bump in the road
So what you really want to do right before you pack up all of your belongings and leave the country for two years is get into a car accident, right?
Yeah, we thought so. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to us. S was on her way to a doctor’s appointment and was one block away from the office when another car t-boned her. Thankfully, she was not driving fast and the other driver was trying to turn into her driveway, so the impact was not major. Also, although the damage was on the driver’s side, it was to the rear of the car, so no one was hurt.
Knowing that we’d need to load the car onto a boat for shipment to Europe in three weeks made S cringe. The woman invited S to step inside her house to take down her contact information, emailed S photos of the damage, and made it very clear that she wanted to pay out of pocket without involving her insurance company. Although it made us a bit nervous to think of all the what-ifs, not involving the insurance company was definitely the fastest way to fix the car, and time constraint was a major factor in our equation.
Funny how chance incidents sometimes intertwine the lives of people who ordinarily would have never met. In the back-and-forth emails over payment and repairs, we learned quite a bit about the woman and her husband. At one point, she even offered to lend us her son’s car while ours was in the shop. Coincidentally, she is also learning Russian and was interested in hearing about the course S has started taking.
We took the car to the Arlington Collision Center, which was highly rated in online reviews and is also the preferred auto repair shop for our insurance. Although they had a two-week wait, the mechanic agreed to take our car and start working on it right away because of our tight timeframe for departure overseas. The estimate — both for the time and cost of the repairs — were spot on. And when the mechanics discovered additional damage for which they did not account initially, they adjusted the labor rate (auto repair shops charge more for labor if you pay out of pocket than if the insurance company covers the repairs) in order to make up the difference.
All’s well that ends well, as they say. It took a week and a half to replace the damaged door, side panel, and bumper, and for us to get our car back shiny as new.