one of those new Fiat Abarth models there too…

It was free admission (like all of the car shows we happen upon) but this crowd was…different.

I won’t say classy. I won’t say wealthy either.

Ferrari enthusiasts are their own kind of weird. Seriously.

But I will say that I felt a certain commonality to the crowd — none at all impressed by flame paint jobs, blowers jutting through the hood, or insane stereo systems.

Ferrari TestarossaThese were just beautiful cars, as-is.

And there didn’t seem to be any outward one-upmanship amongst the owners like you see at the “regular” car shows. These guys (and gals) were all openly content with the knowledge that they had amazing cars — silly customizations not required.

Duncan voicing his opinion...One guy, upon overhearing Duncan’s high pitched voice exclaim that our Atlantic Blue BMW Z3 was “better” than his Tahiti Blue Lamborghini Countach offered to give him a “ride”.

Duncan was a little take aback by how the scissor doors opened but still climbed into the car before kinda freaking out a bit before the guy even had a chance to get in the driver seat so the ride never really did happen, but I still thought it was really cool (and modest) how the guy offered to drive him down the street.

His objective (based on his cheerful demeanor) was clearly not to prove to a three year old that a Countach was truly better than a Z3 but moreso to give me a story to tell (and a crappy cell phone picture to show) him when he’s older.

Scissor Door SkepticismWhile I was clearly uneasy watching Duncan navigate his way out of the deep passenger seat, praying that the owner didn’t notice how sticky his hands were, the guy asked what kind of car Duncan was talking about.

I told him it was just a Z3 and the guy got down to Duncan’s level to let him know that he was right, “Definitely right — my blue car only has these tiny windows,” as he shut the scissor door to show him.

“Your car is a convertible!”

So after walking by a few more Ferrarris and seeing a bunch more driving around — either just arriving or changing their spot — we headed home and my mind started drifting…

Am I rich enough to have one of those?

Countach driving byI mean, I’ve always kinda wanted a DeLorean (a guy up the street from me had one when I was growing up) but I wouldn’t mind a Countach or Testarossa either…

A little online research proved that Italian super cars hold their value about as well as a Land Rover does… (they don’t)

Yes. I could afford one.

In fact, my hockey jersey collection alone is worth a really, really, really nice one.

It’s not so much about wealth, it’s more what you choose to spend your disposable income on…

It gives me a little more to chew on, you know, when I next decide to purchase a dirty piece of polyester…

0 1606

Empty Pockets...Another month, another four thousand dollars (plus!)…

For those that haven’t read super closely in the past — and I would never expect you to — the lines in red are infrequent or unusual expenses.

$922.22 : Day Care
$625.28 : Hockey Jersey
$525.00 : March of Dimes
$498.72 : Mortgage
$396.42 : Gasoline
$228.25 : Auto Insurance
$195.49 : Natural Gas
$153.98 : Electricity
$146.18 : Cable/Internet
$141.30 : Tax Preparation
$109.50 : Hockey Skates and Helmet for Duncan
$104.81 : Plastic Hangers
$100.00 : Cash
$90.38 : Land Rover Parts
$66.15 : Business Expenses
$40.08 : Life Insurance
$25.63 : Finance Charges
$21.27 : Cell Phone
$21.26 : Lego Set
$5.00 : Car Wash

That all adds up to $4416.92.

Okay, so, with the success that I had in paying down my credit card debt, well, I got a little crazy on the spending side of things.

I won’t deny it.

I bought a few pricey items (including over $100 worth of plastic hangers!) and even donated $525 to charity but guess what?

Yeah, I could afford it.

And that feels pretty darn good.

4 4205

So you may have heard that I have a $1701 check written out to me from Geico that’s causing me lots of grief lately.

Three weeks ago now, I was rear ended by a dunderheaded lummox and it destroyed a tail light and did some cosmetic damage to the rear bumper of my 2004 Land Rover.

Now, what I keep telling myself to do is to sign the check over to the local auto body place and have them take care of everything and give me a brand new looking car in a few days…

That would make me smile.

But I’ve also got dollar signs in my eyes…

See, this is an 8-year old vehicle. Sure, the mileage is low (60k), but it’s still an 8-year old car.

The Kelly Blue Book value is somewhere between $5k and $6k which, in reality, means I’d only get maybe $4k for it in a trade-in whether the bumper is damaged or not.

That said, it drives like a charm and it’s not ready to be traded in. Simply put, even with a damaged bumper, I still think it has plenty of life left.

Let’s say I’m fortunate enough to get another 40k miles out of it…

Now we’re theoretically talking about a 10+ year old vehicle with 100k miles on it.

Does relatively minor cosmetic damage have much of an impact on the trade-in value of a car at the end of its lifespan?

Probably not…

So, with that in mind, would it be financially wise to dump $1700 worth of cosmetic repairs into it?

In this instance, I think my mind is all but made up…

I foresee a considerable drop in my credit card balance in the near future… or a super wicked awesome first birthday party for Henrik… courtesy of Geico.

– – – – – – – –
PIAC Post Extension
For the record, I own this car free and clear. No lienholders in the mix to coddle so please save me the ethics lecture. I don’t like it either but apparently this is how the system works.

I’m also about 80% sure I can replace and repair the tail light myself for under $100.

For an additional $7 (to buy the special plastic clips), I can re-attach the bumper trim piece too…

A $107 repair job is “good enough”.

1 2896

Since I was rear-ended on Leap Day 2012, I’ve been a lot more aware of the happenings going on behind me.

It isn’t that I haven’t always peaked in the rearview mirror, it’s just that I’ve been doing it a lot more often lately.

Yeah, there’s some anxiety there.

Now, I’m totally aware that “driving” in general has become a lot more dangerous over the past 20 years (I’ve been driving since 1992) — I see the level of safety declining everyday.

Red lights are meaningless to some.

The shoulder is apparently an additional travel lane on the on the highway.

If you want to turn left, it’s okay to block crossing traffic to make it happen. Totally acceptable.

U-turns? In traffic? No problem. Just do it.

And there are signal lights? Really, what are those even for?

With all of that around me, I’m concerned enough but, of late, I’m really terrified out there.
My commute is less than 6 miles — and that includes to-and-from.

Six miles.

Every single day since that accident I’ve had at least one person in the car directly behind me totally “in the zone”.

A cell phone is the usual culprit — and I’m convinced that’s why I was hit — but it’s the freakin’ text messagers that really scare the crap out of me.

The talkers aren’t paying attention and, yeah, that’s a hazard, but it’s the texters who aren’t paying attention or even looking at where they’re headed that are the real problem.

Now, since the accident, I finally upgraded my el-cheapo cell phone to one with the full keyboard. For those that care, it’s a Samsung M575. Seven bucks per month, baby…

Anyway, once the battery charged, I sent my first text message on it to my wife from the comfort of the couch and it was clear — there is no way I could have done that from behind the wheel of a moving car. No way.

I’m getting off topic…

Okay, so back to the aftermath of the accident on Leap Day…

So, since I was in an accident, I did what I “thought” you were supposed to do when you’re in an accident — I called my insurance company.

(Yes, I now realize that this was an incredibly stupid thing to do when you’re not at fault but it turned out kinda of interesting… Read on…)

I asked lots of questions while filing my claim with Allstate and made it clear that I wasn’t at fault, I had an police accident report, and even a witness, blah, blah, blah…

It was implied that Geico — the other guy’s insurance company — would re-imburse Allstate on the claim.

Sounded feasable to me since I just wanted my car to get fixed.

Allstate scheduled me with an adjuster to take a look at the car and “issue a check” so, the day after the accident, I took the car to one of Allstate’s drive-up claim offices which just so happens to be an auto shop. Go figure.

The dude, nice enough guy, comes out, checks out the damage, takes a few pictures and then starts googling “Land Rover Bumper”.

Seriously?

I was a little taken aback, you know, thinking they’d have some sort of master “parts” database for that sort of thing.

Being the nerd that I am, you know I’d already googled the cost of a new bumper — yeah, around $900.

So, the adjuster guy isn’t quite as savvy on the internet as I am and he can’t find the “correct” bumper so he makes an executive decision and “chooses” a knock off bumper made in Taiwan.

Now, I’m not against using generic parts, not for one second, but if that bumper doesn’t look the same (with the words “Land Rover” embossed across the length of it), well, that’s not good enough.

I said as much too.

I mean, you don’t see people removing logos from their BMWs, Cadillacs, and Mercedes?

No, you don’t.

It’s just the Mitsubishi and pimped out Honda crowd that try to make their car appear as something else…

Anyway, he talked up some lifetime Allstate guarantee of somesort for junk aftermarket parts and put the cost down as $250.

Say what?

Yeah, $250 for a new bumper cover.

And a $50 repair on the muffler. No, really, a fifty dollar repair to the muffler.

Can I get a show of hands of people who’ve ever had anything done at a Meinieke for fifty clams?

All told, his guesstimation of the damage was $1011. Take out my $500 deductable and I was presented with a check for $511.

But, oh no, there was a printing error. He printed the check wrong so he had to void it. In the end, I left the office having been told that I’d have to wait for Allstate to correct it and mail it to me.

Whatever.

I drove home…kind of in a funk. Had I just gotten screwed? Again?

It didn’t sit right.

I mean, I’m not a car expert but I paid $1200 out-of-pocket for that front bumber repair last summer and that damage was far far less than this.

And why was I paying $500? I was the one that got hit — the adjuster and my claim rep only briefly mentioned getting re-imbursed by the other guy’s insurance company, as in Allstate would get re-imbursed but I wouldn’t.

Not happy about it but not sure what to do, my wife took over (she’s better at being mean), and cancelled the claim with Allstate before the check even arrived — it took like 4 business days to show up.

It’ll still show up as a claim on my record though — and my premium could go up — so, in a way, I did get screwed.

For anyone out there that’s been hit by someone else — don’t *EVER* call your own insurance company even though there are places all over the internet (and in your policy) that say you should.

So then I called Geico — the other guy’s insurance company.

It felt weird calling in to file a claim with a company that you’re not even a customer with. I mean, the first question they ask is what your policy number is…

You can’t help but expect them to take a different tone the second you way, “Um, I don’t have one…” but the fellow on the other end of the line was as pleasant as could be.

That said, I could’ve done without the “I’m sorry to hear you were in an accident, was everyone alright?” No matter how you slice it, it never comes across as sincere from a total stranger over the phone.

I know he was just reading a script on the computer screen in front of him but, c’mon…

Anyway, he was able to look everything up based on the other guy’s policy number (which I had from the police accident report) and, without even having to go through the 40-questions game about nwhat occured, he flat out said that Geico had admitted fault.

(In short, the other driver had already filed a claim cause his car was really messed up.)

Wow, that was easy.

So from there I had to schedule an appointment at one of Geico’s drive in locations which, again, was at an auto body.

Annoyingly, the closest one was a bit of a hike from home and their available timeslots were less than convenient but I took a wicked long lunch one day at work and drove it out there.

For maximum effect, just before I got there, I pulled the tail light out so it looked like it was hanging by a wire.

(Post accident, it was hanging by a wire but it was easy to snap the smashed light enclosure back into place.)

This guy came out, looked at the car, took the same types of pictures that the Allstate guy did and then started looking up the parts.

His system didn’t have the rear bumper cover listed but when he looked it up (I didn’t see if he was just using google too), he said, “Man, that cover will be tough to find…” and then came to the value of $950.

Yeah, that’s more like it, I thought…

And he said the muffler was just fine — the bumper cover just wasn’t where it’s supposed to be so it’s now almost touching the muffler. Looking at it myself, I totally agree.

In the end, I was presented with a check for $1701 from Geico.

So, Allstate was going to give me $511 to take to an autobody shop to pay for the repairs and Geico was going to give me $1701.

Now I realize it’s all a matter of opinion and that either insurance company would deal with the autobody directly on the “realized” cost of the total repair but, c’mon…

That’s a $1200 difference.

Omitting the deductible, it’s still not even close.

Not even close.

So now I’m not even sure what to think…

Does Allstate suck? Are they cheap? Or is Geico that awesome? I just don’t know…

What I have learned though is that if I’m ever in another accident where it’s undoubtedly not my fault… I’m NOT calling my own insurance company.

That is the WRONG thing to do.

I know, I know, it seems obvious but snoop around on the internet a bit — it says that it’s in your best interest to call your own insurance company and I’ve come to learn that that’s completely wrong when the accident is clearly not your fault.

So now we need to decide on how to procede…

I want to get it fixed because I’ve never been the type to “benefit” from being a victim or drive a junked out car but…the damage is strictly cosmetic. It stills drive like a charm.

And let’s be honest, a $1700 payment to the credit card company is pretty enticing…

It’s almost got me thinking that Geico may have had a formula in place when they came to that $1701 number — make it less than what the actual repairs we’ll be on the hook for but high enough that the non-customer will just cash it instead.

If that’s the case, well, they hit the mark.

I’m on the fence.

And I don’t like it.

Can You Dig It?

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