I've had a lot of car trouble this year, mostly due to people plowing into my car in parking lots. It's not cool. At all. Still, I've managed to sort through all these incidents except one. The incident in question happened roughly two months ago when someone I work with thought it would be funny to hit my car with her fiancé’s truck, denting the body somewhat and knocking out a couple of lights. I was sitting at my desk. No, that's not true. I was pulling a Tupperware container full of squash out of the microwave when they paged me to the lobby.
The situation seemed to be fine at the time. They wanted to write me a check to have the repairs done, and I agreed. Still, unsure as to my rights, I called my insurance company to consult with them, and at the same time got a list of trusted body shops. Keep in mind that I used the word "trusted" -- it'll come into play later.
So within a few days, I had an estimate $600. "Too high!" says the guy, and he asks if I'd be willing to take it to his friend in Rio for repairs. I point out the problems with this scenario:
1. Rio is an hour drive from my house.
2. I need a loaner car, which I can get free from the place that gave me the estimate.
3. His friend has too much personal interest invested in keeping the cost of the repairs down.
4. His friend is, in the words of Dave Foley, "just a guy." He's not a body shop, he's a single person in RIO with a hammer, some sandpaper, and a can of spraypaint.
The discussion didn't last too long -- he knew he didn't really have an argument against me. I offered a compromise, and said I'd get another estimate. This would either prove that $600 wasn't too bad for the repairs, or would save the guy some money. Either way, it would be fine with me (although admittedly, I'd been thinking about having the car dipped in molten gold, and I figured that since I had him over a barrel, this might be the time to have it done). Regardless, I found that two of the shops recommended by me insurance company were conveniently close by, so I scheduled two estimates.
They came to $877.77 and $1034.
I pointed out to the guy (whose name is Kevin, but let's not dignify him that way) that my insurance company TRUSTS these body shops. If I'd gone through my insurance, I'd have to get multiple estimates they'd pick a shop for me. The trust on the part of my insurance company implies that the shops are known for good work and competitive pricing. After much more deliberation on the part of the guy, we decided to handle it through his insurance company, with one small catch:
He wants to state that the collision happened this last Tuesday.
His logic here is that a) it snowed on Tuesday, and b) it's been two freakin' months, man. After consulting with the people at work who witnessed the accident, and my insurance company, I called him back and left a voicemail explaining the following points:
1. I have witnesses at work.
2. My insurance company was made aware of the accident when it happened.
3. Per my insurance company, the snow makes no difference. His truck hit me, and that's all that matters.
4. Also per my insurance company, the two-month lapse is also irrelevant. I suggested that he mention that we've been trying to work it out ourselves.
We'll see what happens. I can just tell that this is gonna be a friggin' mess. I feel like growling. Rarrr.