When I went to pick it up, I let out a huge sigh of relief to see my vehicle restored to its original beauty. The body shop did a magnificent job. The car dent I had been living with for six months was finally erased.
What irks me to this day is that I was nowhere near the car when the dent happened, and the person who was responsible never stepped forward to identify themselves by leaving a note (*head shake in disbelief*).
Regular readers know that I am not a “car person” to begin with, and it’s not like I own a luxury car by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just a cute, practical, compact car, which I have grown to love, but it’s my car.
It is sad to think that people do not have more regard for other people’s property or are too afraid of the repercussions to own up to their mistakes (or a combination of both) (*head shake in annoyance*).
If I had to guess, I would assume that two vehicles coming from opposite directions met on this narrow two-way street, made narrower by the city’s attempts at snow clearing, and one vehicle had to suddenly make room for the other to get through by hitting reverse and accidentally backing into my car. I figured it was a bit of an “automotive duel”, but the Ottawa winter version. (*head shake in frustration*)
Could I have parked in a better place? Perhaps. But whenever City of Ottawa spokespeople are on the news with their claims that we have some of the highest standards in snow clearing in the world… (*head shake in skepticism*).
I’ll never forget that sinking feeling I got when I looked at my car and noticed the dent for the first time. I let out a few choice swear words that I use very sparingly because it wasn’t just the dent itself, it was the timing.
It’s not like there is ever a great time for an emergency car repair, but the timing was exceptionally bad:
I was in the middle of selling my house, complete with last-minute renovations, staging, packing and putting things in storage. And unbeknownst to me at the time, we were one week away from an extensive shut down of businesses due to Covid-19.
When it rains, it pours.
Even though I didn’t think the dent was too bad, my partner urged me to take it to the police collision reporting centre right away. I wasn’t aware that according to Ontario law, we are required to report accidents to a police collision reporting centre within 24 hours of an accident. I am so glad he knew that.
I was already overwhelmed and short on time with “homework” over the home sale, but he was absolutely right, and I am so grateful that he made the point. Not having had much experience with car insurance claims over my lifetime, I found out later that having the police report in my back pocket was indeed critical and necessary for the insurance claim.
For the person who hit my car it didn’t mean any extra work, any extra responsibility or having to take time away from other priorities to coordinate with insurance and the body shop. For me, this meant more effort, more paperwork and some out-of-pocket expenses for which I hadn’t planned (*head shake in disappointment*).
And it was at a time when I really didn’t have the time to do this, nor did I have the headspace to take on another urgent task (*head shake in irritation*).
Because of the Covid-19 closures and because of all of the time-sensitive tasks associated with the house sale, there was very little opportunity for me to get the car fixed right away. That being the case, I had to keep going through life with the dent and looking like a slob who doesn’t look after his possessions (*head shake in embarrassment*).
But I do look back and think to myself that it could have been worse. The fact that I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon due to Covid-19 (i.e., I wasn’t commuting to work), not many people would be seeing the dent in the first place. From that perspective, it was pretty good timing.
The eye-popping part was my estimation that it would just be a few hundred dollars to repair, perhaps one thousand at the absolute most. That shows you what I know about cars… it turned out that the estimate came in at $2200 (*head shake in shock*).
That was when I decided that an insurance claim was inevitable. There was no way I was going to cover that myself for somebody else’s carelessness. And thankfully, my partner’s urging to have it reported to the police at the collision reporting centre was what made it possible for me to file an insurance claim once the dust had settled on the move and body shops were open again.
Despite the rotten timing, everything worked out. The body shop and insurance adjuster were a breeze to work with. With the rental vehicle I was provided while my car was in the shop for a week, I was still able to get around. And now with the dent fixed, the car looks as good as new.
But as we head into another winter, I urge readers to please be careful on the roads not just for their own sake, but for the sake of others.
And if an accident happens and the owner of the vehicle isn’t around, please wait, or do the right thing and leave a note.
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,