Oh, the things we take for granted.
You never realize how much some object, person, or place defines and enables you until you lose it.
I always thought it despicable when someone refers to his car as ‘My Baby’ or gives it a name. Automobiles exist to get you from point A to point B. When I drove a clunker, I laughed at people who spent thousands of dollars on an automobile. Even though my car would cut off at stoplights and was in general a mechanic’s dream come true, I was proud. It got me where I needed to go, and it was paid off.
When I moved across the country to return to my hometown, I had to kiss said clunker good-bye. I couldn’t justify moving that piece of junk with my other valuables, after all, so the moving company workers were too happy to take it off my hands for a couple hundred dollars.
Purchasing a new automobile for the first time was such an unusual experience. My father came with me, and what started out as an innocent trip to look at various models turned into a negotiating war with one unsuspecting automobile salesman. Several hours later, I walked away with a fully loaded automobile at the price my father deemed acceptable.
I cared for and doted on my car. Every bird in the neighborhood became my enemy and as far as I was concerned no one could wash my car better than I could. But truly, I received the shock of my life when I had to acquire auto insurance. When I owned my little beat up runaround car, I paid liability insurance only and we’re not talking a whole lot of money. As I inquired about my new, overly inflated quotes, I was told that many factors were taken into consideration, such as high incidence of theft for my particular make and model, where I resided, and the amount of miles I drive. The amount of miles I drive? How unfair can it get? The Bay Area once included a few cities surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Now even Sacramento, which is one hundred miles away, is somehow considered a part of the ‘Greater Bay Area’. Everyone commutes around here, if you want to work.
My complaints about my auto insurance have continued on for years. After I paid off my car, the rate went down a smidgen. Just as I was getting ready to lower my limits, I was sort of car-jacked-slash-robbed of my automobile. Nothing prepared me for that experience as I realized that I wouldn’t easily make my thirty-plus mile commute to work the next day, and that yes, ‘My Baby’ was gone. Some fool had her, and I was probably never going to see her again.
Luckily my neighbor knew what to do, had witnessed the whole incident and managed to calm me down enough to ask if I had comprehensive coverage. Not seeing what that had to do with how panicked I was about losing my automobile, she made me realize that I wasn’t about to face as big of a financial blow as I had initially expected. I was able to rent a car until mine was recovered or replaced and my insurance covered it. Luckily for me my car was recovered without a scratch, but I had to retrieve it from a very expensive impound – which will also be covered by my auto insurance policy.
I will be the first to admit it now – I love my car. Not like I love the people close to me, no. But keeping it insured and maintained has made all the difference in the world. Facing the loss of it made me appreciate it, and I’ve also finally realized the value of insurance. Some things are easily replaced, some are not. But having options will certainly soften the blow in hard times.