Friday, February 29, 2008

OT: Lesson Learned

This post is entirely off topic as it has little to do about being in China. But I did want to share this story and hopefully it will prevent someone else avoid a hassle. Some of you may know that we were involved in a car accident in July 2007. You can read about the account in a blog entry posted in July.

Long story short, three weeks before departing for China, we were involved in a multi-car accident on I-294 in Illinois while G. was driving a rental car. We had a rental car because the a/c in our car (1996 Tauras) was out and it was going to be a hot (in the 90's) weekend. The Tauras should have been replaced a couple years back, but we decided to hang onto it until leaving for China. Since the Tauras was about twelve years old, I dropped the collision insurance on it a long time ago. That was a mistake. Since we had no collision insurance, our insurance company wouldn't cover the accident claim. And of course, I didn't purchase the optional rental car company insurance, assuming that because I had auto insurance, I'd be OK. The 2007 car was deemed "totaled" and we were billed thousands of dollars to replace the car. OMG!!!! So, after many, many emails and phone calls to Avis, talking with the at-fault driver's insurance company in Illinois, learning more than I ever want to know about the uniqueness of Michigan's no-fault policy, filling out endless forms and retelling our story over and over, our file was closed and paid in full in December. What saved us was having the rental on a VISA card. Thank you VISA! They will pay the claim if all the insurance companies bail on you. A multitude of thanks and gratitude to our dear, dear friend Susan B. who is taking care of our home, mail pick-up, etc. that we were able to get this nightmare resolved. Susan made numerous phone calls, dug up paperwork, and essentially was "me" doing all the legwork. Which brings up another lesson learned: if you are leaving the country, have a smart, reliable person in charge of your "back home life". I'm so glad that I just didn't rely on "some neighbor to pick up the mail".

Bottom line: (at least in Michigan)-If you rent a car, have collision insurance. If you don't have it, buy the rental company's insurance. Save yourself a major headache.

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