Monday, March 12, 2012

A Whiny Moment

Late last week I discovered that I have been driving my car illegally for many months. Yikes! How did that happen???.

My 2003 Prius sustained minor hail damage last spring. The damage was so minor that I didn't even see it for a few days--until the sun hit it just right and I could see some tiny, tiny dings. They weren't very noticeable, but, still, it seemed like a good idea to get the car repaired--It may be 9 years old, but it only has 60,000 miles on it, and I intend to keep it for a very long time.

Here's my car. I love it even more today than when I drove it off the lot in February 2003.

Imagine my surprise when my insurance company declared my car totaled. I decided to keep the car "as is" and accept the check State Farm offered me. Easy peasy, right?

Turns out I didn't know about some very important paperwork that was supposed to be filed in order to continue driving a "totaled" vehicle. I discovered this only when I recently tried to renew my tags. I also learned that I can't legally operate my vehicle until the paperwork (which can take 6-8 weeks I've been told) is completed and I can get new tags.

I'll admit that I'm fortunate to have a lifestyle that does not require much driving. I probably average one car trip a week. I buy gas so rarely that I hardly think about it. I can always borrow Bill's car, which sits in the Locust Street garage because he hardly drives either.  It's an Accura in a pretty shade of red.

I drove it to Bearden today, and I couldn't wait to return the Accura to the garage. I know I'm being whiny, but I can't believe how much I miss my car. I'm not the kind of person who names a car. I know it's a piece of machinery. But I love my car. It's like a broken-in comfy pair of shoes. (For the record, I don't like buying new shoes either.)

So, please, Tennessee Department of Revenue, have a heart. I'll look for those papers every day, anticipating the moment when my car and I are reunited. Until then, I'll be mostly on foot--wearing comfy shoes.

A bit of a whiny moment--that's what we're having.


  1. My my my....I meet another soul who has gone through this.
    Before you and I were acquainted I railed on and on about my [similar] experience with Travelers; although in my case they kept misinforming me about - and thus changing - the list of things I needed to do to be able to "legally" keep my car.
    You assume you're paying your insurance companies to walk you through the claims process, including properly informing you of correct protocol and paperwork necessary to stay legal, but apparently such an assumption cannot be made.
    Fortunate for us both nothing worse (like a wreck) occurred to compound the problem, but I was super irritated over this for the months that it dragged on for me last year.
    Good luck.

  2. The fact that we are not the only ones who've gone through this is part of what's so irritating. It is likely a very common situation, given last year's storms, but none of us knew that or knew what we were supposed to do. The Knox County Clerk's Office was very helpful in explaining what I needed to do, but I can't believe (and am hoping they're wrong) the process takes as long as they estimate--while a perfectly good car sits idle.

  3. Oh and--I've been paying monthly insurance premiums on a car the insurance company failed to tell me was illegal to drive. What's up with that?

  4. Rachel BodenbenderMarch 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Exxxxactly (to all points). When they told me I wasn't supposed to be driving it until everything was cleared up I just said "right, and how am I supposed to get to work exactly?" They provided me a rental car for 30 days but past that it was like well, good luck. It's a terrible system full of loopholes and misinformation and the sad part is in the end they still have managed a way to legally keep the accountability on us - their customers.

  5. Maybe I should see if my insurance company will pay for a rental...

  6. Rachel BodenbenderMarch 14, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    They are supposed to for a minimum of 30 days - that I'm pretty sure of! Or they should! Travelers did!