High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds

Early one recent Monday morning, I was on my way to work.  The sun had not come up yet (it was only 6:30am at the time), and I was a mile or two from the house in my recently purchased Toyota Corolla.  It was three days before Thanksgiving, and I was thinking about the upcoming time off with family.

WHAM!!! 

“What the hell was that?” I shouted aloud to myself.  It sounded like someone had thrown a huge rock at the side of my car.  I pulled over to the side of the road and got out of my car to see what had happened.  I had to force the door for it to open – the side of my car was completely smashed in!  What the hell had just happened?!?  I didn’t see that I hit anything.

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds – Dead Deer, Smashed Corolla

I got back in the car and turned around.  That’s when I saw a huge dead buck in the middle of the road, and I realized exactly what had happened.  Apparently a deer decided to run across the road and slam head first into the side of my car!  If I had been half a second later it would have smashed into my front windshield, and I might not be around to write this post :-)

I proceeded to call the accident into the police and insurance company, and I made my way into work about 45 minutes late.

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds – Car Repair Costs

I received the estimate for the repairs a couple days after dropping the car off at the shop (Thanksgiving caused a bit of delay).  The repair total was $2,710!!!  Thank god my wife talked me into going with a reasonable car insurance deductible of $250 vs. the $1,000 I was considering.

For all of you readers that may be considering high deductible car insurance, please use me as an example.  High deductible car insurance really is NOT worth it :-)  Through absolutely no fault of my own, a crazy deer could have instantly caused me to hand over $1,000 to the insurance company if I would have gone with the higher deductible amount!!!

This situation also highlighted for me why it is so important to have an emergency cash fund.  Crazy expenses can and do come out of nowhere sometimes :-)

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds – What About the Cracked Windshield?

After looking over the estimate, I noticed one funny thing.  The estimator was showing that the crack in my windshield was a “pre-existing condition.”  What the hell?

I got him on the phone and explained the situation, and he was not very cooperative.  I asked to escalate it to his manager – she gave me a call later that day.  She wouldn’t budge either.  “Look, I’m not trying to scam anyone here.  The deer caused the windshield to crack like four feet across,” I said as I asked to speak with her supervisor.  Well, once I got a call from the boss’ boss, we got it all straightened out and Progressive agreed to pay for the cracked windshield.

This is a great example of not bending to the will of the insurance companies – about 10 minutes of negotiation total saved me about $300.  That’s $1,800 per hour saved :-) They should have paid for the damages to return the car to pre-crash stages, and I’m glad Progressive finally agreed to do the right thing.

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds – Final Thoughts

I hope that you take three things away from my personal story:

  1. Please make sure you aren’t driving with high deductible car insurance – it is NOT worth it in the long run!
  2. If you don’t have friends or family that you can borrow a car from for a while, you should foot for the rental car insurance help unless you have a sizable emergency fund.  It’s taking the repair shop 17 days total to fix my car – that’s a huge rental car bill!!!
  3. Please make sure you set aside some small amount of money as an emergency fund for that couple hundred dollar actual emergency that can come from out of nowhere!

 

Here are some pics of the damage below.

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds

Close-up side view of car where deer hit me – smashed in the door and broke off the handle.  If you look close you can see the deer hair.

 

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds

Side view of car where deer hit me.  Rear drivers door is smashed up pretty bad as well.

 

High Deductible Car Insurance and Emergency Funds

View of huge windshield crack