Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Winter's Tale

It's another winter in New England. Snow again yesterday, an additional 5 to 7 inches. Temperatures relatively warm, in the 20s. Peg hit a patch of ice on the way to work yesterday morning, spun out, bounced off a telephone pole and ended up in a snowdrift with the SUV's crumpled nose resting against a tree.

She called me about 10 minutes after leaving the house, so I jumped into the Mini and went to get her. She was less than a mile up the back road, the Rodeo off to the side, facing the wrong way. Peg was unhurt having worn her seatbelt, although upset, as anyone would be. But it was an ice patch on a snowy back road, and if you've ever hit one just the right way you know you have as little control as if you were on ball bearings or an oil slick. All you can do is steer, wait for traction, and ride it out. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don't. A few miles up the road Peg might have ended up in an open field or might have ended up in someone's yard, as she later saw another car had done.

I put her in the Mini, checked out the Rodeo, and after some effort, was able to get it back out on the road. The Rodeo was still drivable... or was after I pried some stuff away from the driver's side tire.

I took it home, and Peg, conscientious do-bee she is, went on to work in the Mini. `Bout five minutes after I got back inside, Peg called me on my cell phone (hers having died right after she called me), and near-gives me a heart attack as I think she's been in another accident. But she's just wants to tell me that she's now stuck in traffic as another car has slid off the road - the car in the front yard - and they're trying to pull it out. Twenty minutes later she calls to let me know she's finally at work.

I've called Allstate and our mechanic, and brought the Rodeo into Paul's this morning to see what's what. And I need to call Allstate Claims to see if I can pin down when the claims adjuster might come to look at it past "before next Tuesday", as I was told yesterday.

My biggest concern is that they'll try to total the Rodeo rather than pay the full repair amount, given that it's a seven-year-old car with 106,000 miles on it. Yesterday I was guessing about $3-4k worth of work, but in this morning's light it looks like the whole front end, hood, and driver's side bumper will need replacement... and that's before any assessment of the famous "hidden damage." Fair value on a Rodeo with that age/mileage ranges around $6 to 7K, so I think we're going to be on the edge of being totaled. We still have payments on the Mini and I don't want two car payments if I can avoid it. But, there's no use obsessing about it yet, Fred tells his Monk-self.

Definitely an AWD car the next time around, but preferably not for this year.

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