On The Beat: 10/18

When a car accident wrecks your week

by Jim Bucher

So, my day was going well a couple of Wednesdays back. Yes, it was raining, but I was having a good time in an edit session for my production business with my partner and a client. It was dinnertime, so I ran to get pizza while the gang continued the project.

Now, to set the stage, the editing facility is in Lebanon, Ohio. With that said, I’m on my way when my cell phone begins to blow up. No, not physically, but it was ringing, literally, off the hook.

When I pick up, I can’t make out what’s on the other end. Sort of a combination of sound effects from “Friday the 13th.”

Through the wailing, it sounds like my youngest daughter in a panic.

“Dad?” Wailing, wailing, wailing. “I was in”…more wailing…“an accident.”

From that point, it is unintelligible.

After more wailing, as a father, all I want to know is if she is all right.

So, not getting a word in, I blurt out, with a choice curse word, “Are you ******* OK?”

“Yes,” she says. “But the car isn’t.”

Seems she had a run-in with a guardrail at an I-75 exit. Guess who won?

For those wondering, other than a little shook up, bump on the head resulting in a quick trip to the ER, everything is good.

Let me back up. My youngest is 17 and her new, used car was a gift from her aunt, my sis-in-law, for her exceptionally good grades.

So, here I am in Lebanon, she’s in Dayton, and the “dad mode” kicks in. Can anyone out there relate? Betting if you have a teenager, chances are this has happened to you, minus the pizza.

As I reversed course heading back toward the incident sight, I gave her instructions to call 911 and to remain calm.

Now, with apologies to Clement Moore, author of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” visions of dealing with the insurance company danced in my head.

Of course, in typical Bucher fashion, neither she nor I could locate the insurance card. One of those things where I’m certain it was placed in our respective glove compartments, but no luck.

Then, we’re approaching the dreaded 5 p.m. quittin’ time to reach my local agent. I’ve got minutes.

After a few phone calls, tow truck in route, and body shop lined up to store it, what I’ve been waiting for, I say with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

The initial phone call to a customer representative went very well. She was very understanding, compassionate and caring, asking over and over if my daughter was OK.

That was much appreciated.

Some good news, I added the rental car coverage in case of things like this. It was around $20 for the year. Take it from me, put the paper down and call your agent ASAP and add it.

Next, I pick her up at the body shop and we’re off to the rental car company. Everything is going well until, much to my surprise, they won’t rent to anyone under 18.

So, I’m in the rental, and she’s in the family battleship.

The dreaded news awaits: we’re told it’s a total loss, meaning the cost to repair outweighs what it’s worth.

A collective “UGH!”

Last I checked, insurance companies are a for-profit business, and I’m expecting the worst, which came true.

We paid $3,200 four months ago and insurance offered $1,800 after my $500 deductible is subtracted.

Are you kidding me?

How on earth are you supposed to find anything drivable for that? Guess what, you can’t.

OK, so here comes the fun part and thanks to my mom’s feistiness, which yours truly inherited, I’m not taking this lying down—or standing up, for that matter.

The total loss adjuster calls and gives me two days to decide on accepting the payment. Mind you in that 48-hour period, they ask, no tell you, that they’ll pay the storage fee for X amount of days and the rental must be turned in.

I would assume most normal people don’t fight and accept the offer. Well, I’m not normal by any stretch. Insert joke here _________.

Bottom line, I went to the top, emailing and calling like a mad man until, lo and behold, think they were sick of me… I received an additional $800.

This doesn’t always work, but, be damned, we’re not going down without a fight.

My advice if you’re in the same situation: argue and cajole until you can’t.

Now in search of an automobile.

And, I still have cold pizza in the car, if anyone’s interested.



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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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