Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cars - the type you drive

My first car was a restored 1965 Renault 8, which was the exact car my Mum purchased for her first car.  She drove it for years, then after she was married, Dad drove it, but the engine blew up.  Rather than disposing of it, we had it sitting on our farm with bags of chook food stored in it for years...and then I reached the big 18.  There was no spare money around so I got the idea of restoring my 'little white beast'.  After raising as much money as I could from breeding ducks, saving my Austudy, shoveling chook poo and cleaning eggs, Dad & I got it going.  It was 30 years old by this stage, a vintage car.

I moved to Melbourne, four hours away and soon was aware of the cost of a car.  While initially I had a free car, the cost of regular repairs became too much, so I had to sell my car, get a loan and buy a more reliable car.  When I look back, I got good money for it.  I sold the car for $2,000 which was a lot of money for something as unreliable.

My next car was great, and I'd have kept it for years except I wrote it off.  Maybe I'm not a good driver, but my main expense on all my cars has been insurance claims.   My driving habits have always required car insurance.  My first accident I was turning a corner while putting lipstick on.  Then I was putting mascara on and ran into someones bumper.  Then my friend was driving my car, full of luggage and friends and spun it out of control on a freeway.  We traveled backwards for a few hundred metres, gaping at oncoming trucks, and then landed in the median strip.  Then another friend was backing my car out of the driveway and scraped the brick wall.  But the end of that car was when I had been on a no-carb diet and passed out while driving.  Thankfully in all my accidents, noone has been hurt!

My next car was accident free, except for a scrap at the back from parking too close to the wall.

My last car, I purchased with only 3000km on the clock, it was beautiful I thought.  Then when I had only been driving it for two weeks, while on holiday, someone pushed their shopping trolley into it then ran off.  I had that repaired, then a couple of weeks later, I scraped the side on the brick wall of our carport while parking.  Then while I was pregnant, I backed, pretty hard into someone else.  Their car was unscathed, but I had to repair the bumper.  Then as soon as that was repaired, wouldn't you know it, I had someone back into my while I was driving.  Pretty stressful when you have a precious bump you are trying to protect.  I finally got that fixed, and while it was all looking good, I managed to sell this car.

The lessons have taught me that I need to carry all my information with my so I can show car insurance details to the other driver when the inevitable happens. 

We are a one car family, and I'm fine with it.  Unfortunately at Christmas, I must have parked to close to something and there is a scrap on the front bumper...this one I dont even remember doing, so I am going to say it wasn't me.  There are two drivers of this car after all.  At least we have the required car insurance, we just have to pay the excess and make the claim.

If I had only been more careful, I would be so much better off financially now:  I have had about 10 accidents/incidents in 16 years and if you average that out at $450 per claim, then you come up with $4500 that the insurance companies have taken.  However, the first accident cost me closer to $3500 because I was a P plater and had only third party insurance, so had to pay for my car to be repaired.

I'm pretty happy with just one car right now, I save on the purchase price of the car plus any interest on the car loan, maintenance, required car insurance, petrol, registration and accessories (coz you need them).  We are lucky enough to live walking distance from Coles & Safeway and have close public transport.  I drive our car regularly and my vigilance on the road will pay off.  When we need to, we will buy a second car, but in the meantime its save save save.

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