I’m a cautious driver.
Having a child will do that to you.
I hate tailgaters and am scrupulous about never falling in to that silly, dangerous habit.
I try very hard to always stay below or no more than at the speed limit pertaining to wherever I am driving. And if I do find myself speeding, I am quick to slow down.
I am regularly appalled at the speeds so many people – including parents with children on board – travel through signposted school areas.
But I do have an achilles heel – I can get a tad absentminded when backing out of the driveway.
So it was earlier this week when I backed out and very gently bumped the driver’s door of the car of one of my neighbours with my rear bumper bar.
His car is not a recent model, but it is in sparkling, pristine, immaculate, shining condition.
But I was going at considerably less than walking pace.
The damage was about as little as is possible. About 10cm of scuffed paintwork, a slight indentation.
I went about my business for a few hours, mulling the situation over.
To ‘fess up or not?
In the end, I did what I was always going to do – and told my neighbour of my mishap involving his vehicle.
He was crestfallen, but goodwill seemed to win the day. After some consideration, though, he did maintain he wanted the damage rectified, as the reason he’d bought his car in the first place was its near-perfect condition.
We amiably compared notes on our different but equally financially fragile lives.
He said he’d get back to me after making some phone calls and talking to some people.
He got back to me this afternoon … and the news is rotten.
He’s talked to a couple of panelbeaters, and both our insurance companies – and it seems the minimum it’s going to cost to put the damage right is $1400.
My “excess” is $750 – so I’m going to be $750 out of pocket in terms cold, hard cash, not to mention whatever my insurance company penalises me in terms of no-claim status and so on.
All this for damage so minimal that it defied my very best efforts to photograph it.
I’m angry …
Angry at what seems like a cartel-like scam job between insurance companies and panelbeaters. It seems ridiculous to me that this sort of damage costs more than quite significant mechanical or electrical servicing and repairs.
Yes, I know labour costs are high … but still.
I did the right thing – and in the long-term I’ll no doubt be glad about that.
But in the short-term, it sucks.
At least our new home doesn’t have driveway for me to back out of – our car is now parked on the street.