Archived Story

Whether there is insurance, it’s a collision

Published 9:26am Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Column: Tales from Exit 22, by Al Batt

A speeding car hit my brother during a high-speed police chase.

That’s never a good thing.

Being hit by a car that isn’t speeding is bad enough, but being struck by a pedal-to-the-medal car is a dreadful occurrence.

Being hit by a rushing car can result in costs that will give you more jitters than a tall extra-hot double espresso with three pumps of mocha, three pumps of caramel, five creams, five sugars and foam could do.

Two boys much too young to be licensed drivers had stolen the car. I suspect someone had said that the boys might have been idiots and the boys had decided to leave no doubt.

My brother’s car had come to a complete stop. That is what law-abiding folks do when they see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. Stopping did no good. The young driver lost control of the hot car and smashed into my brother’s stationary vehicle. The boys laughed at their antics as the police hauled them away.

It was good that they were young, there is hope that they will outgrow such conduct.

Fortunately, no one was injured. However, my brother’s car was totaled. He had suffered a definite setback. The car had run well and been a reliable starter, but the car had some age on it and it wasn’t a beauty to behold. True, it wasn’t worth much in the books that showed values, and that’s why he carried no collision coverage on it.

There is no liability coverage for an owner of a car that has been stolen. Liability provides protection for anything that the owner might be held liable for regarding an accident or an alleged accident. I watched one of those judge shows on TV once and learned that just to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to throw the word “alleged” into every sentence I utter. That makes sense. No, that makes alleged sense.

Anyway, there is no liability insurance coverage on a stolen car. The only thing the owner did wrong was to leave the car unlocked with the keys in the ignition. In a perfect world, that would not be wrong.

The court told my brother that if the parents of the two youthful offenders offered to pay restitution, the money would be forwarded to him. He has received nothing. He never will receive anything. The kids were put on probation and released into the custody of their parents.

Collision coverage provides reimbursement of damages if you drive your car into something or if another car hits your car. If you collide, it’s a collision. It’s inappropriate behavior, but we do drive into things. Remember the time your Aunt Flo drove her car right into that big oak tree that has been majestically providing shade along Main Street for over 150 years? Flo said, “How long has that thing been there?” And then she added as the radiator gave up all of its life’s juices, “They shouldn’t have put that tree where someone could hit it.” You asked her how she could hit anything that big and she replied, “How could I miss it?”

My brother didn’t have full coverage on his car, nor should he have. Comprehensive is collision’s partner in full coverage. It covers things like fire, wind, hail, theft, hitting a deer and glass damage. Small stones have one goal. That’s to be tossed into the air by a tire of the car ahead of you that allows them to smash into your windshield. This is because many a rock has a chip on its shoulder. There’s a lesson there for all of us. My windshield fell prey to a rock thrown for a strike from one of the countless trucks involved in erecting the wind turbines that dot our local landscape. Comprehensive also covers your car if a deer hits you. That happens. Deer are fighting back. They are as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. Some are wearing safety helmets. We need more insurance than the deer carry.

What could my brother have done to avoid the accident? Not drive where there are other cars. That’s about it.

Don’t leave your keys in your car. Lock your car. Professional thieves could still get in, but it might prevent kids from committing a crime.

If you think your vehicle is in a safe place and you are considering leaving its doors unlocked, please allow me to give you a single word of advice.

Don’t.

 

Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.